Thursday, 26 November 2015

Charlie Merrick's Misfits at The Book Nut Bookshop, Billericay

I've been invited along to the Book Nut Bookshop in Billericay on Saturday (28th November 2015). 

At 1pm I'll be under the Story Tree to talk a bit about Charlie Merrick's Misfits, before reading a couple of extracts, answering questions and signing books. 
The event is FREE and open to the public. Do come along and say hello if you're in the area.

The Book Nut can be found in Studio 54, Barleylands Craft Village, Billericay, Essex CM11 2UD.

Friday, 20 November 2015

#fridayreads: Phil Earle and Hounslow 2016 Teen Reads Book Award Shortlist

A veritable shelf load of book recommendations this week!

On Tuesday I was invited to speak at the Hounslow 2016 Teen Reads Book Award launch event at the Paul Robeson Theatre. I had a great morning chatting with staff and students from six local secondary schools before the shortlist was announced.

Hounslow 2016 Teen Reads Book Award Shortlist

Between now and March, students will read and discuss the six shortlisted books before casting their votes to decide the winner. All the books are standalone titles, written by UK authors, a couple of which I've already read and enjoyed. There's lots of variety on the list and a couple in particular with a really interesting premise. I'm hoping to head down to my local library this weekend to see if I can get copies.

This weeks #fridayreads — Phil Earle!

I've been travelling a fair bit during the past two weeks, doing events up and down the country—lots of fun and also a good opportunity to catch up on some reading. Saving Daisy by Phil Earle kept me company for most of last week and, to be honest, the miles flew by. I'm a huge fan of Phil's stuff, he manages to tackle difficult subjects with honesty and great warmth. Check out any of the titles in the picture—you won't regret it.


Happy reading!

Cheers, Dave.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Gosforth Book Festival and Beyond!

Gosforth Book Festival Poster

I'm looking forward to heading out on the road again for a number of events up and down the country—stopping off in Cambridge, Newcastle, Corby, Wellingborough and London. 

On Saturday (17th October) I'll be taking part in the Gosforth Community Book Festival. The event runs from 10am to 3pm, and is being hosted by Newcastle School for Boys in Gosforth, NE3. 

As well as a great line up of authors giving talks and book signings, there will be arts and crafts activities, Flowing Tales creative writing workshops, plus the chance to purchase books from the Seven Stories book shop, and—most important of all—a cafe running throughout the day! 

All events are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and Admission is FREE! So, if you're in the area, please come along—it would be great to see you!

Here's a quick outline of the programme of events:

AUTHORS (Times listed are the start of each session)
Hannah Russell—all day (The Hall)
Tom Palmer—10.30 & 12.30 (Room 6)
Simon Bartram—10.30 & 12.30 (Room 18)
Jason Beresford—11.30 & 1.30 (Room 18)
Dave Cousins—11.30 & 1.30 (Room 6)
Dan Smith—2.00 (Room 5)

ACTIVITIES (open all day)
Seven Stories Bookshop and Book Signing (The Hall)
Flowing Tales Writing Workshop (I.T. Room)
Arts & Crafts (The Hall)
Coffee Shop (The Hall)

For more information please 
or telephone 0191 255 9300.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Lunchboox Reading Group Goes Wild!

This bundle of Charlie Merrick style Go!Wild profiles from the LUNCHBOOX Reading Group at St. Christopher's School in Oxford really made my day. 

Great work guys—thanks very much!

I'll get my answers to your questions back to you as quickly as I can. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy finding out how Charlie and the gang cope with surviving all alone in the wild!

Best wishes, Dave


Charlie Merrick's Misfits in I'm a Nobody, Get Me Out of Here! is out now, published by Oxford University Press.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Grampian Children's Book Award 2015 & Aberdeenshire Schools Tour

Self portrait on Stonehaven beach.

Back in the attic after a fantastic week in Scotland for the Grampian Children's Book Award, plus a tour of schools in and around Aberdeenshire. It's the third year I've been lucky enough to be shortlisted for the award (last year Waiting for Gonzo actually won!) and my third Scottish tour. I always have a great time visiting 'The Shire' and this year was one of the best yet.

GCBA posters by students at Bridge of Don Academy.

The GCBA award ceremony at Aberdeen University on Wednesday was attended by nearly six hundred staff and students from schools all over the region, some of whom had travelled long distances to be there. Cathy MacPhail was a great host, and I was honoured to be sharing the stage with her, and fellow shortlisted authors, Kevin Brooks and James Dawson

The students had all read the books, written reviews, drawn posters (see pic above) and made book trailers for the shortlisted titles. Congratulations to James Dawson, whose chiller thriller Say Her Name was voted the winner. 

As always at these events, it was really inspiring to be in a room with so many enthusiastic young readers (and writers). Respect and thanks to the students and staff at all the schools, and to the GCBA team for making it all possible.

My GCBA books haul, including the winning title "Say Her Name".

I'd also like to take the opportunity to say a few thank yous to the staff and students at the schools I visited on my tour. S1, Gill and Liz at Bridge of Don Academy, who kicked things off on Tuesday morning; Jan, Kerry and Linda, and S1 students at Torry; Mandy, Karen, Jenny, Sarah and S2 students—who produced some great work during our workshop—at Northfield Academy. Thanks to Mandy and S3 at Ellon Academy; Katie, Kerry and S1 at The Gordon Schools, and Jackie at Alford. Finally, thanks to Jill and her team at Mearns in Laurencekirk, plus a special thanks to Daniel who was at the workshop I ran during my first visit to Mearns in 2013. (see pic) I was really chuffed that he took the time to stop by in the library to say hello.

Daniel (far left), me, and Mearns' students in our younger days!

At the risk of the thanks being longer than the tour, much appreciation also to Marion for organising EVERYTHING, and to Liz, Jan, Katrina, Marion, Katie, Jackie and Jill for taking turns to drive the tour bus—thanks all for your company. Apologies if I've missed anyone.

When visiting places, I like to sample the local cuisine.
I didn't actually try the deep fried Mars, but the fish supper was grand!

As was this ROWIE. Thanks to Jan at Torry for
treating me to this traditional Aberdeenshire delicacy.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

North Herts Book Award 2015

Great morning at the North Herts Book Award yesterday. Students from nine schools across North Herts met for a discussion day and voting at Nobel School, and I was invited along to give a talk and announce the winners. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic readers and hear them argue—sorry, discuss—the merits of their favourite books on the two shortlists!

Nikki Sheehan's excellent WHO FRAMED KLARIS CLIFF? won the younger category, while James Dawson's SAY HER NAME fought off strong competition to win the older section. 

Thanks to the staff and students from all the schools for making me so welcome. Special thanks to Ros and her team at Nobel, and to Linda for inviting me.

I then spent a very enjoyable afternoon with year 9 students at nearby St. Christopher School, taking about books, music and football! Thanks again to Linda and everyone at the school.

Now, it's back to some serious word wrangling . . . 

Friday, 27 March 2015

On the Edge with Herts Lit Fest at Rickmansworth Library!

Me and my shadow getting edgy down at the library …

Earlier this week I joined fellow Edge author Sara Grant for a Herts Lit Fest event at Rickmansworth Library with year 7 pupils from nearby St. Joan of Arc School. Here are a few photos from the day …

Karen Stephens introduces the students to all the
amazing FREE services on offer at the library.
Sara reading from her brilliant dystopian thriller HALF LIVES.
Thanks to Judi for this great graffiti wall.
After Sara and I had given the students a brief introduction to our books and a couple of readings, we reconvened for the Edge Graffiti Wall Panel. We were joined by librarians Judi and Melanie, and St Joan of Arc students Ella and Arfred to answer questions from the wall and the audience. 

We started by asking each panelist for a book recommendation. It was such an interesting and varied list, I thought I'd share it here:

Arfred: Russian Roulette (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz 
Dave: Riot by Sara Mussi
Ella: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sara: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Melanie: Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt
Judi: Trash by Andy Mulligan

The panel was a lot of fun, with some tricky questions and unexpected answers. Huge thanks to everyone involved, especially Ella and Arfred—it's always great (and valuable to us as writers) to hear young readers' opinions, especially their thoughts on books. 

Thanks also to Miss Turner and Miss Ryan for bringing the students to the library for the event; Karen Stephens for making it all happen; librarians Diane, Judi and Melanie, and Rickmansworth Library for being such welcoming hosts.

Finally, a special thank you to Melanie and the TRG (Teenage Reading Group) at the library who have been reading my novel Waiting for Gonzo and made these fantastic bookmarks. 

For more information, or to book The Edge for an event, please visit the Edge blog.