I was extremely proud to be invited to speak at this year's Oxford Children's Book Group AGM, which hosted an inspiring range of talks that underlined that stories are most definitely alive and thriving across Oxford.
As well as authors Tom Moorhouse and Julia Golding giving insights to the art and the craft of writing for children, the Story Museum gave an update on their refurbishment and outreach plans and how stories don't even have to be written down to be worthy of a place in a museum.
The OCBG members have been busily creating imaginative story sacks for sick children and it was joyful to hear just how valued these are in local hospitals and learn the value of the power of stories to engage children of all ages in really challenging situations.
The incredible thinking behind the Roald Dahl dictionary, published by OUP, was another inspiring insight into endeavours into why we should prize the world of children's books. It was fascinating to hear how the words children use can tell us so much about their lives. I could have listened all day to the story behind the incredible academic precision, planning and creativity that went into bringing this most child-centred celebration of words out into the world. Riveting. Or should that be gloriumptious.
Next I told my own story of how a lifetime love of books led to my first opening a bookshop, and now getting my first book for children 'The Last-Chance Hotel' published next year.I was honoured to be asked to join such a great day.