Through tales of insomnia as a child, to Percy the Puffin, meeting The Queen, and the amazing things that can be done with a banana skin and one’s knee, Dodd pushed the boundaries of children’s entertainment into the adult world, “so often lost in the ability to retain innocence through curiosity”, and even had the enchanted audience hooting like owls and neighing like horses.
It was a highly entertaining hour with one of the country’s fastest rising stars. Not only is she a working freelance writer, digital editor, presenter and educator, but her first book, Banana me Beautiful came out in July 2011 as an ebook, with the paperback following in January 2012.
She has also produced short films and podcasts for SCCIP, Changeworks, Greener Leith and the City of Edinburgh Council, and currently has a children’s TV series idea under pilot with BBC Scotland’s CBeebies production company.
Engaging and entertaining to an audience of all ages, it was as she recalled the week when she was due to be presented to The Queen at the Scottish Seabird Centre, but at the same had a suspected case of swine flu, did the evening provide most drama.
The future looks bright for Emily Dodd.
All tickets for the West Port Book Festival are free. Ordering instructions can be found here: westportbookfestival.org/tickets
So there you have my write-up of last night’s event; the second of West Port’s 2011 programme and my first ever one. It’s also posted over at my (Unofficial) Edinburgh Book Festivals blog.
It was kind of odd on the bus heading up to West Port and passing by Charlotte Square, yet knowing I was still going to a book festival. I’ve never spent a lot of time in West Port, and until last night, it’s only really been a thoroughfare for me to travel between Lothian Road and the Grassmarket.
I also have to admit to never having been into any of the bookshops in West Port, then again, I’ve never actually noticed them. I could tell you the pubs around that area though, no problem there.
And so it was my first time in Edinburgh Books and at a West Port book festival event. Now, I’m quite a big bloke; big in girth and tall with it, so I did find the surroundings somewhat awkward to move around in. I found a stool to sit on near the back and greatly enjoyed the event, however.
Didn’t quite enjoy trying to get out, though. With there only being one door to get out and the layout of the shop being quite narrow and cavernous, I waited patiently for everyone to start to move towards the door. Eventually they did, and then they stopped.
I noticed a gap had opened up to my right, which would involve me climbing over two small stools to get to the front of the shop. Big mistake. My knee caught some bloke’s elbow who was writing on a pad. A woman (she knew who I was!) came to help clear away the stools for me, it was already too late. I stumbled as I tried to get over the first stool, almost fell on my arse, and knocked over a couple of stools into the bargain.
You know that feeling you get when you can feel all eyes bearing down on you, and you can see the glances of condemnation between people who are quite clearly closer together then you are to any of them? Yup, that was where I found myself. Normally I would have picked up what I’d knocked over but I’d become so flustered and, to be honest, so fucking embarrassed, I just shot for the door.
Bad end to the night. Not enjoyable but probably a revealing one. We all make mistakes, and after I’d cursed my stupidity and apparent, but unintentional rudeness, all the way back down the road, I realised it was just one of them things.
Doesn’t hide the embarrassment, though. I felt quite ashamed afterwards and was kicking myself for hours afterwards.
Leaving the past where it belongs then, today I have a busy day.
After the day job I have a leaving drink to attend for one of my Indian pals over to work for the last year. Himanshu is heading back home and his constant smiling and chirpy nature will be missed by everyone around the office.
After that I have drinks arranged with an old pal in the spooky surroundings of the Jekyll & Hyde pub on Hanover Street.
Then, if all goes, well, I have a tonne of more work to do.
Have a great Friday. Ciao for now!