Alice in Wonderland turns 150 this year, and to celebrate, best-selling author Cathy Cassidy has penned her own tale Looking-Glass Girl: a modern-day twist on the classic children’s book.
I’m fresh from the launch party, which was held at Coventry’s Central Library. And what a great party it was!
Turns out I was too busy eating cake (more on that later…) and, er, working to take many photographs, but I’m sure the pictures will turn up on the usual social media channels soon. It was lovely to hear so many comments from members of the public about how great the library looked; everybody who worked on the displays really went above and beyond to make it magical.
There were giant dragonflies and paper cranes hanging from the ceiling, and the bright covers of Cathy’s books provided plenty of splashes of colour in the children’s library.
Before the launch proper, Cathy talked to an audience of excited fans, friends, and parents about Alice, growing up, and writing. She shared her favourite book (Watership Down – though her favourite of her own books is always the newest) and spoke about how important Coventry’s libraries were to her as a child. After taking questions, she then went to sign. She was absolutely determined that nobody would leave with their books unsigned! There were plenty of hugs going around, too.
(Shout out to the always lovely Waterstones staff, who turned up with many exciting boxes of books, and took lots of cash from me.)
AND THEN THERE WAS CAKE. Amazing, beautiful cake that actually tasted as good as it looked! As well as cake and drinks, there were mad tunes from Sounds Vintage, whose tailcoat made me regret not wearing mine. There was a real buzz – a lot of love (library love included) in that room tonight!
At the end of the night, Cathy took the opportunity to speak eloquently and passionately about libraries. It was powerful stuff – she has a lot of feelings about libraries, as well we all should. “Libraries are 90% of the reason I’m an author,” she told us, going on to say how much we all need libraries: writers, artists, musicians, as well as the less “creative” types, young, old, everyone. All this lifelong learning we have access to: it’s ours, and it’s free, and it needs protecting. It was an emotional evening, with a real sense of homecoming, and yes, library love!
All in all, an excellent night. It was a delight meeting Cathy Cassidy and hearing her speak in support of the library – even if it isn’t quite the one she grew up with, any more – and I’m looking forward to reading this beauty: