Day 5 - Friday 12th October

Failsworth School & Manchester Creative and Media Academy

So that’s it. Done. Finished. Finito. My week touring around the Greater Manchester area is over, and what a week it was. Over the course of the five days I spoke to more than 1500 children from around 15 schools. I posed for dozens of photographs, signed hundreds of books, and consumed a number of very strange lunches. (Roast turkey with all the trimmings. At 11:30am on a Tuesday. Madness.)

Barry Hutchison on tour

Whenever I go on tour with someone new, whether it be from my publisher or somewhere else, I get nervous. You don’t know who you’re going to end up with. The people accompanying you may be stitch-lipped psychopaths, or worse – painfully dull. So it was a relief that Michael and Beth from Scottish Book Trust were both so easy to get along with. They made it very easy for me just to swan around talking rubbish for a week, and without them the tour would have been much less enjoyable.

Friday, the final day of the tour, saw me do two events, both of which were memorable for different reasons. The morning event was the largest one of the whole tour, and saw me speaking to 300 Year 7 pupils in a massive, state-of-the-art theatre. There was a moment about half-way through that event, when I was talking about The 13th Horseman and the whole audience was listening intently, that I was reminded of how lucky I am to be able to do this job.

Also during this event, I mentioned Noah, of Noah’s Ark fame. One boy near the front was overheard whispering “Who’s Noah?” to which the boy next to him shrugged before replying, “I think he’s in Year 8.”

The second event of the day – and the final one of the tour – was also memorable.

For different reasons...

Following the final event we drove up to Edinburgh (4.5 hours), then I jumped in my own car and continued home to Fort William (3.5 hours), at which point I promptly climbed into bed and fell asleep.

To close this little tour diary I’d like to thank everyone at Scottish Book Trust – especially Michael and Beth – as well as all the schools who either came to see me at the Manchester Literacy Festival, or let me visit them on their home turf. Thanks also to Scottish Friendly who make it all possible. I had an absolute blast!

From Michael and Beth:

The End-Times has arrived. Well, not really, just the end of our week in Manchester. And what a memorable week it was too - great kids, keen teachers, superb dinners, wacky lunches and a few good laughs too. The Scottish Book Trust team managed to snag some good contacts South of the Border, particularly the Manchester Literature Festival, and the Manchester Children’s Book Festival (thanks Kaye!).

While we only get to England once a year, they were very receptive to our programmes, and moreover they showed us the work they’re doing in the Greater Manchester area. They are working hard at promoting reading and writing. If you’re in the area, you should look them up and get yourself to some high-quality events.

To sign off, we’d like to thank Barry for a great week. And Jojo, and Carol, and Caddie, and Derek, and all the over imaginary f(r)iends we met during the week. Thanks!