Montreuil begins!

Last night was the opening of the Montreuil Book Fair – it’s a big event on two floors with what seems like a hundred publishers’ stalls. Whereas Australia has a small number of large publishers, France has a great many middle sized publishers. Aileen wore her spats, I wore my top hat with steampunk jewellery, and we talked to a great many people in and around the stall. Our French is half gestures and body language, and Aileen’s keeps turning into Italian, which she speaks much better than French.

Here’s me with Sophie (publisher) and Gilberte (editor) and Elsa who looks after overseas rights


There was wine and nibbles, though the nibbles got eaten up very very quickly.

Today was a presentation with a class from a particular school – they came in by bus from an outer suburb, and it was almost a disaster, because the event was due to run from 9.30 to 10.30, and by 10.15 they still hadn’t turned up. Traffic nightmares – but anyway, ‘tout s’arrange’. That’s something in France, that when things go wrong they can usually be put right with a bit of sympathetic understanding. (e.g when we validated the wrong tickets for the train to Chartres – the ticket inspector just wrote on top of what was printed on the ticket)

So, in the end we had almost a full hour, and the presentation that was supposed to be on at 10.30 – well, I don’t know what happened to it. I did a couple of readings – perhaps I shouldn’t do favourites, because I virtually know all the words I’ve done em so often in English – but not in French! Then, the students had questions prepared – in English. but I still needed Gilberte to tell me what was being asked, because there was so much surrounding noise from the rest of the book fair. I answered and I think they understood me!

Then they had something really wonderful prepared – they put on tableaux of scenes from Worldshaker! Here are a few of them –


That’s Riff eating the jelly on a spoon, Col trying to stop her, and Sephaltina in white bridal headgear about to faint!


That’s Col defeating the Squellingham gang in the classroom fight!
Hmm, I’d like to put them all up, but the uploading with the iPad app is getting v slow, so i’d better stop. But there was also Murgatrude scratching at Flarrow, Riff teaching Col to fight and Col teaching Riff to read … And more. It was all delightful!

So after the near-disaster at the start, it turned into a wonderful morning. I went to the Louvre in the afternoon, and must have been in a glowing mood, because I hardly even minded that the Dutch and Flemish sections had been closed for Thursday!

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