A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, for publishers including Bloomsbury, OUP and Little Brown; speeches for CEOs and politicians from the Trade Secretary to the Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority; and articles for newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I hold a doctorate in adolescent identity and YA literature, and am a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol.
I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award, the Telegraph Sports Book of the Year, the Hearst Big Book Awards, and Queen of Teen among many others, and twice nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal: for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC drama series. I’ve also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series, and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name.
I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.