There is a lot going on.

First things first – the UNESCO Citywide Read campaign ended on the 19th of March and I am still discombobulated from the sheer amount of running around. I spoke to over 2000 children across 21 libraries, (and one art gallery) answered roughly four hundred questions (not an exaggeration, quite a few of them were about crisps) and got to meet my favourite city’s coterie of rock-star librarians and teachers, who had made beautiful KotBD displays and done great prep work with introducing the kids to the world of the Order.

(my favourite bit of the above is that they named the teddy Mr. Sparkles)

It was a really lovely experience. I normally never assume the students I’ll be talking to at events have read the book because unless you’re J. K. Rowling the answer is usually going to be ‘no,’ so to do gigs where the kids had at least started the book was brilliant. And terrifying. But mostly brilliant. Special thanks to the kids in Drumcondra and Dolphin’s Barn for their amazing artwork!

One particular highlight was getting to hang out in an extremely fancy Georgian building and give some exclusive The Forever Court readings as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival Celebrations. (They had wooden swords. I should have stolen one but I was afraid) I met some super-fans (one with his own homemade KotBD t-shirt) and was joined by my very own Man in the Waistcoat and Woman in White, who hung around and ate chips and generally menaced everyone they could.

Speaking of menace – the fanfiction competition I’ve been running here ended on the 19th and the entries are glorious, bonkers and gloriously bonkers. Thank you so much to everyone who sent in work and apologies for the delay in posting the winners. The entries are all up on the site for you to read, along with pieces I’ve written around each plot point in the book, and I’m delighted to announce the winners below.

Patrick Byrne

Ciara Conroy

Lexie Greenawalt

Sophie Atkinson

Signed copies of Knights of the Borrowed Dark have been sent out! A huge thanks as well to Jackie Lynam and everyone at UNESCO, Dublin City Libraries and Dublin City Council for an exhaustingly incredible three months.

Now obviously after such an intense few months of gigs I took time off and recuperated and lol no of course I didn’t I immediately disappeared to Frankfurt and ran around chatting to fans of KOTBD’s German incarnation, Die Allianz Der Schattenjaeger.

THE NERVES. I never studied German –

(not that I speak any of the languages I actually studied. Except English. Shut up. You know what I mean)

– and I was very concerned that the jokes wouldn’t translate, that people would not care about this bedraggled yeti-man from a rainy little island… but luckily the Literarisches Zentrum Gießen that invited me over provided a wonderful translator, Daniel, who good-naturedly transmitted my ramblings to the students of Liebegschule & Laubach.

(Turns out the word for pug in German is mops. Delighted)

The Literarisches Zentrum Gießen also brought me to the Fantastiche Bibliothek which is a) exactly what I’d name my TARDIS and b) a massive library solely dedicated to fantasy and science fiction. It has 280, 000 books.

This is its Star Trek section –

This is what its done with its collection of the longest ever running pulp series (with cameo by my gracious host Sascha) –

If you’re in Hessen at all, you have to visit it. Tell them I said hi. Wave to my book.

There’s a different question for every student. Some will ask you about money (not that I mind, how else will you learn) some will ask you about getting published, others will zero in on my public hatred for ready-salted flavour. The students of Giessen very much erred on the technical side of the Tenebrous, which was interesting. One student asked how can Tenebrous kill you. That answer went on for a while. It was really lovely, and we’re already planning doing much larger gigs next year. Germany’s literature scene is at least as vibrant and energetic as Ireland’s, and obviously gigging in two countries isn’t enough. Also I got to sit in a Graf’s chair. Don’t tell him. It was super comfy.

Next week I will be doing a UK tour and a Canadian tour, so expect lots of pictures, possibly of me wearing a hat with a bobble, so that’s going to be great. Check out the Upcoming Events page to see where I am!

Hmm. Has anything else happened? Saw Kong (it’s good) and Get Out (it’s great) was there anything else…

Oh yes. This.

No, not my beautiful haircut you shameless flatterer – The Forever Court is officially out! It’s got more Tenebrous, more Knights, more magic – the only thing that isn’t bigger is Denizen, unfortunately…

Here is me chatting about it on television

Here is me chatting about it on the radio

And here are some pictures from the launch! We launched it downstairs in O’Connell Street Eason’s beautiful Dept. 51 with none other than author and mischief-merchant Eoin Colfer, who managed to mercilessly make fun of me while also making me feel about a hundred feet tall. He also read his favourite passage from the book. Eoin Colfer has a favourite passage of my book. That’s a real sentence.

It was a lovely night, and I’m really grateful to everyone who came – especially kids and teenagers who were there because they love Denizen and the gang, and to whom I am just a random loud bale of hay. The book has been a part of my life for some long and I love that it now belongs to everybody. I have two books in the world now. Nonsense.

Pictures are already coming in of it of it angsting out in the wild, and if you do pick up a copy please send me pics at @d_ruddenwrites or at theruddlesstravelled on Instagram. I really hope you like it. If you really really like it, do fire us a review or rating on Goodreads.com and Amazon – it’s really helpful, especially in the early days of it being out! You can review the first book in the trilogy (see how I can say that now?) here and here. People have been saying nice things –

and I’d love to hear what you think too! Reviews and ratings on Goodreads & Amazon are hugely important at this early stage so do take a moment and let me know if you enjoy stories about religious fanatics and women made of wire. Hurray!