Monday, September 30, 2013

Kids events at the Wood Green Literary Festival

Wood Green Literary Festival 

A one stop guide to the kids events happening throughout the weekend 

As well as all the events listed here, there'll also be lots of FREE book related craft activities for kids to enjoy at the school, so please come along and help ensure that we can do this again next year!

For more information about the Festival, please visit

All children's events will be taking place in Noel Park Primary School. Gladstone Avenue N22 6LH (3 minutes walk from the Bookshop)

Saturday October 12th
1.00pm - London’s biggest and most explosive songs & stories for under 5s (and older if you like).
Join in the fun with Tim and friends, as he entertains your little ones in his own inimitable style.

Here’s your chance to witness something quite remarkable.
The award winning writer, author, actor, singer and oh, I don’t know, lots of other things too will be joining us for an hour of spectacular entertainment.

Does your mammoth need a wash? I imagine if it was woolly it probably would. Thankfully Michelle Robinson and Kate Hindley have written a very useful book which will show you how to do it!

We’re thrilled to be putting on a comic workshop event with the amazing Zoom Rockman, creator and artist of ‘The Zoom’ comic.

Sally Nicholls is the multi-award-winning author of novels including the bestselling Ways to Live Forever and All Fall Down.
In her new book, Close Your Pretty Eyes, Sally has weaved a story around real-life Victorian mass-murderess Amelia Dyer. The book isn’t published yet, and the Festival will be the first opportunity you’ll have to get your hands on copies!

Demons, trolls, vomiting bats, werewolves, elves, hybrid monsters. This has it all! Meet three of our most magical kids authors for an hour of out of this world fun. Sam, Steve and Conrad will be taking you through their fictional worlds, chatting about fantastical fiction and offering great advice to anyone interested in writing.

Sunday October 13th

Have you ever watched The Legend of Dick and Dom?
How about Hotel Trubble or The Slammer?
Maybe you’ve watched Planet Ajay, , Shaun the Sheep or The Numtums?
If you have, there’s a very very good chance that Ciaran Murtagh wrote the script to it. Because that’s just one of the things that he does!

Together, and maybe with your help, Catherine and Lydia will be talking about how they’ve used London as a location in their novels and the importance of building a realistic sense of place for their readers. There’ll be fascinating insights into how they researched for their books and no doubt a few surprises on the way.

Here are some things you need to know about Marianne Levy
  1. She likes cheese
  2. She owns a horrible cat called Boots*.
  3.  When she was young she wanted to be an incredibly famous actress
  4. Thankfully she isn't an incredibly famous actress, because if she was, her amazing Ellie May books might not exist
Marianne's live events are always a real treat and we couldn't be happier that she's coming to join us at the festival.

There’s a big debate about the way some modern Young Adult fiction tackles gritty realistic subjects, and a number of people have questioned whether teenagers should be exposed to it like this. Recently, American Library censors were targeting this genre and removing titles from their shelves.
Thankfully, there are authors like Keren David and Hilary Freeman, who despite this, continue to write realistic, thought provoking books, which don’t shy away from tough subjects.

4.30pm - Here's our big Finalé.
We want you to write a story, no longer than 200 words, with the title

"A London Journey"

The best stories will reach the final where you'll have a chance to read out your story LIVE in front of an expectant audience and our 3 ace judges.
All finalists will receive a £5 Big Green Bookshop Voucher, but there are three incredible prizes for the winners.
The winners can choose from these three amazing prizes;

- Having a character in Sophia Bennett's new book named after them!
- CJ Daugherty will write the winner into her next novel!
 - You and 3 friends can enjoy a slap up meal with Holly Smale!

All entries MUST be in by midnight on Wednesday 9th of October.

Please email your entries to, with your name, age and the best way to contact you.
The competition is open to EVERYONE.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wood Green Literary Festival . Help us spread the word, please.


the leaflets, posters and BIG posters for the Wood Green Literary Festival have now arrived.

There are 20,000 leaflets, and over 1,000 posters. ...

 They look a bit like this;
click on this and it will get bigger.

 Now, I wonder if we could ask you a favour...

We need these delivered to all parts of London (it's not just about Wood Green).

We also need the posters put up in as many windows as possible.

The more people who know about this festival, the more likely it'll be a success. Which will mean we might be able to do it again next year.

If you're able to put some leaflets through some doors on your street or if you can put up a poster in your window, please come in and Tim, Carmel, Katie or Simon will be happy to give you what you need.
I imagine that you can click on the image above, and print it off, if you felt the need to do so.

 I bought a matress that you could only use once. I should have known I couldn't rely on it.
Unlike that dreadful matress pun we do rely on you to help us out. We won't be able to so this without your help, thanks in advance.

Get in touch by phone ; 020 8881 6767
or email at
or by twitter @biggreenbooks

Monday, September 16, 2013

Booker Prize - Rule Changes

Rumour has it they're going to be changing the rules of the Man Booker Prize.

It says so on the BBC News website, so it must be true...

It looks like American novelists will be allowed to enter the Man Booker prize from next year. 
Some people think it's a great idea and some people think it's a rubbish idea. 
This is what I think. 

Men should be allowed to enter the Bailey's (Orange) Prize

The Costa Book Prize should also allow writers from all over the world to be eligible. 

The Guardian First book Award, shouldn't open it's doors to people who've already written a novel.

The Forward Prize for poetry should now allow all genres to enter, not just poetry.  

Oh, and They should allow other teams, as well as Australia and England to contest the Ashes, teams outside Europe should be allowed to play in the European Cup, I'd like to run for presidency of America please. 

Those are the rules!
 They've been the rules since the prize started, so why change them now. There's no point. Oh yes, there is a point. Some advertisers, sponsors and a handful of already rich people in the book industry will get a little bit richer. 

Hey, I know. Let's get rid of the judges next and decide by public vote. Even better, let's not worry about the books and get them to dance or sing for our votes. 

The Booker Prize is (for all its faults) the most important Literary Prize in the UK. I worry that if the decision was made to change the entry criteria, it would dilute what the Booker Prize means.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Neil Gaiman Competition

We like Neil Gaiman here at the Big Green Bookshop. He's a real delight. 

And it also seems he's fondish of The Big Green Bookshop, because on his latest visit to the UK, he very kindly signed a load of stuff for us. 
Thanks Neil.
All the books you see are signed by Mr. G.
Yes, and he's even signed some tote bags. 

These are very precious and lovely things, aren't they? I expect some of you would like to get your book loving hands on them. Well here's your chance. 

We've got this Literary Festival coming up next month. It's important to us that lots of people come along, not only because we've invested a massive amount of time and energy into it but also because we think that there are some brilliant events that lovers of books and literature will really appreciate. 

So here's the thing. Everyone who buys a ticket to ANY of the events at the Festival will be entered into a draw to win the books (all signed by Neil), badges and the tote bag in this picture. 
The winner will be notified on Monday October 14th.  

Here's a link to the Official Festival website
If you can't make the Festival, but still want to be in with a chance of winning all this shizzle you can buy a ticket HERE for just £2. Half of the money we make for the sale of these tickets will go to The Haringey Foodbank Project which helps provide food parcels from local people living on the breadline.

I guess, if you really wanted to, you could simply buy signed copies of his books. 
They're listed HERE.

Booker Prize.

Screw the Great British Bake Off. The X-Factor can do one and Strictly Come Dancing can Flamenco Off. 
This is what the whole nation has been waiting for. 
The Man Booker Prize shortlist is announced tomorrow! 
Expect London to be at a standstill as hoards of screaming fans spill into town, hoping to catch a glimpse of the judges, as they prepare to tell the waiting millions which six books have reached the final stages of the competition. 
..and media attention couldn't be more intense. Special security services have been brought in to ensure the Longlisted authors protection as Booker frenzy continues to sweep the nation. 
So, who is it going to be?? Only the judges know, but we hear from an anonymous source that the six shortlisted authors are all likely to come from the list of 13 on the longlist. They are;

  • Tash Aw (Five Star Billionaire)
  • NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names)
  • Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries)
  • Jim Crace (Harvest)
  • Eve Harris (The Marrying of Chani Kaufman)
  • Richard House (The Kills)
  • Jhumpa Lahiri (The Lowland)
  • Alison MacLeod (Unexploded)
  • Colum McCann (Transatlantic)
  • Charlotte Mendelson (Almost English)
  • Ruth Ozeki (A Tale for the Time Being)
  • Donal Ryan (The Spinning Heart)
  • Colm Toibin (The Testament of Mary)
The Big Green Bookshop, as ever, has been swept away by booker fever, so it's going to be running it's annual Booker Book challenge. 

As soon as the shortlist is announced, we’ll order copies of each of the books, which we’ll hopefully get by Thursday September 12th. 
Over the next five or so weeks the idea is to make a concerted effort to read as many of the six shortlisted books as you can.
We'll meet on October 15th, the evening the winner is announced, to discuss each of the books. After a heated debate, and a glass or two of wine, the group will vote for whom they think should win. We’ll then watch the televised ceremony, and hopefully cheer as our choice and the actual winner is one and the same. Or more likely, shout and curse as our least favourite book takes the glory.
We realise that the cost of buying six books, some of them hardback is somewhat budget busting. So for our local customers, rather than asking you to buy all the books at full price we’ve come up with a few solutions;
•For a one off payment of £25, we will be a lending library, where you can borrow each of the books for a week each. You can also keep your favourite book after the ceremony. 
•We will offer a discount of 20% on the shortlist for Book Group members. 
•A group of you could share the cost, so for example 3 of you could buy 2 books each. 
However you decide to do this, we will do everything we can to make the books accessible to you. The important thing is that you're able to join in. 
It's a challenge to read six books in five weeks (especially books you wouldn't necessarily read), but if you think you're up for it, get involved!

We're also going to be involved in a weekly Twitter chat, discussing one book a week leading up to the final. There will be a hashtag for these conversations, #TWEETBOOKER, so anyone can join in. 

For what it's worth, here's my guess as to the six shortlisted books, based on who the judges are and pure guesswork.

Jim Crace
Charlotte Mendelson
Colm Toibin
Colum McCann
Eleanor Catton
Jhumpa Lahiri

I've read 3 of the longlisted books so far, so my guess is based on nothing. 
Let's see how close I am. 

PS,  I wish that there was some interest in books in the media, but i'm also very pleased that no authors so far have resorted to eating kangaroo testicles or dressing up as a cat in order to gain publicity. 

Monday, September 02, 2013

"145 Days in Space" with Jim Bob

Following on from my recent blogpost "145 Days in Space", we've asked some fantastic authors to let us know what six books they'd take with them if (like astronaut Chris Hadfield) they were sent into space for 145 days. 

Today seems like an appropriate day to reveal our next author's choice of books. 
However he isn't just an author, he is one half of the majestic Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine and solo musician, Jim Bob. 

The reason today is appropriate, is that Jim's just announced news of his first solo album for over four years. "What I think About, When I Think About You" will be available to download soon
He's also announced a one off shop in November at London's Bush Hall (tickets available Friday).

You will, of course be able to see him at The Wood Green Literary Festival before this  on October 13th talking (he may also bring his guitar...) with music journalist and writer Howard Male . (tickets available NOW at just £3).

So what six books would Jim Bob take into space?

Adventures of Wim – Luke Rhinehart
I don't tend to read books more than once and I read this a long time ago but I know I used to always say it was my favourite book of all time, so I'm going to trust my younger self's judgement. It was a sort of sequel to The Dice Man – the memoir of Luke Rhinehart, who until very recently I thought was one of my favourite authors but it turns out it's actually George Cockcroft, who wrote both books. 

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint – Brady Udall
I could have equally picked The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall, which is also an amazing book.

Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
I was obsessed with this book when I first read it. I used to go to jumble sales every Saturday morning looking for a red hunting hat like Holden Caulfield's. I never found one. These days everyone in Hoxton has got one.

The Road – Cormac McCarthy 
It might not help to make my time alone a barrel of laughs. Is there a book called Barrel of Laughs? I'll google it. Yes, there are a few. None of them look as good as 'The Road'.

What is the What? – Dave Eggers
Is it a novel? Is it a biography? Who cares. This book is incredible. Like The Road it's quite exhausting and not a joke fest but it's a fantastic book. 

Hocus Pocus – Kurt Vonnegut
My favourite ending to a book. I'll read this one last, before splashdown.

many thanks to Jim Bob for sharing this. Look out for more "145 Days in Space" soon.