My Catchphrases

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Saturday Spotlight: ABBA Lit Fest: Guest Post: Celia Rees

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have a guest post as part of the ABBA Lit Fest *SQUEEE* barely covers it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did and HUGE thanks to Celia for writing it for me:

What Libraries Mean To Me – Celia Rees

Like many writers, I owe a lot to libraries. If it hadn’t been for Solihull Public Library, I would not have become a writer. I first visited when I was in a pram. I don’t exactly remember this, but my mother went to the library every week. It was as much part of ‘going to town’ as visiting the butcher, baker, fishmonger and greengrocer. I was probably left outside (those being more innocent and careless times) but when I was a few years older, I’d be deposited in the Junior part of the library, where I’d make my choices, while she went to the Adult section to make hers. I loved being able to choose, to look at all the different books and then decide which ones to take into my temporary possession. My tastes ran to Beatrix Potter and Noddy, neither favorites of my mother, but she tolerated my choices and read them to me when we got home.

When I was a little older, I was awarded a blue Junior Borrower ticket, which meant I could take books out on my own account. I remember being very excited by this. Having my own ticket gave me a huge sense of freedom and independence. I could explore, not only fiction, but non-fiction as well. I could borrow books on anything I liked: volcanoes, dinosaurs, myths and legends, Robin Hood, explorers, whatever and whoever I wanted to read about. Going to the library was an adventure and I began to discover myself as a reader, form my own taste. If I didn’t like a book, it didn’t matter, I could take it back. I could read my way through my favorite authors (Enid Blyton, Capt. W.E. Johns, Rosemary Sutcliffe) and found new authors (Malcolm Saville, H. Rider Haggard, Geoffrey Trease, Henry Treece) by the simple process of looking along the shelves and finding something similar to the books that I already liked. For me, the wealth of titles, old and new, and the freedom to choose from them are two of the most important things that libraries can offer to young readers. The chance to make new discoveries without interference or direction. Finding an author for oneself gives a feeling of ownership that never comes from adult recommendation, however well meant.

My next rite of passage was the beige ticket that allowed me to borrow from the adult library. As an early adolescent, I glutted on Romance and read a whole shelf of Mazo De La Roche’s Jalna family saga before going on to the historical novels of Georgette Heyer, Nora Lofts, Jean Plaidy. I never thought that decades later I would be writing Historical Fiction myself, but now the connection is obvious. I read Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ngaio Marsh and the darker fiction of Algernon Blackwood, Dennis Wheatley, M.R. James and Edgar Alan Poe. My taste as an adult reader were forming and thus the kind of writer that I would become. I still like thrillers and have written my share of crime and supernatural.

When I was older still, studying for A levels and then at university, the library became another kind of resource. I could access books on every subject I wanted. It gave me all I needed to know.

The library allowed my mind to expand and it shaped my imagination. I was learning to write without even knowing.

Libraries open a door into a whole world of fiction and knowledge. Long may they continue to do so. A free, well stocked library service, easily and readily available to all is not just a right, it is the mark of a civilised society. It is well to remember that the monument in Berlin to the Nazi Book Burning is a room full of empty shelves.

Title: The Fool’s Girl
Author: Celia Rees
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: 4 April 2011
Synopsis: From Amazon
Violetta and Feste have come to London to rescue the holy relics taken from the church in Illyria by the evil Malvolio. Their journey has been long and their adventures many, but it is not until they meet the playwright William Shakespeare that they get to tell the entire story from beginning to end! But where will this remarkable tale ultimately lead Violetta and her companion? And will they manage to save themselves, and the relics from the very evil intentions of Malvolio.


Thank you to Celia for that brilliant guest post.

Find out more about Celia here
Join the Online Literature Festival here


  1. that room full of empty shelves gives me shivers! We do need our libraries... they are so important! Awesome guest post!

  2. I love my local library. My boys all have cards and have done since they were born! Louisex

  3. I love Celia Rees, I read her stuff when I was first in hospital. Library's are great. I take my boys and hope they continue to go. x

  4. I have been diving in to more historical reads lately. I should get myself a copy


Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs all images form the Very Own World kit by Irene Alexeeva