Angie Sage at Ilkley Literature Festival: Review

Gargoyle-Hall-CoverA darkening room on an autumn afternoon provided the perfect backdrop to Angie Sage’s workshop about Araminta Spook, the ghost-hunting heroine of her latest series. Describing Araminta as a less scared version of herself, Angie discussed how her own childhood, growing up in an old ‘spooky’ house in Kent inspired her to create her feisty heroine. As a child, Angie loved hunting for and imagining ghosts round every corner and sought to recreate a sense of ghostly adventure in the series of books, as Araminta and best friend Wanda investigate sinister happenings.

The young audience listened intently as Angie offered advice for readers keen to write their own ghost stories. She suggested that creating a sense of atmosphere is key; a suitably wintery setting with darkness and shadows would infer the possibility of ghostly exploits. Similarly flickering candles and empty chairs – with potential ghostly occupants – create a sense of unease. To build tension, writers could offer a glimpse of something terrifying i.e. eyes glinting in the darkness. After quizzing Angie on her writing – and her past career as an illustrator – the youngsters contributed their own ideas of intriguing ghosts and haunted objects.

As the author of the hugely-successful Septimus Heap series, as well as the Araminta Spook books, Angie Sage is a master of creating mysterious adventures in tension-filled settings. Given that Angie now lives in a very old, suitably ‘Araminta-esque’ house herself, one wonders

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