Sunday, 20 May 2018

HOW THE BORKS BECAME • Book launch and readings at Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum

The book launch was followed by three public readings of the book. (Hall photo: Gerry Molumby)

I had my first ever book launch last Saturday, for How the Borks Became, my new picture book with Elys Dolan.

The book is an entertaining introduction to the principle of evolution through natural selection so, rather than ask a bookshop to host the launch,  I approached my local Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham to ask if they'd be interested in hosting it – and to my delight they agreed!

We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day, which made the Hall look all the more magnificent!

We could not have wished for a grander venue or better weather! (Photo: Val Sawyer)

The launch was held in one of the museum's galleries, decorated with giant dinosaur illustrations by ZHAO Chuang.

(Photo; Kurtis Brade)

The day started with a short reception, attended by local authors, illustrators and other guests from the East Midlands' book community.  I'd hoped to photograph more of the guests, but the only photo I managed to take is this gathering of Nottinghamshire's wonderful children's librarians.

Nottinghamhire's children's librarians: Carolyn Gallagher from Inspire (Notts County Libraries), Val Sawyer and Rachel Marshall from Notts Education Library Service and Sandra Edis from Nottingham City Libraries

Fortunately, I did have the presence of mind to photograph these brilliant Bork biscuits before they were picked of by hungry predators. The biscuits were made by local cake and biscuit maker Amy Lawson. You can see more of Amy's mouthwatering work on her instagram page.

A batch of Bork biscuits!

The reception was immediately followed by the first of three public readings by me and Elys.  We got the children to spot the changes between an early Bork and the later, more-evolved version that Elys drew for them and asked them to suggest how these changes might have helped the Borks to survive.

Elys drawing a Bork. (Photo: Erika Meza)

Then we read the book to them …

"The thing about Borks is, no two are a match …"

… and did some book signing and doodling. I've only just realised that I didn't think to ask Elys to sign and doodle in my copy – you can tell I am new to this book launch thing!

Elys and me signing Borks books. (Photo: Janetta Otter-Barry)

But at least I have this great photo of me and Elys with the Borks, taken by Elys's agent Frances.

This photo implies that Elys and I are at opposite ends of the evolutionary spectrum!
(Photo: Frances McKay)

As our publisher Janetta was leaving, she spotted this young reader sitting on the Hall steps engrossed in her new book.

 Lost on Planet Charleebob (Photo: Janetta Otter-Barry)

Thanks to everyone who came along to the launch reception and readings. And an especially big THANK YOU to museum curator Adam Smith and City Science Officer Sue Mallender for arranging for the Hall to host the launch, Site Coordinator Chelsea Rushton for doing such a great job of organising the events from the Hall's side and Graham Armitage and Aimee Bollu and for making sure everything ran smoothly on the day.

How the Borks Became is published by Otter-Barry Books

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