The Best Class in the World… sends letters

There’s something special about getting a letter. There’s something really especially special about getting a letter that says something fancy about you or something you’ve done. There’s something super duper special about 23 letters all saying something fancy and drawing highly accurate and hilarious pictures too.

Because here’s the thing – writing a book is fun, and seeing it on the shelf in a shop is funnerer, but hearing from someone who actually got that book off the shelf, paid with it with (possibly someone’s else’s) money, and then went home and read it and laughed until they were nearly sick, well, that’s the absolute bee’s knees about this business. So if you do like what you’re reading, and you have the time, and possibly drawing skills as top notch as these (which almost rival Rikin’s), please do get in touch. You can email me at joannanadinauthor@gmail.com or get your grown-ups to tweet me (@joannanadin). Or even better, send me a letter, just like Red Class…

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Sense and Sensibility (with bells on)

Firstly, a confession: until I came to be offered the opportunity to rewrite Sense and Sensibility, the closest I had come to Jane Austen was TV reruns of Mr Darcy emerging wet from a lake, and a reluctant trudge around her house with an obsessive friend. Not even my grandmother’s entreaties to the 13-year-old bookworm me that ‘it’s feminist, it’s funny’ could persuade me away from my pony novels and into the pages populated by the Bennets, the Elliots, the Dashwoods. ‘Too old-fashioned,’ I am sure I whined. ‘Too uncool,’ I am sure I thought.

Well, it may have taken more than three decades, but I quickly realised the folly of my own pride and prejudice, and have now eaten my ill-chosen words, for Austen is modern and relevant, as well as being funny and, yes, feminist. Though the world she paints is markedly different to our own, the heroines of Sense and Sensibility, Marianne and Elinor, are recognisable and endearing. We root for them in their endurance of the customs of the time, and in their pursuit by various men; we boo as Willoughby snubs the impassioned Marianne, and cheer as patient Elinor gets her Edward. There is something to learn here, about the predicament of women in the late Regency period, but more importantly, much to love. I hope you fall as hard for Jane Austen as I have done. Because there are many more treasures to read after this one.

Buy the book here

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Welcome to 4b: The Worst Class in the World

Worst Class in the World coverSchools might be closed for most of us, but for one long-suffering teacher, Mr Nidgett, the classroom is packed with shenanigans. That’s because he’s in charge of 4b, who are LITERALLY The Worst Class in the World, at least according to headmistress Mrs Bottomley-Blunt (who makes a noise like a horse when she is annoyed, which is a lot).

Worst of all (in her eyes) are our heroes Stanley Bradshaw, who is fond of footling, fiddle-faddling and shilly-shallying, and not too fond of work, and his best friend Manjit Morris, who wants to be the first human boy to swim faster than a shark, as well as the first human boy to do a lot of not very possible things. The thing is, Stanley doesn’t think they’re the worst class in the world. Manjit doesn’t think they’re the world class in the world. I don’t think they’re the worst class in the world. They’re just having fun. Something we all like to do.

The first in the brand new series is out today, with two madcap adventures in each book including the smelly death log, ghost pigeons, a hamster skeleton, and plenty of sick.

You can buy the book here, and watch me chat about it on Youtube here.

And if you want to let me know what you think about it, you can email me at joannanadinauthor@gmail.com

  • A Summer Reading Challenge 2020 pick

‘More fun than a barrel of monkeys! A hilarious and hapless cast who I hope to see a lot more of. Perfect for youngsters to read again and again.’  (Claire Barker, author of the Knitbone Pepper series)

‘A modern Bash Street Kids, only with heaps more ha-ha, and lot more heart, this is guaranteed to make you LOL in class. For a little book, it makes a big impression.’ (Snort)

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The BEST (Deputy) Headteacher in the World

In memory of Mr PettWhenever I write a new book, I get the luxury of choosing who to dedicate it to. My child, of course (several times, as she has a habit of checking), my friend’s children, and my friends as well. But when I finished writing The Worst Class in the World, I had someone different in mind to thank. Someone who reminded me of both lead teachers in the book – the fearsome Mrs Bottomley-Blunt, who thunders down corridors in pursuit of foolish children, and the loveable Mr Nidgett, who secretly believes his class are the best of all.

You see, when I was at school, eighty bazillion years ago (yes, there were dinosaurs), our world was ruled not by our headmaster, Mr Cousins, who was so invisible we weren’t actually sure he existed, but by his deputy, Mr Pett.

Mr Pett was very much visible. He would appear from behind lockers, around corners, as if from nowhere on the school field to make sure you weren’t footling, shilly-shallying, or generally doing anything stupid. We lived in fear of his roar: ‘You, girl!’ But here’s the thing: we also adored him. He couldn’t resist a joke, at his or our expense, and he took great pride in helping those of us who needed a little extra push to reach our potential. Mr Pett

Very sadly, Mr Pett died not long ago, to an outpouring of memories from his former students. I like to think he’d be proud of me now (and be satisfied he was right in giving me that detention). I hope he can see how appreciated he was with a whole book dedicated to him, and his best moments inspiring a whole series.

The Worst Class in the World is out tomorrow, May 14th 2020. Dedicated in memory of Nigel (Nick) Pett. January 13th 2019.

 

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A Penny (Dreadful) a day…

Isn’t the world weird? The prospect of being holed up in our homes is daunting, especially for those of us with kids. Mine’s grown now, but many years ago, she was a menace, who would have destroyed the house in a matter of days with her shenanigans and tomfoolery. In fact, she was so small and sneaky, I wrote a whole book series about her and her friends. And to entertain you and your smalls, I’ll be reading a story a day from the seven-books series, from Monday, for the next however long it takes.

Click here to go to the Youtube channel

And click here to buy the book

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‘Hull, Nadin!’

Let us set aside for a moment that the University of Hull’s barrel of ‘notable alumni’ was small to start with, and is now very much scraped, and appreciate that I have wanted to do this for more years than I care to remember. Piffle to the Emmy nomination, this is me living the literal dream.

And you can watch me not make too much of a tit of myself on Boxing Day at 20.30 on BBC2. *presses buzzer* Hull, Nadin!

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And another one…

2020-2021 is a busy book year for me, but this one is a biggie. Second adult novel, set in Essex in 1981 and featuring Grifter bikes, Charles and Di, Panda Pops, a Welsh Elvis impersonator, a fake Marc Bolan, and the failed socialist dream of the new town.

From the back cover…

Connie always had big dreams, but they’ve never quite panned out, so somehow, instead of Mick Jagger and a Paris flat, she’s ended up with an Elvis-impersonating boyfriend, a two-up two-down in Leeds and a day job on the checkout at Morrisons. Apart from her beloved daughter Sadie, it’s not much to show for nearly thirty years on the planet.

Jean hasn’t seen her good-for-nothing daughter Connie since she ran away from home to make a name for herself aged seventeen and pregnant, but in the wake of the Royal Wedding, Jean gets a life-changing call: could she please come and collect the granddaughter she’s never met?

For Sadie, eleven, home has always been a movable feast but, when the unthinkable happens, she’s sent to Essex to live with grandparents she didn’t know existed. After an attempt to track down her father fails, she begins to realize that so-called Pram Town might be her most permanent home yet.

We all know how Charles and Di turned out, and Jean and Sadie are hardly a match made in heaven – but is there hope of a happy ending for them?

Written in Joanna Nadin’s trademark dazzling prose, The Talk of Pram Town tells the story of three generations of Earnshaws, the secrets that shaped their decisions, and how, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got . . .

Out in April 2021, but you can pre-order here.

 

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All cheer for Alan

Every so often, a commission gets you thinking. And thinking. And thinking some more. But learning binary? Caesar shifts? How to operate an Enigma machine?

This biography of Alan Turing was one of my biggest challenges and delights to write – being able to test my head for maths, and honour one of the world’s greatest heroes. It’s out in January, but you can pre-order here, and look out for the other titles in the series too.

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Head in all the books

I read a lot. A LOT. About sixty so far this year though it feels more like eleventy billion. Some for work, some for pleasure, some for both.  Some I’ve put down after two pages because CLUNKY. Some because the voice doesn’t ring true. Some just, well, meh. But, in case you need some summer recs, these are the ones that have, for various reasons, stuck; whose worlds have lived on long after the last page was turned. In no order, and with a pathetic effort at reviewing:

 

The Lesser Bohemians – Eimear McBride

Astonishing language and rhythm and passion, and a spot-on recreation of early 90s Camden.

Gorsky – Vesna Goldsworthy

Gatsby as a Russian oligarch. That is all you need to know.

Toffee – Sarah Crossan

The latest from the high priestess of YA verse.

Things in Jars – Jess Kidd

Sarah Waters meets the Grant Museum on crack.

The Gifted, The Talented, and Me – William Sutcliffe

Note perfect (and painful) portrait of a teen boy forced into ‘creative’ education who talks to his penis. Hilarious.

Little – Edward Carey

Madame Tussaud’s childhood fictionalised. A cabinet of wonder.

The Age of Light – Whitney Scharer

Paris, Lee Miller, dresses. Glorious.

Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Imagine Fleetwood Mac dishing everything.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

This woman can do no writing wrong. Hollywood from the 50s to present day.

Normal People – Sally Rooney

Believe the hype.

Peach – Emma Glass

Difficult and mesmerising.

Another Planet – Tracey Thorn

Herts suburbs in the 70s and 80s. Shimmering orange Kodak snapshots and wise insight.

Lethal White – Robert Galbraith

Because Cormoran.

To Throw Away Unopened – Viv Albertine

Gobsmacking memoir.

 

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Book Group Questions for Queen of Bloody Everything

In the space of two hours I have had LITERALLY two emails asking if there are any book group questions for The Queen of Bloody Everything. There aren’t. Or there weren’t. Until now. Because I just thunk some up.

SPOILER ALERT: do not read until you’ve read the book or you will be minty.

 

 

– What makes a ‘good mother’ and how do Angela and Edie rank?

– Why does Dido go back to Jimmy and stay so long?

– Why doesn’t Dido ever seek out her father, or extended family?

– Who do you think Dido’s father might be?

– Should Edie have taken Harry for the abortion?

– Could you forgive Edie?

– Was Dido right to hold out for Tom for so long?

– Do you think Edie dies or survives?

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