(From the Girls Heart Books blog) Earlier this year I made a decision – I’d say YES to as many things as possible. YES to going to new plays and gigs; YES to reading at book events and festivals; YES to visiting as many schools as I could; YES to travelling to new places and having new experiences. So when the Hong Kong Young Readers' Festival asked if I’d attend their festival for a week, I took a deep breath and said YES.
It took a lot of organising. My parents very kindly offered to take my youngest two children during the trip (the eldest is 18 and said he’d stay at home and mind the rabbit and the house) and I booked the flights rather nervously. I love visiting other countries but I’m not a great flyer and it’s a twelve hour flight from London to Hong Kong. Luckily my partner said that he’d travel over with me.
On Thursday morning I arrived home from what can only be described as a whirlwind tour of Hong Kong – 9 events in 5 days.
The first events I did were nursery rhyme sessions with young children and their mum and dads. Here I am doing an action rhyme in the Hong Kong Central Library with some parents and toddlers.
Then I did lots of writing workshops and school visits, travelling all over Hong Kong to talk to students of all ages.
They were all lovely students and really interested in Ireland and Irish culture. I had great fun chatting to some of the girls after the events and finding out about their schools and what they liked to read. They told me that most people in Hong Kong have a Chinese name and also an English name which they pick themselves.
We also squeezed in time for some sightseeing. Hong Kong is full of skyscrapers and at night they are all lit up. It’s quite a sight!
I had an amazing time. If you ever get the chance to visit Hong Kong, do go! And don’t be too surprised if a Chinese girl pops up in one of my books some day soon.
Hong Kong is the kind of place that says YES to life every single day – it’s fast, busy and crowded but the people are very kind and friendly and the whole trip was a brilliant experience, one that I’ll never forget. I’m so glad I said YES!
Yours in books,