Category Archives: Reading

Birdy Jones is all alone

Of all the questions I get asked on school visits, there are several perennials: How old are you, Miss? How much do you earn, Miss? Do you know JK Rowling / Jacqueline Wilson / David Walliams / any other much … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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Want to write middle grade?

Want to know how to write middle grade fiction? Want to know what middle grade fiction is and why the bejaysus we keep stealing words from the Americans? Then join me (and Bloomsbury Publishing’s Writers and Artists Yearbook) in this 2.5 … Continue reading

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Everybody Hurts – a story of love (and ping pong)

It began, as so many great love stories do, with an argument. This time, however, there was no prom, or even eyes meeting across a bar; rather boy (Anthony McGowan) met girl (me) on Meg Rosoff’s blog, shouting about Jane … Continue reading

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Joe All Alone on CBBC

About three years ago, before Joe was even published, I got a phonecall from a TV producer who had got hold of the manuscript, read it in one sitting, and was determined to persuade CBBC to make it into a … Continue reading

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