Last week as part of the International Dublin Literature Festival, Jacqueline Wilson came to visit to give a talk in the RDS. When the event popped up on my Facebook feed a few months ago, it wasn’t even a questions if I would be going or not.
If you’re a reader, you’ll always remember the author that got you interested in books. For me that was Jacqueline Wilson. For years she was the only person I would read, my young mind finding it disloyal at even the thought of reading someone else’s books. My local library was full of battered well read books by her, and I remember every time I finished one it was easy to pick up another one. Sitting in my bed reading novels such as Lizzy Zipmouth, Clean Break and the Worry Website was how I spent my childhood. I can vividly remember sitting at my desk with my tongue sticking out in concentration, as I tried to replicate the illustrations of Nick Sharratt. Or reading Totally Jacqueline Wilson in an effort to see if there was a secret formula to become a great writer.
As we took our seats in the RDS concert hall, it was beyond difficult to hold in my excitement. After being informed that there would be no book signings, which was received by a a few boos from the audience (book talks can get crazy you know), Jacqueline walked onto the stage.
After greeting us all, she seated herself in a plush armchair. She’s as you imagine her to be. She has the presence of a kind, delicate grandmother and speaks elegantly while moving her hands expressingly, making her bracelets tinkle like chimes. For the next 40 minutes she entertained us with stories about her journey on becoming a writer, while keeping within tone for all the young children who were eagerly looking up at her in awe.
The talk was wrapped up with questions from the audience, some sweet, others very cringy, but Jacqueline took it all in her stride. She addressed everyone as ‘dear’ or ‘sweetheart’ and her soft and warm presence didn’t falter once. It can often be disappointing getting to see someone who you hold great memories for, but leaving the talk I only felt elated.
As the audience was leaving it was a nostalgic sensation to see so many young readers clutching her latest novel, Rent A Bridesmaid. It was also such a wonderful feeling to see that even though I’ve out grown her books, her talent to captivate young minds still lives on.
My question for this weeks blog is, who was your favourite childhood author and why?