As I’m writing this we’re half way into another week, brimming with events and cultural happenings across the city. To be in a position where there are quite simply too many things going on, to cover even a small fraction of them, is pretty amazing. As well as art exhibitions and installations, music events and an eclectic assortment of live theatre, interactive shows and new venues popping up we’ve also seen the unveiling of the stunning mirror pools near Hull Minster. I sat in the square for a coffee earlier this week as they reflected the impressive architecture and rare blue skies as was taken by how incredible this ever changing, ever moving public ‘gallery’ looks. If you’ve not yet seen them, pleased do check them out and spend half an hour at any of the coffee shops or bars nearby (there are a few great ones now) to really savour the experience.
The rest of my week has been taken up by The Big Malarkey… the brilliant new children’s literature festival that has been taking place at East Park all week. As one of the invited illustrators I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with many of the team who have pulled it all together and they have done a great job. Over the years I’ve been to more than a few book festivals and shows, and for Hull’s first festival of this kind, which sold out in around two hours when tickets went on sale a few months back, they have created something very impressive. This week has already seen an appearance by the new Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, writing workshops, author signings and readings, theatre and dance, sock puppets, illustrators (including my own character design workshops) and dozens of other interactive shows and activities.
As I sat in the green room (which was actually red), chatting with fellow authors and illustrators about the complexities of fruit and cats (genuinely), each one I spoke to mentioned the great job the organisers and volunteers have been doing. Some of these same volunteers have been vital to all manner of events across Hull this year, as part of the City of Culture team. Each one of those who I met was ager, friendly, exceptionally helpful and excited about being part of something that hundreds of kids across the city have been enjoying. I’m looking forward to scribbling a few robots and monsters there again this weekend as thousands of eager kids and parents descend on East Park to take part in what is sure to become of staple of Hull’s cultural calendar.