Marcia Williams endeared herself to the girls attending her morning tea at Sonny’s Kitchen, says Nohely Gedeon.
The author and illustrator of Lizzie Bennett’s Diary enthralled everyone – from the girls and their mothers to the event organisers – as she spoke of her works and the importance of keeping a diary.
During her time in boarding school Williams developed the habit of writing. She wrote letters to her parents and also wrote for herself. “I kept a diary in school,” she said. “It’s like telling your own history. Such a personal way of telling a story.”
Keeping a diary is not as common a practice as it once was, and so Marcia encourages kids to write their stories.
“What appeals to them is the history of their life,” she said. “There is so much that you lose. Even things like a bus ticket, it doesn’t exist any more, people don’t have bus tickets. So you don’t have those memories all there. Do a sort of scrapbook by sticking one of those things, because otherwise they’re just gone and you only see them in museums. But actually they shouldn’t be in museums because they are your history.”
Her beloved books have amassed quite a following, with adventure tales, easy to follow and humorous retelling of classics and the vivid illustrations that accompany the stories.
In school Williams struggled to read books that didn’t include pictures and as a writer she wanted to create stories that children would love to read and enjoy. “I wanted to make them accessible to children like me who struggled with books that weren’t illustrated. “ She explained. “So that’s why in my books there’s always lots of illustration and most of my books are comic strips.”
It takes her a year to finish a book, from writing to illustrating. “I was a 10-year-old boy for a whole year,” she joked to the audience about Archie’s War.
She draws by hand, admitting: “I’m not good enough with the computer. I’ve tried to them on the computer, but it doesn’t work for me.”
It was Marcia’s third visit to the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival – we just can’t get enough of her!