Friday, 16 November 2012

Where My Job Takes Me... Iddesleigh

Saturday 10th November saw me up bright and early and heading off down the A303 towards the deepest, darkest depths of North Devon. I was off to the launch of Clare and Michael Morpurgo's new poetry anthology, Where My Wellies Take Me, in the very village where the book is based: Iddesleigh. It was a particularly special occasion as Olivia Lomenech Gill, the artist responsible for the beautiful feel of the book, was also there – meaning that all three contributors were in attendance.

The event was held in the village hall – My inner book geek was thrilled to spot THE picture of Joey the horse sitting above the village clock – just as Mr Morpurgo had promised me all those years ago when I first picked up War Horse. The hall filled up quickly, with local villagers of all ages piling through the door. I'm not sure there was a single seat going spare!

Even though it wasn’t quite five-thirty, the hall began to quieten and the anticipation became almost tangible. After a quick democratic vote as to whether Michael should stick to ‘Devon time’ (I learnt later that this expectation of Devonian’s turning up for events at the precise time) or begin, it was voted that he should start… sure enough, as soon as Michael started to speak – the door creaked open and some more people joined us – it was 5:30pm. Michael, however, was unphased and kindly reassured them that they weren’t late before continuing.

We were then taken on the journey Olivia’s artwork undertook in the creation of the book. In order to ensure she captured the very essence of the village she was now talking to, Olivia spent a few weeks studying the landscape and getting to know the people. It was clear that they had had a huge impact on her, there were even some faces in the crowd that appear in Where My Wellies Take Me.

Michael and Clare then read together from Wellies, with Clare reading the narrative and Michael reciting poetry. It was evident, from their reading why this dynamic duo works. After a quick Q&A, it was time for tea and cakes! The food looked spectacular – there were even wellies on the table! The books were flying off the table (I really hope this wasn’t because Michael threatened to lock the doors until everyone had purchased a copy!) and everyone was eager to have their copy signed by all three contributors.

It really was a wonderful and unique event. Indeed, one only has to flick through the book to feel the influence the beautiful Devon village had on its pages; it felt very special to be there. 

Click here to find out more about the book

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