Hans Andersen Author Award 2018

Here’s some truly wonderful news – I’m to be the IBBY UK nominee for the Hans Andersen Authr Award 2018, with the wonderful Jane Ray put forward for illustration. Many congratulatns to her – she must be feeling as pleased as I am.

The Andersen Award is the most prestigious  prize internationally in writing for young people, judged on the whole body of an auther’s work. I’ll be up against some of the very finest writers from around the world, but just to be nominated is a tremendous honour and I’m enormously flattered, delighted and proud. I shall be going round with a big smile on my face for a good while,

Wish me luck, I’m gonna need it!



Writing Retreat and Tutoring – Mexico!

Terrace-Rancho-Las-CascadasAfter a great residential last year, Lucy Christopher and I are at Rancho Los Cascades again this year, tutoring creative writing, riding the wonderful Rancho horses, sitting in the hot tub with a margarita, and generally having a good time. How about it? A  Mexico. Creative writing. Two tutors on hand – plus workshops. PLUS horse riding, if you want it, in this beautiful location, with its lakes, mountains and open plains.  PLUS a luxurious private room, day trips, all you can eat, all you can drink. PLUS yoga ….?


PaseoBlimey! I had such a good time last year – I’m looking forward so much to this one. The YA Writing Retreat runs October 14th – 21st, 2o17. Tutors are myself and the marvellous Lucy Christopher, and the retreat is at the fabulous Rancho Los Cascades, Mexico.



Las-Ventanas-Rancho-Las-Cascadas bedroomCOST will be $2175 all-inclusive for seven nights. I now – it’s a lot, but all group and individual writing tuition, guest lectures, all food and drink and all alcohol, luxury accommodation in a private room, airport transfers, and all horse-riding and yoga is all included in the price.


AS many of you will know, Lucy is the talented author of the flowers-320x200Killing Woods, Stolen and Flyaway. She’s also a great tutor, teaching at Bath Spa, the UK’s most prestigious course for Creative Writing. I’ve tutored with her many times at Arvon and I think we make a great team. :) Check Lucy out on Facebook and at her website here.


Last year we all had a fabulous time – day trips included an outing to the local market, a visit to the astonishing site of the Monarch butterfly migration, and to see the biggest pyramids in Mexico. Lastly, but not least, we all felt that the writers made great progress – I know at leat one person coming again this year.


See you there? – Cheers!Bebida-1






See you there … Only eleven places. Book early to avoid not going!


The YA Book Prize Award

Well, will you look at that! Junk is twenty years old this year and the YA Book Prize is marking the occasion with a special award. I’m so flattered and pleased!

You can read an interview with me and Charlotte Eyre from the Bookseller here.

Junk 20 yr

Here’s Junk, reissued by Andersen Press with an intro by Malorie Blackman and some extra material, from the letters to and fro-ing between myself and the editors, while it was actually being written. It was quite a struggle, as you can read. Interesting – I’d forgotten a lot of what went on at the time myself.

Many thanks to Andersen Press, and to Bookseller who sponsor the YA Book Prize.


Lovely review of me new book, Persist, from The Bookbag.

persist coverIt’s the story of Marianne, who lies in a comma and is just starting to regain her memory at the same time that the doctors, and even her mother, are beginning to give up hope. But although Marianne has memories, she doesn’t yet realise who it is who is doing the remembering. The doctors want to turn of her life support. Will she realise in time to save her life?

It’s a proper tear-jerker, this one. I’m a big fan of Barrington Stoker and it’s such a pleasure to do a book with them – my first since Old Bag, many years ago.


Arvon in May

I’m tutoring an Arvon Course in May at The Hurst, with the wonderful Lucy Christopher and there’s still some places AND grants towards the cost left.

There’s definitely a bit of magic about Arvon – it’s one week of talking, thinking, writing for children and YA, and it’s guaranteed to bring your writing on like nothing else can. I’ve seen so many people go on to publish, but at the very least it will help you move forward, meet some great people working or trying to work in the same area as you … and generally have a good time.

The Hurst is John Osbourne’s old house – a really beautiful old Georgian place that’s just been done up, in 25 acres of beautiful grounds. I just came back from a course for schools and it was full to bursting with snowdrops – really lovely!

As Osbourne said … “the best view in England.”

Young Adult Fiction at the Hurst

Writerly Quartet

At Huddersfield Uni last week with First Story North West, who do such great work getting writers into schools, and getting young people to produce wonderful compilations – one of the very few chances students get to work over a long period with writers, which shows in the work, incidentally …!

You can find out more about First Story here – and do get in touch if you’re in the North west and are interested.  Meanwhile, here’s a bit of Phone camera fun – myself with Ian McMillan, Lemn Sissay, who gave the keynote speech, and Andy McMilla – with Kevin Duffy, publisher at Bluemoose Books, lurking in the background. Nice day out!

writerly quartet


This was the first time I heard Lemn give one of his legendary presentations. Great stuff!