Masters of Grauniad Central

The panel looking gormless
(photo Debbie Gilpin @Deborah_Deborah)
I had the pleasure of helping organise and taking part in a 'How to write a popular science book' masterclass on Sunday, and just wanted to take the opportunity to say that if the attendees enjoyed it as much as I did they will have had a good day indeed.

We had a fascinating keynote speech on why communicating science is important from Professor Stephen Curry, one of the organisers of Science is Vital and an early scientist blogger, a great talk from science journalist and author of Geek Nation Angela Saini on what makes a good popular science book (and what doesn't), various odds and sods from me, ranging from research to selling your book, and a spot-on fact-filled guide to producing the perfect proposal and the book production process from ex-MD of Icon Books and author of The Science Magpie, Simon Flynn.

The closing part of the event was a chance for members of the audience to give brief pitches for book ideas to panel made up of Simon, bestselling author M. G. Harris and me so that we could (hopefully) give some words of wisdom.

Throw in the most lavish 'light lunch' I've ever had and it was a day that went past remarkably quickly. Apart from seeing old friends in the other presenters, I really enjoyed meeting the audience, who were a fascinating bunch, and hearing some of their book ideas, at least three of which I would be rushing out to buy if they are ever published.

Lessons? Many. But I would particularly note the importance of having passion in your subject and narrative in your writing - plus having an utterly brilliant proposal. 

It was a great day and I hope we have a chance to do another.