There was cause for excitement when an author visited a town center bookshop to mark the Bishop’s Stortford Literature Festival – and the place of his turtle book on the shortlist for an award.
Waterstones bookshop in South Street played host to writer Ian Brown as he signed copies of Albert Upside Down and the follow-up adventure Albert and the Wind.
Both books are based on the real turtle Albert, Ian’s pet, and are the start of a series of stories featuring the reptile.
Author Ian is a former Hertfordshire journalist turned writer and television producer. In his 30 year career he has written or produced for Top Gear, The Simpsons, The South Bank Show, This Is Your Life and stars like Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan and Bob Monkhouse.
Albert’s books, published by Graffeg, have received praise online as well as from various household names, including Jeremy Clarkson, Julian Clary and Joe Sugg.
The real Albert the turtle is maybe 80 years old. It was found over 50 years ago by Ian’s wife when she was a little girl. The octogenarian has already inspired four books written by Ian with illustrations by Eoin Clarke.
The first story, Albert Upside Down, is one of 10 books in the running for the Bishop’s Stortford Picturebook Award which is in its 13th year and is part of the Festival of Literature organized by Bishop’s Stortford College. This year’s festival runs from Monday, January 31 through February 11.
The Picturebook Award is judged by schools across the country. Voting ended on January 21. The winning book will be named on February 2. Waterstones marks the event with a timely showcase.
Ian’s book signing on Monday January 24 was a return visit to the shop and follows his recent appearance at Bishop’s Stortford Pre-Prep School to talk about the real Albert the Turtle and read his Albert Upside Down story.
“It’s a real pleasure to see Albert celebrated in schools and in stores,” said Ian. “Readers of all ages seem to love Albert and winning a prize would be the icing on the cake.”
He added: “It’s a dream come true for me. Both stories are inspired by things that happen to the real Albert.
There is more information about Albert on his own website www.AlbertTortoise.com.