Category Archives: Blog

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 … Continue reading

Posted in 1970s, 1980s, Blog, creative writing, Fiction, women's fiction, YA | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s One I Made Earlier

As a child, I was a ‘keener’. A ‘swot’. A ‘geek’. Way before geeks were chic or had rows with nerds over which was which. And yet my ambition – to somehow be Queen of Facts, and win many spectacular … Continue reading

Posted in 1980s, Blog, creative writing, Fiction, Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

(Pigeon) seeds of a story

It began with a name, as it so often does for me: The Audacious Birdy Jones. But who she was, what she looked like, what her story was were blurry and inchoate, still lost somewhere in the soup of story … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, creative writing, Fiction, middle grade, Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CBBC’s Joe All Alone and the truth about child poverty

Joe All Alone is a book (and, now, BBC TV series) about friendship. It’s a book about family, and what constitutes that today. It’s a book about bullying. It’s a book about difference and acceptance. But beneath all that, it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Fiction, middle grade, Teen, Uncategorized, YA | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A face for radio

Many years ago, when I still thought I’d lead a glamorous life in the meejah, I read radio news for a living. And it’s a medium I adore – the focus on words, the invisibility of it, so that, when … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Queen of Bloody Everything (including the Indy’s and Red’s Top 10)

I know the rule: don’t read reviews, good or bad. That way you don’t risk heartbreak, or ranting mintily on Twitter. But that way you don’t get the ridiculous overexcitement that comes with this: making both Red magazine’s and the … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Joe in the post

In the run-up to Christmas, opening the post is always accompanied by a little frisson of anticipation, invariably dampened when I find it is only catalogues or credit statements or a card from someone I have never met addressed to … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, middle grade, Reading, Teen, YA | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Carnegie Feeling

I have never been one of life’s winners when it comes to sport, barely even scraping third in the 1979 St Mary’s Primary sports day yoghurt-pot-and-umbrella race (actual race, involving running wildly around the field with an empty Ski pot … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, YA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

First lines and first chapters

Find out how writers from David Almond to Frank Cottrell Boyce to Sue Townsend have grabbed their readers from the off, and kept them turning pages long into the night. And have a go at writing your own first page … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, creative writing, Events, middle grade, Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay gold, Ponyboy

There’s something almost alchemical about the moment a hard copy of your book is finally pressed into your hot hands. A strange kind of magic that has turned the base material – people and plot and places – that has … Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Fiction, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment