Flying High! wins ‘Excellence in Writing’ award

I was in the stunning setting of York Minster last Thursday night, along with many hundreds of other people from the creative scene in York. We were gathered for the second annual York Culture Awards, celebrating cultural achievements in York.

I was shortlisted in the ‘Excellence in Writing’ category for my book Flying High! Discover the poetry in British birds, and I’m thrilled to be able to say that I won!

Photo taken by Paula Duck

I’m particularly thrilled as the award I was given is absolutely stunning. It’s been created by craftsmen at York Minster from a 14th-century roof beam from the North transept of the Minster (where our ceremony was being held). Priceless!

It looks like it’s charred around the edges, so I’m assuming it was removed from the roof as a result of a fire. I’ll have to find out more!

The whole evening was a great celebration of York’s cultural vitality and variety, and included, in addition to the announcement of the award winners, performances from local choirs. A highlight for me was the sublime performance by the Ebor Singers, in the Chapter House, of Sleep by Eric Whitacre.

I’d like to thank all those involved in the award, including the judges, MakeItYork, and the sponsors of my particular category, RED Publications, who said of my book:

Described as ‘poetry meets ornithology’, Flying High! is a gorgeous guide to British birds for children (and grown ups) mixing up entertaining poems, science facts and amazing feathery photos.

Andy said: “Anneliese’s award was well deserved – Flying High! is a brilliant book for getting youngsters interested in wildlife. We were delighted to be involved in this year’s York Culture Awards – it’s great to be able to help shine a light on our local creative talent here in York.

“Well done Anneliese – and congratulations to all the winners!”

Congratulations to all the winners indeed. You can see them below, and find out more about them here. ( You’ll see that the York Festival of Ideas won the award for ‘Best Cultural Event or Festival’. As it happens, Flying High! was launched at that very festival!)

Winners of the York Culture Awards 2017. (Photo by Paula Duck)

At the end of the ceremony I was nabbed by Kay Hyde, from MakeItYork, who asked me if I’d like to go on Radio York the next day to talk about the ceremony and my award. Seemed like a good idea to me, so I blithely said ‘Yes’. Only to discover that they wanted me there at 7.30 the next morning!

This is what I sound like when I’m interviewed (by Joanita Musisi) at 7.30am the morning after the night before:

Big thanks to my publishers, Brambleby Books, Flying High!’s designer, Tanya Warren of Creatix Design, Prof. Sir John Lawton for supporting the project by writing the Foreword, and all the talented photographers whose stunning photos appear in the book.

If you’ve yet to get a hands on the book, you can order a signed copy here, dedicated to you! I hope you enjoy it!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

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York Culture Awards

I’m very proud to announce that my book Flying High! Discover the poetry in British birds has been shortlisted for the York Culture Awards 2017 in the ‘Excellence in Writing’ category.

The York Culture Awards ‘celebrate excellence in the arts and culture sector and reward outstanding innovation, creativity and quality …’ And looking through the list of finalists makes you realise just what a vibrant arts and culture scene we have here in York. Many talented people! It’s a privilege to be among their number.

The York Culture Awards’ aim is: ‘by showcasing the city’s cultural uniqueness and diversity … to ultimately make culture more accessible to everyone and to encourage more people to take part.’

Amen to that!

I’m looking forward to meeting the other finalists at the award ceremony, which takes place in York Minster next month.

Meanwhile, thank you to everyone involved in the publication of my Flying High! book.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

Book signings galore!

Here’s a wee round-up of my August book signings, following the publication of my Flying High! bird book this summer.

So, we start in Waterstones in York, where The Nest Test was first put into action (see middle photo below):

Book signing at Waterstones, York, 5 August 2017

Book signing at Waterstones, York, 5 August 2017

One of the highlights of this signing was the completely unexpected appearance of Marcus – yes, the very Marcus after whom the Marcus poem on p. 148 of Buzzing! was named. (You can see Marcus-the-person holding Buzzing! up at said Marcus-the-ladybird’s page in the left-hand photo above.)

Moving on, then, to Wardle & Jones bookshop in Scarborough:

Book signing at Wardle & Jones bookshop in Scarborough, 19 August 2017

Book signing at Wardle & Jones bookshop in Scarborough, 19 August 2017

One of the undoubted highlights of this book signing was Mabel, the Wardle and Jones dog! (Seen here in the arms of Wardle & Jones store owner Rachel.)

And then on to the UK’s City of Culture, where you are met off the train by a poet (one Philip Larkin), and where I was book signing in Waterstones:

Booksigning in Waterstones in Hull, the UK City of Culture

Book signing in Waterstones in Hull, the UK City of Culture, 26 August 2017

One of the highlights of this book signing was stroking a little girl’s imaginary hamster. (And a softer, sweeter hamster you never did come across!) Another highlight was selling more books than JK Rowling! (I can say this with confidence as I was sitting right in front of the Harry Potter shelves.)

What all three of these signings had in common was the joy that performing my poems to and with so many children gave me. Watching their faces light up during the poems was priceless. Particularly special was when children performed poems from the book to me. It’s a thrilling experience to watch and listen to your words being lifted off the page by a child.

So, the next book signing is … well, it’s not in a bookshop, but it’s part of York’s Heritage Open Days. I’ve been invited to spend the morning of Saturday 9 September at the historic Unitarian Chapel in St Saviourgate in York – the theme of the day being ‘Aspects of the Garden’. I’ll be there from 11(-ish). See you there!

Thank you to all three of these bookshops for hosting me. If you fancy a book signing in your bookshop, or in a bookshop near you, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High! down Sussex way

I took all 170 minibeast photos that appear in my first book, Buzzing! But when it came to my second book, Flying High!  I knew that I had neither the equipment nor the expertise needed to take the bird photos it required. And so it is that only 9 of the photos in Flying High! were taken by me. The rest have been taken by extremely talented bird photographers from around Britain. One of whom is Phil Winter.

I’m proud to relate that there are 13 of Phil’s extraordinary bird photos in Flying High!

Phil is from East Sussex. His local newspaper, the Sussex Express, picked up on this story a couple of weeks back, and featured him – and Flying High! – in the following article:

Article from the Sussex Express, July 2017

Article from the Sussex Express, July 2017

Which photos in Flying High! are by Phil? Well, they’re all listed under his name on the Acknowledgements pages. They include Tawny Owls at night on page 116, a Blackbird begging for food on page 50 and a Robin in the snow that opens the Winter section on page  96. Check them out. They’re stunning.

Meanwhile, on the Gallery page here, you can see a photo of the farm on which Phil takes lots of his photos. (Well, it’s mostly a photo of the lovely little girls who live on the farm – but you get a glimpse of the landscape too!)

Thank you to Phil, and to all the talented photographers who’ve allowed their photos to be included in Flying High!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

Flying High! launch event

In case you were unfortunate enough Image result for emoji wink to miss the York Festival of Ideas launch of my new book Flying High! last Saturday, here’s a little snippet from my show. I’ll tell you a bit more about the whole event below.

The launch event took place on the new Heslington East campus of the University of York as part of the …

The event was a ‘triple bill’ consisting of:

  • A guided bird walk led by RSPB Vice-President Prof. Sir John Lawton, who wrote the Foreword to the book. (To be strictly accurate, John Lawton led *two* guided bird walks, as the first one filled up.) (The second one did too!)

Matt, taking full advantage of the bird walk photo opportunities. (Photo: Ann Taylor)

  • Flying High! show from me in which, as you’ve seen in the video above, I performed a selection of the poems in the book.

Performing my Flying High! show (Photo: Vikki Pendry)

  • And then a Flying High! book signing.

Signing copies of Flying High! (Photo: Vikki Pendry)

It gave me great pleasure to look out over the audience and see ages ranging from under 10 to over 80, smiling and joining in.

And it was particularly pleasing to meet three of the photographers whose sensational photos appear in the book, and who had come along specially for the launch event. Here I am (rather windswept!) with two of them, Mandy West and Roy Lowry (along with  RSPB V-P Prof. Sir John Lawton).

Photographer Mandy West,  RSPB V-P Prof. Sir John Lawton, me, photographer Roy Lowry

I was thrilled that photographers Mandy, Roy – and Lindsey Bowes – were able to attend the launch, and so pleased that the audience applauded their fabulous photos.

With Mandy West, one of the Flying High! photographers

What did the audience think of the event? Well, take a read:

‘Wonderful. So much fun.’ Ruth T

‘Lovely morning at University of York. Fantastic presentation, we loved it.’ Ann T

‘The show was so fascinating and your performance was absolutely brilliant. I was totally inspired: on my walk home I was looking out and listening out to see if I could identify any birds.’ Rowan J

‘A delightful performance and book launch.’ Margaret K

‘A lovely morning of poetry reminding us of the brilliance of birds and creative writing.’ Vikki P

So, that’s Flying High! launched – in York at least! If you fancy a Flying High! show where you are, just get in touch.

A very big Thank You to Prof. Sir John Lawton, for all his Flying High! support and his invaluable contributions to the launch event. Thanks, too, to all the York Festival of Ideas team for including our event in this year’s festival.

Meanwhile, I’ve another Flying High! ‘show + bird walk + book signing’ combo on 28 July at St Nicks in York. See my What’s On page for more details of this and other events – including the fabulous Scampston Hall/Ryedale Book Festival event I’ll be at next Sunday (and where Flying High! will be on sale).

You can find out more about my Flying High! book here, read the first press review here, and order your copy below.


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First press review of Flying High!

Cover of Flying High! by Anneliese Emmans DeanThe first press review of my new book Flying High! is out. It’s a fabulous feature article in The York Press by Stephen Lewis.

Read the article here

I was thrilled to see my book described as being ‘glorious’, and that it ‘will delight children and young-at-heart adults alike.’

The review goes on:

‘what makes the book so special is the sheer joy, fun and enthusiasm Anneliese brings to her versions of common British birds.’

Well, I can’t ask for much better than that!

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Thank you to Brambleby Books, designer Tanya Warren and all the photographers whose photos feature, for helping me to create this book.

You can find out more about Flying High! here, and there are some sample videos here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

Boys will be boys …

I love Finn, Paddy and Conor dearly. So dearly that I dedicated my new book Flying High! to them. The day after it was published, I went round to their house to give them each a copy of the book. It was fabulous to see their faces light up when they realised their names appeared in it.

So far so good.

But when we went outside to take a photo of each of them with their copy … well, have you heard the expression ‘herding cats’?

Even with just one of them, it seemed like too ambitious an undertaking …

But persistence is all in photography. And here, at last, is the shot I was looking for:

Happy birding, boys! I hope you enjoy your books!

And if you have a photo of your child with their copy of Flying High!, do send it along to me (letting me know where it was taken), and I’ll pop it on the (soon-to-be-created) Flying High! gallery page of this blog.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life