Lydia Monks at the Edinburgh Book Festival 2012
The author and illustrator discusses fighting writer’s block and indulging in starspotting
This article is from 2012.
‘If I get stuck on something, I try to approach it from a different angle,’ says illustrator and author Lydia Monks. ‘It’s like hitting a dead end, doing a three-point turn and finding a different route. I think, as a writer or illustrator, you can’t be afraid to start again if something isn’t working, even if it means scrapping what you’ve spent hours on. It’s all part of the process.’
There’s plenty more of that wisdom in store for Edinburgh International Book Festival audiences, as Monks returns for two events this year: in Lost for Words (a panel talk for 10 to 16-year-olds), she’ll join Barry Cunningham (the man who discovered JK Rowling) and Philip Reeve, author of Mortal Engines and Goblins, to show that even the most talented writers can find themselves literally lost for words, and to explore how to get back on track.
She’ll also pop up alongside Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson for those aged 5 to 9, to talk about their many pictorial collaborations together (a long list including What the Ladybird Heard, The Princess and the Wizard and Sharing a Shell). There’ll be stories, songs, and a chance to see Monks in illustrating action and meet some favourite characters. ‘Edinburgh is my favourite festival I think. I love spending time in the yurt and bumping into other authors and illustrators, and doing a bit of starspotting. You never know who you’ll end up having a cup of tea with.’
As a punter, she recommends a bit of spying, and is particularly looking forward to seeing this year’s Illustrator in Residence Chris Riddell ‘working his magic’. Here are two fantastic opportunities to see her bold and vibrant images and creative practice leap from the page to the stage. Borrow some kids and get involved.
10-12 Aug (with Julia Donaldson), 10am, £4.50; 12 Aug (Lost for Words), 6.30pm, £4.50.