Can’t decide whether I’m more excited or daunted by the exciting and daunting overseas trip I’m making very soon. Five nights in Kuala Lumpur with the British Council, partly as part of the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, and then two nights in Brunei, to do some teenage brain events for pupils and parents/staff at the Jerudong International School.
Being invited to do events abroad is not something you turn down. It’s mind-opening, exciting, an honour, and takes you away from the normal run of things, which is all good. But I confess that it’s also extra time-consuming in terms of preparation and worry, partly because you know the audience less than usual, and many more things can go wrong. And I don’t like things going wrong! I also don’t much like the act of travelling, and this trip will certainly involve a lot of travelling. And heat. Meh. (Mmmm, new clothes required…)
However, since recording an interview (get coffee before you listen!) with the delightful Umapagan Ampikaipakan (no, I definitely can’t pronounce it), for a Malaysian radio station yesterday, I’m more excited than daunted. Uma is the Director of the Cooler Lumpur #Word festival and his excitement and enthusiasm are infectious. He has also told me about the amazing food they are going to be giving me, so that’s good!
At Cooler Lumpur, I’m taking part in three events. A panel to discuss censorship; a workshop for writers wanting to write for teenagers; and a lecture on reading and the brain. Each requires a lot of preparation but fear not: I will be prepared! And there will be various receptions and things, at which best behaviour must be in evidence.
Then a two-hour hop (well, flight) to Brunei on the following Monday afternoon, and I’ll be collected by an old friend who teaches at the school. A relaxing evening with her and her husband and, I hope, an early night, because I have to be at the school at 7.00 in the morning! Yikes. Tell that to a UK teenager.
In the morning, I’m doing two one-hour presentations about the teenage and learning brain, for pupils aged from 12-16. Then lunch and book signing. Then a free afternoon with possibly a boat trip. And back to the school in the evening for a lecture to parents and staff about the teenage brain. The school have made a wonderfully detailed programme for me, which regularly include the word “refreshments” and also “peace”.
Staying another night with my friend and the next day making the long journey home, via KL and Amsterdam before collapsing in a weak heap.
I will report!