Friday, 11 April 2014

On the Edge at Hemel Hempstead Library for Herts Lit Fest

A couple of weeks ago I joined fellow Edge Author Sara Grant at Hemel Hempstead Library, for a morning of book-inspired edginess as part of the Hertfordshire Literary Festival. Sixty year seven students and staff from The Hemel Hempstead School made it through a Spring downpour to spend the morning at the library.

With Sara Grant and Hemel Hempstead School students at Herts Lit Fest.
Thanks to Tom for the photo.

Read the full story here 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends & Football

A nice surprise this morning when a final printed copy of my new book landed on the mat.

A tale of friendship amidst the highs and lows of the beautiful game.

It's always a special moment when you hold the finished book in your hands. I'm not ashamed to admit there may have been some celebratory dancing!

Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends & Football will be stampeding into book shops and libraries on May 1st. You'd be most welcome to read it.

Lots of laughs, action and even a bit of romance in this one! Pictures too!!

Thanks to everyone at Oxford University Press for their hard work and enthusiasm in bringing this story to life, with special mention for Clare, Claire and Molly.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Around the World in 15 Days!

My debut novel 15 Days Without a Head was published by Oxford University Press in the UK in January 2012. It has since been published across the world in many different languages. 

The Polish edition—15 DNI BEZ GLOWY—came out today!

I'm always fascinated to see the different artwork and titles used. 

One of my favourites is the edition that came out recently in Taiwan (above bottom row, middle). The jacket illustrates characters and elements from the story, and even has silver endpapers! (below)

Great illustration of Mina in her RAMONES T-Shirt!

There are more character illustrations inside.

artwork: CommonWealth Magazine, Taiwan

I recently blogged about the fantastic animated trailer Penguin Random House produced for the Mexican Spanish Edition. Watch the video here.

With these and further editions scheduled for publication, every so often a new copy arrives in the post. The arrival of one of these always gives me a huge buzz, knowing that a story I wrote in my attic is now being read by people thousands of miles away in countries I have never been able to visit myself.

I did however get the opportunity to visit Italy last year, when Quindici Giorni Senza Testa, was awarded the Premio Andersen

With my award at the beautiful Luzzati Museum, Genova

My Italian publisher San Paolo kindly invited me to Italy for the ceremony. I had a wonderful couple of days in Genova, and managed to deliver my award acceptance speech in 'very broken' Italian! Huge thanks to everyone at San Paolo, plus Barbara Schiaffino, Paolo Rinaldi, Marco Albonico, Alessandra Grasso, Giuseppe Trapani and the rights team at OUP, and most of all Giulia Guasco who translated the story into Italian and clearly did a very good job!

With Marco from San Paolo, and Giulia who did
such a great job translating the story into Italian

None of this would have been possible without the Rights Team at OUP. It is due to their dedication and hard work that my stories have found their way to readers all over the world. Here's a report from their recent trip to the Bologna Book Fair, see if you can spot the display for my new book Charlie Merrick's Misfits.

Finally, thanks to all the publishing houses across the globe for giving my stories a life beyond the attic.

Thanks to Jennie Younger for the photos and her company on my Italian adventure.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

15 DÍAS SIN CABEZA Book Trailer (15 Days in Mexico)

I'm delighted to announce that 15 Days Without a Head was published in Mexico this week by Penguin Random House, who also produced this great animated book trailer to launch it! 

I find it slightly surreal, but very exciting, to think that a story I wrote in my attic is now in the hands of readers in a country so far away!

Thanks to everyone at Penguin Random House in Mexico, and the rights team at Oxford University Press, for making it possible for this story to reach so many new readers and be better travelled than its author!

Click here for more info or to buy a copy

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Authors for the Philippines – Online Auction

The devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines has led to worldwide appeals for much needed funds to bring urgent aid to the thousands of people affected. 

UK author Keris Stainton has put together an online auction with items donated by a wide-range of authors, illustrators and agents—from signed books and original artwork, to manuscript critique, author visits, characters named after you (you could be in Patrick Ness' next book!) and a night down the pub with Andy Stanton and Anthony McGowan. 

There are a couple of items up there by me too—a signed copy of the US edition of 15 Days Without a Head, plus a signed copy of the UK edition of Waiting for Gonzo, complete with limited edition CD copy of the Gonzo soundtrack (not available in the shops).

Please drop by and make a bid—there are some fantastic items on there, and ALL proceeds will go directly to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan Appeal. 

The auction is now live and ends on Wednesday 20th November. Check back often as new items are being donated all the time.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Pop Up and Sit Down with a Book! (or, How Pop Up Gets Young People Reading)

Why pick up a book? I mean, there are so many other things you could be doing: watching TV, hanging out with your mates, playing a game, tweeting, texting, sharing pictures on Instagram, surfing YouTube … Why switch off all that multicoloured, moving, bleeping, tweeting interactive fun and sit down quietly with a book? 

Tricky one that. It’s a question parents, teachers, librarians, book-sellers, writers and publishers have been wrestling with for years. 

One of the tenets of writing is “SHOW, don’t TELL” and that could also apply in this case. When I visit schools, I try to avoid telling young people that they SHOULD be reading. Sure, I’ll explain how important books have been to me, share my enthusiasm for some of my favourites, but then I read something—SHOW them what I mean—in the hope they’ll be inspired to give books another go themselves. 

The programme of literature festivals and events offered by London's Pop Up organisation takes this idea even further. Pop Up Director Dylan Calder explains: “The children read a book, meet the author of the book, then experience a workshop around that book to create creative responses.”

Earlier in the year, I took part in a number of Pop Up Booklinks events. When I arrived at the schools, the entire class had already read 15 Days Without a Head and produced work based on the story, including hot-seating, where students would take it in turns to interview each other as one of the characters. The teachers said the pupils’ enthusiasm for the project was evident in the way they had approached the tasks and the quality of work produced. The video below shows a small sample of film posters students produced having been tasked with casting and promoting a movie of the book.

The fact that pupils know they are going to be meeting the author creates an extra dimension to their reading experience and associated work. The opportunity to both question the author, and share their own responses, brings them closer to the book and makes reading a much more inclusive process. Working with the author on the students’ own creative project further breaks down barriers between reader and creator, and provides an important channel for self-expression. 

My overriding impression from the classrooms I visited was one of great enthusiasm. Dylan Calder sums it up perfectly: “Children should come away from Pop Up wanting to read more because they had such a great experience.” Maybe that answers our question.

Below are links to a couple of short films showcasing recent Pop Up events in June 2013, run in partnership with London museums and galleries. See if you can spot me!

Pop Up Primary Film

If you’d like a Pop Up Education programme in your learning community email:

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

READ IT, OR ELSE! The Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2014

The 2014 shortlists for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards were announced this week. I was honoured to see Waiting for Gonzo included in the brilliantly titled — Read it, or else! category.

Have a look at the full list of 12 books to see who Gonzo is up against! You can leave comments and vote for your favourite.

There are six categories for young people in the awards, plus an adult shortlist. Visit the website for full details and a list of upcoming events.