Monday, 22 September 2014

An Evening of Itchcraft

The awe inspiring Royal Institution of Great Britain was the wonderfully appropriate venue for An Evening of Itchcraft with Simon Mayo and friends, on a unusually humid September day. The event was a chance to celebrate the launch of Itchcraft, the third instalment in the series of phenomenally successful books about a young school boy named Itchingham Lofte, an element hunter who is never too far away from danger. The first guests of the evening were the acoustic folk band Show of Hands who played a beautiful live rendition of Cousin Jack, the song which inspired Simon to name Itch's cousin Jack, which received rapturous applause.

The other guest for the evening was Andrea Sella the Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at UCL, who aptly had a plethora of explosive experiments up his sleeve that even Itch himself would be thrilled with. From rare earth magnets to burning a 100 euro note (for legitimate scientific reasons, of course) the evening was awash with everything a young element hunter could wish to know. In between the numerous experiments there was a chance to hear Simon read a couple of chapters from Itch and Itchcraft, and the reasoning behind some of the characters, including where he got the names for Itchingham Lofte and Itch's deadly science teacher Dr Nathaniel Flowerdew. A church called Holy Trinity in Blythburgh, Suffolk holds a plaque upon one of its walls, where the two names of Itchingham Lofte and Nathaniel Flowerdew sit directly below one another. Flowerdew has 'intruder' written directly next to his name, which prompted Simon to use him as the lead villain.

It was enchanting to see so many young children attend, having their youthful imaginations filled with the wonders of science and literature. Reading the Itch series took me right back to my own childhood when I started to read for my own enjoyment. The thrill of racing through a book eager to devour the next chapter is a feeling that is still hard to beat, with the added surge of an adrenaline rush as you finish the final page, this is certainly something that Simon has encapsulated so expertly.
After the event drew to a close there was a book signing with the great man himself, I now proudly own a signed copy of Itchcraft which takes pride of place on my bookshelf. It was great to meet Simon briefly who was charismatic and lovely as ever, I also hope to get my other two Itch books signed at some point to complete the trilogy. It was a captivating evening that delved in Itch's world, if only for a couple of hours. One day I'll hopefully be able to write about Itch and co when they make the leap from page to screen.


1 comment

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