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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The photo moment

I had the photo moment a month or so back. It comes when someone: an agent or marketing person or conference organiser wants a picture of an author. If you're male or young and gorgeous, or have people always taking great photos of you, this is not a problem. You wing back a photo by return. Job done.

Most female writers I know, even the gorgeous, do not find the photo business as effortless. Having a photo taken can be angstful. It's not enough, if you're a woman, just to produce something that looks vaguely like you. An author I know in the States used to talk about having Botox before she was captured on film. I don't know if she was serious. Half of you thinks, why do I have to worry about something that's nothing to do with how good or not I am at writing? The other half knows that this is a visual age. Image matters. Even if you're middle-aged and not selling yourself on your looks (haw).

I've known for a while that the photos I've been using either show me as rather, erm, younger than I am now or are not technically suitable for some of the things they need to do: such as being enlarged to go on an event poster. So I added 'Find good photographer' to my list and asked a mate, PR consultant Jane Parritt, for names to conjure with and Jane suggested Anna McCarthy.

Anna and I met at her Barbican base and spent a morning talking about children, education, why we prefer to wear trousers rather than skirts, the riots and whether it's possible to earn too much money (possibly).

And we took some photos of me. And the whole thing was fun. And now I've got some great photos of me that show me as I am. If you need photos of yourself, your wedding, your family celebration, or your children, do have a look at Anna's website. I'll be swapping over the little picture on this blog for the new photo very shortly.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Wantage Betjeman Festival


I was very pleased and flattered to be asked to speak at the inaugural Betjeman Festival in Wantage, yesterday. As you can see, Sir John and I carefully co-ordinated clothing colours, and here we are sharing a joke. If you're near Wantage this week, do have a look at the programme.