|Le Select, Blvd Montparnasse, Paris, NOT Sky High Fish Bar, Portland Road, Hove|
I was walking along a street in Hove one night when I bumped into a group of four up-and-coming children's writers, who all live in the neighbourhood. This both delighted and surprised me, because Portland Road, Hove, isn't (believe it or not) Boulevard Montparnasse or the Champs Elysees.
The local pubs and cafes would never be confused with Cafe Flore or Les Deux Magots.
In fact, my neighbourhood would be even less likely to be mistaken for, say, another hisotircal literary enclave, San Francisco's North Beach (think The Nut and Bolt Shop, Levant Kebabs and The Denture Studio rather than, Cafe Vesuvio or City Lights Books).
Yet, there we were, discussing launches, congratulating each other on agent signings, and enquiring after works-in-progress.
|St. Peter's Hove, NOT St. Suplice, Paris|
Brighton and Hove (particularly the Portland Road area) may not be as glamorous as Paris in the 1920s or as cutting edge as the San Francisco of Beat Generation.
However, there's definitely a liteary buzz happening here by the sea...
When it comes to writing for children, Brighton and Hove has become something of a hub, a situation that three friends, Tatum Flynn, Nikki Sheehan and Lisa Heathfield noticed over dinner one night.
The result of this ephiphany is next Saturday's Summer Reaching Challenge 2015 launch at Brighton's Jubilee Library, which Lisa, Tatum and Nikki have organised along Brighton and Hove Libraries and the Reading Agency.
It's going to be a great event, with workshops for children and teens, panel discussions, and a chance to meet an amazing array of authors and, if you want, to buy their books.
I'm delighed to be taking part and I can't wait for the event, which is being made even more exciting by the participation of Children's Laureate (and Brighton resident) Chris Riddell.
Come along on Saturday, 11 July, and join the excitement! In years to come when the tourist hordes clog our streets on "Children's Authors of Brighton and Hove Segway Tours" you can smile wistfully and say, "Yes, I was there the day it all kicked off."