So! I have returned! -Yes! Again! ;p (Wow, two blog posts in one day, eh? Who’d’ve thought it?)

Today’s visit was to John Ruskin Primary School, in Southwark, London. I’d been invited there to do two sessions and – with the aid of Bushido Bookseller George H., of Tales on Moon Lane – hopefully shift some copies of TIM and Black Tat at the school’s book fair, that afternoon. Coming as it did between the Wiltshire Whirwind and tomorrow’s Wood Green Whistlestop tours I’d allowed myself to think that today might actually be quite quiet compared to the rest of this week.

Not a bit of it. HEE HEE HEE!

The students at John Ruskin Primary School are BRILLIANT: unfailingly attentive and polite, while also being supremely enthusiastic and welcoming, they made me feel like an absolute rock star all the time I was on school grounds (aww, thank you!) And – as with the Stamford Hill Library Teenage Reading Group last week – the questions came thick and fast right from the start of each session.

At the students’ gleeful prompting, discussion ranged widely over all sorts of topics that I don’t necessarily get onto every time. One question that particularly stood out for me was about DESCRIPTION – conveying enough information for the reader to picture what’s going on, but without interfering too much with the pace of a scene. It can be a hard balance to strike: Roald Dahl was one author who was an absolute genius at that, by the way – take a look. But the other standout question for me concerned (oof!) my HANDWRITING.

I’ll admit it, folks: it’s absolutely diabolical. I type all my stories out straight onto the computer, and anyone who’s seen my handwriting will understand why. In fact, whenever I’m asked to sign a book (and at John Ruskin Primary, to my delight, I was asked to sign plenty!) I always double-check with the book’s new owner whether they’re absolutely sure they want me writing on it! I dread to think the number of migraines it must have caused my poor teachers at school. One tutor at my university (Manchester) once feelingly described it as being ‘a bit like bar-code, only… sort of… melted.’

Well, my protestations were in vain: the students in the first session insisted that I had to write something on the board to demonstrate – and a gasp went up as they witnessed my scrawl’s true grisliness. By the way: thanks for inviting me, Ms Madeira! I hope I haven’t ruined that board permanently or anything! Hee hee hee!


Take a close look at the picture above. Yes, it’s yet another shot of the dreaded Enthoven gesticulating (and turning blancmange-pink again with excitement HUR HUR HUR ahem ‘scuse me ;p) But there’s something next to him that hasn’t appeared on these pages before, namely a beautiful and brand new first edition hardback of the US edition of TIM!

I didn’t have time to tell you about this this morning, but a big box of author copies was waiting for me on my return from Wiltshire last night. The US edition of TIM is finished at last; it will be in shops in the States any day – and it’s absolutely GORGEOUS. Take a look:


I think the Razorbill production team have really surpassed themselves. I mean, the shininess! And the SCALINESS! It’s a true, monstrous thing of beauty (or it was until I defaced it with my signature – see what I mean?? ;p) But as if that wasn’t enough…


…check out this gobsmacking gatefold illustration by artist Dan Dos Santos, bound into every copy of this edition! For those that don’t know, that’s Tim and Professor Mallahide, squaring off for one of the book’s climactic battles in London’s river Thames (for a view of the pic without flare from my camera, click here). I couldn’t be happier with how this American edition of Tim has turned out. In fact, if this week carries on being as exciting as it has been I may do myself a mischief: here’s hoping I don’t explode with glee or something before Saturday. I mean, the stains would be impossible to get out of the carpet…!

Eat yer later humans,

Jagm-AHEM! I mean, /Sam/ 😉


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉