Friday, 5 December 2008

Christmas is coming...

and I'm finally getting a bit of time to do some writing. I've more or less finished with visits and meetings for this year. I really enjoyed the The Literlund Festival in Sweden. It was wonderful to be able to meet and talk to Swedish readers and to meet other writers from different countries. I also had a great time recently at Highgate School in London, who had organised a Gothic Day for their Year 8 students. Linda Newbery, Adele Geras and Sarah Singleton were also there, but I got to visit Highgate's famous West Cemetery (the setting for much of Blood Sinister) with my group of students. We had a guided tour, took lots of photographs, and then went back to the school to do some writing. My perfect workshop!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


In the next couple of weeks I will be at:

17th October, 2008
YLG Training Day - London

23rd & 24th October, 2008
LitteraLund Festival, Lund, Sweden.

25th October, 2008
Perth Festival - Perth Concert Hall & Perth Theatre
Perth, Scotland
Tickets from:

27th November, 2008

Gothic Day, Highgate School, Highgate, London

writing workshops, festivals and other things in between...

I've had a busy couple of weeks. First, at Ty Newydd in North Wales tutoring a course with Mary Hoffman . It was a great week, with really enthusiastic students, keen to know more about writing and hone their skills. We worked them pretty hard, but I think that they enjoyed themselves. If you want to write, then check out the courses at Ty Newydd or at one of the centres run by the Arvon Foundation . Marcus Sedgwick came along as our visiting author. It was great to see him and the students really enjoyed hearing about his next novel. When I go back from Ty Newydd, I did another writers' workshop for Warwick Words, but this time it was pretty local. The session was full of dedicated people, dedicated enough to tip up at 10:00 on a Sunday morning in the pouring rain. It was lovely to see some old friends there and nice to meet Claire who has her own blog and has already been in touch via mine, so somebody is reading this! Joe, the book that I was trying to remember was The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

On Saturday, 11th October, I was at the Cheltenham Festival - 'hi' to everyone who came along, especially the Bookwitch, who was there with her daughter and came up afterwards to have her book signed. She's one of the best of the book bloggers, who are getting to be quite a power in the land. You can find her at: .

I'm nearly at the end of quite a busy time, so now I'm going to try and get some writing done...

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Thought it was about time for an update. I've had a pretty busy summer. I spent the early part of it visiting schools, like Faringdon (see picture of keen readers), talking about my books, especially Sovay. I went on holiday to France for a week and spent another week at a writers' retreat at Charney Manor in Oxfordshire. I was supposed to be getting on with a new book, Illyria, but didn't get all that much done. I don't think that I'm very good at retreating - I enjoy other people's company too much.
I'm Chair of the Society of Authors' Children's Writers and Illustrators Group this year and we had our Conference at the end of August. That went very well, but it took a lot of organising. The hot topic was Age Ranging - whether it is right to put a suggested age on the back of books. Publishers are for it, but a lot of writers (as well as teachers and librarians) are against it, so feelings were running high. I had a bit of a break at the beginning of September, but I was at the Bath Festival last week, and this Monday I was at North London Collegiate School in Edgeware, the oldest girls' school in the country. I had a lovely time there and was especially honoured that their readers' group decided to have a Celia Rees Week later this term.
Tomorrow I'm off to the Saffron Walden Festival and then next week I'm at Ty Newydd in North Wales, acting as co-tutor with Mary Hoffman on a course for people who want to write for children and teenagers. Marcus Sedgwick is our guest writer. I've just finished his latest book The Kiss of Death (what a great title) about vampires in Venice (what's not to like?), so I'm looking forward to talking to him about that.
When I get back, I'm at the Warwick Words Festival on Sunday, 5th October, doing a Writing Workshop. After a whole week of it, I should be full of ideas. The next weekend, I'll be at the Cheltenham Festival. My event is on Saturday 11th October at 5:30, so if any of you want to come along, it will be great to see you there.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

book world's most useless blogger

I've been meaning to keep the blog up to date, but failing dismally. My excuse is that I've been travelling about for the last few weeks visiting schools, bookshops and libraries promoting Sovay. I was going to have a kind of roll call of where I've been and who I've met as I went along, but the list just kept getting longer and longer, and would have ended up looking like a telephone directory. Hence, the world's most useless blogger. Anyway, I'd like to say 'Hi' to everybody I've met in the last few weeks.

One other thing, I'm always astonished that people are brave enough to ask questions, I know I wouldn't have the courage, but if you had a question, and were too shy to ask it, here's the place.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Sovay - out next week!

Sovay is being published next week - which is very exciting. The launch is tomorrow and after that I will be out and about for a week or so promoting the book. I'm going to be in Norfolk at the Norfolk Children's Book Centre on Monday. I will be talking to pupils at Thorpe St Andrew High School and attending an evening event at the Aylsham Lodge Hotel. There is another school event on Tuesday, at Northgate High School, Dereham and then I'll be in Heffer's Book Shop, Cambridge, to meet girls from St Mary's School. I remember that they really liked Pirates! when that was published, so I'm hoping they will like Sovay, too.

I'm going to be at Kent College, Tunbridge Wells on Wednesday, then back to the Midlands for an evening event in Birmingham organised by the Federation of Children's Book Groups.

In between the events there are interviews and signings, so it will be a busy week. I'll let you know how I got on!

Monday, 5 May 2008

Sovay - advanced copies

Sovay is not officially published and in the shops until the beginning of June (although you can order in advance on Amazon), but I've just received my advanced copies, which is always a thrill. Very handsome it looks, too.

When I'm working on a book I keep a noticeboard on the wall in front of my desk and I pin up pix to do with the novel I'm writing. This is the noticeboard for Sovay. When I've finished, I take a photograph before clearing the board in preparation for the images I have been collecting for my next book. The noticeboard looks quite different now, but I thought you might like to see some of the images that inspired me while I was writing Sovay. You might also pick up some clues as to what the book is about!
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Saturday, 3 May 2008

Web site updates, Sovay and The Stone Testament

Sorry about the blog silence. I didn't quite get to grips with that part of my web site, but I hope to put that right now. I've been up dating my web site with the help of a friend of Rhiannon's, Mo Holkar, and between us we hope to keep you informed. We've been busy putting up info about my new book Sovay, which comes out at the beginning of June, and we hope to add some more to The Stone Testament area before the paperback comes out in July.

Other than that, I'm not doing too many visits at the moment as I'm busy writing a new book. I don’t want to say too much about that right now as it is early stages, but I'll tell you more as time goes on.