Railhead: Bristol fashion

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Just back from Bristol, and my Railhead event at the Old Vic theatre. Oxford University Press sent editorial assistant Debbie Sims along to look after me, and she took some photos during the event, but the lighting wasn’t really up to much. The show mostly consists of me reading from the book, accompanied by videos and slideshows and the music of Lufthansa Terminal AKA Sarah Reeve.

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I thought it would be difficult to find enough footage to make videos or slideshows for all the readings, but Jeremy Levett found me lots of footage of Katyusha rockets and other explodey military goings-on to accompany Sarah’s power-chords during the train-vs-train battle sequence. And Justin Hill’s photos of deserted Brighton beaches make very good stand-ins for the deserted beaches of Desdemor.

I also tried learning one of the readings by heart, which seems to work well, so if I do more of these events next year I must try committing some more of the book to memory.

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We were in the downstairs studio theatre at the Old Vic (the ‘studio pit’), and very well looked after by the front of house team and by the technician, Jay, who was able to get the slides and videos running without any trouble (always a worry). There were about sixty people in thew audience, which I don’t think was bad at all for a pouring wet November morning. If you were one of them, thank you for coming! I think it went well – here’s an eyewitness account from book blogger Jesse Owen. And here’s another from the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award blog.

Also in the audience was graphic designer Maria Quintin, who had brought along some great pieces of Mortal Engines work which she did while she was at art college. Here she is in a rather harshly lit corner of the Old Vic’s foyer, holding up one of her beautiful link-cut Guild logos…

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Here’s the whole set (Historians, Engineers, Geographers, Merchants)…

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And here are Hester Shaw’s identity papers, issued in stroke just before the book begins!

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Thanks to Sharon Clark and her team at the Bristol Old Vic for inviting me to be part of the Saturday Stories.

Railhead in Bristol



Photo: Sarah McIntyre

I’m already planning my journey to Bristol next week, where I’ve been invited to do a Saturday Stories event at the Old Vic on Saturday, 14th November (10.30 am). I’m a bit bored of just talking about my books, so I’m planning to read some excerpts from Railhead, illustrated with videos and artwork, and interspersed with a few explanations of how it all came about.  And, of course, there will be a chance to get books signed afterwards. If you’re in Bristol, or near Bristol, please come along! Tickets are £4 (plus £1.50 booking fee if you pay by credit card). More details here.

Railhead Events


I have a busy autumn of travel looming, most of it revolving around publicity events for the new Reeve&McIntyre book, Pugs of the Frozen North. But I also have a few events lined up where I’ll be talking about Railhead.

On Saturday 3rd October I’ll be at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival, where I’ll be joining bestselling fantasy author Joe Abercrombie (he ‘grabbed’ George RR Martin and ‘refused to let go’, according to the quote on the cover of his new YA novel Half the World). Author Sarah Pinborough will be chairing the event.


On Sunday 4th October I’ll be appearing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival alongside Lucy Saxon (The Almost King), Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (The Edge Chronicles, etc) to talk about writing Fantastic Worlds.


On Saturday 17th October I’ll be at the Lakes International Comics Festival, where I’ll be joining one of my favourite artists, Ian McQue, to talk about how we approach creating fantasy worlds, and how he would go about visualising the worlds of Railhead.


Some Railhead concept art by Ian McQue.


And on Saturday 14th November I’m doing a morning show all on my own at the Bristol Old Vic, with readings, chat, Q&A etc.


Hopefully there will be more Railhead-related wanderings next year. Of course, if you can’t make it to any of these events but you can make it to one of the Pugs shows I’m happy to sign copies of Railhead after those, too…