Meeting the kids in the school where I once dreamed of being an author was the closest I’ll ever get to time travel. Brooke and Freya, two budding young writers at Bushmead Primary, described it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ event. ‘Her expressions were fantastic when she read aloud,’ they wrote. ‘The teachers said it was the quietest we ever sat!’ It was exciting for me too – like meeting versions of my younger self. Read more
What’s the best surprise you can give an author on World Book Day? Maggie Cole knows the answer. When the snow thawed and the big day finally arrived, she went into school dressed as Alpha the wolf from The Mirror of Pharos! Read more
One of my favourite children’s authors, Ursula Le Guin, once said: ‘The writer cannot do it alone. The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.’ Read more
‘I have a secret to share. From the treehouse where I often work, there’s a great view of Radwinter Church and the land where I used to farm. If I’m lucky, whilst I’m scribbling away at a story, a grey wolf sometimes appears, roaming across the fields – large as life. As the wind stirs the leaves, he stops and looks up, as if he senses someone hiding in the branches. Then his amber eyes blink and I see him lift his nose to catch the scent and meaning of the words I’m writing …’ Read more
Following a month of fun and frolics, Buster is preparing to hang up his GPO hat and make way for a new Head Mouser at The Postal Museum. But wait … is that the doorbell he can hear ringing yet again? The excitement is not quite over.
Another special delivery arrived this morning. To our supermog’s surprise, his portrait has been painted by none other than his favourite children’s illustrator. Yes, Buster and his antics have been immortalised! Will we ever hear the end of it?
‘Children are the best poets,’ says Carol Ann Duffy, the first female poet Laureate in 350 years since the title was launched. ‘Everything is new and they don’t see the barriers in the way adults sometimes do.’
Duffy has written many children’s poems and picture books as well as adult volumes and her work has been on school syllabuses since the nineties. ‘Childhood is like a long greenhouse where everything is growing; it’s lush and steamy. It’s where poems come from,’ she says.
Children enjoy reading poetry and understand its power to express emotion and convey humour. But they may not always know how to begin writing it for themselves. Where better to start than by focusing on one of the five senses? Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let your sense of smell be your guide …
With just a week to go until the book launch, could things get any more exciting? Actually, yes they can! Buster the cat (known affectionately to his fans as Buster Gut) has outshone and upstaged his humans by landing himself a first-class job – as Head Mouser for the newly-opened Postal Museum in London. Read more
Happy Halloween! What’s it to be – trick or treat? There’s no contest for me on this supernatural day. It’s treats all the way because The Mirror of Pharos has arrived at last!
There’s nothing more life-affirming for an author than to hold the finished book in her hands. And the timing could not be more fitting. The Mirror of Pharos begins in the autumn with blustery winds that have a supernatural source. One blink from a pair of brooding amber eyes is all it takes for the yellow leaves to fall and a storm to blow up. Read more
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Jack’s parents died in a tragic diving accident in Egypt. So he wants nothing to do with adventure. Until, that is, a seagull delivers a strange disc…