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Podcast double- #DownTheRabbitHole & #WordMonkeys

Podcast double- #DownTheRabbitHole & #WordMonkeys

 This week I appeared on two podcasts: the Down the Rabbit Hole Radio Show and the WordMonkeys Podcast 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole Radio Show

Here’s me chatting to Polly Ho-Yen, and Katherine Woodfine and Mellissa Cox about three new books, each with a connection to poetry and spoken word: You Can Do Anything: Hip and Hop written by Akala, illustrated by Sav Akyuz Overheard in a Tower Block written by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kate Milner and Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence…

WordMonkeys Podcast 

Here’s me chatting to Matt Brown over on his WordMonkeys Podcast this week — discussing writing Cogheart, Postman Pat, Children’s TV shows, and how I get mistaken for another 72YO Peter Bunzl — and if you like that, there are lots of previous episodes featuring Matt’s writer chats with the likes of Piers Torday, Holly Bourne, Robin Stephens, SF Said etc.

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My Cogheart events with the PopUp Festival

My Cogheart events with the PopUp Festival

This year – on the 22nd of June, quite a long time ago now, but that’s how I roll with the blogging – I took part in the PopUp Festival

The Popup Festival is celebration of reading, writing and visual storytelling, taking place annually in 500 classes in schools from regions of the UK with the greatest literacy needs. Every participating class, from nursery to year 9, is matched with an exciting, engaging book, and provided with a set to work with over a period of six weeks. Then, over two weeks in June, each class meets the writer or illustrator of their book for a creative workshop.

Genius Cogheart comic – of the moment Lily and Robert first meet.

Thanks to PopUp and the organiser Saul, I was able to visit schools I might not ordinarily. The best thing about it was the kids in the classes had ALL read Cogheart, or had it read to them in class, and they were ALL engaged with it and excited to meet me. And because they had been so engaged with the book recently, their questions in the sessions were very unique and interesting.

The two schools I visited were Priorslee Academy and Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge in Telford and they were both fantastic sessions. The kids had made artwork and done projects around Cogheart which are always amazing to see, and had great questions – even about specific characters and events in the story – that they had prepared beforehand.  Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge School had even made some fabulous book trailers. Here are a few pictures from various student’s gorgeous work around the book…

There are some PopUp Resources for schools, featuring books from their other events here

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All aboard for the Moonlocket Book Tour!

All aboard for the Moonlocket Book Tour!

It has been a busy couple of months through May and June, talking about both Cogheart and now Moonlocket. I was intending to write a long blogpost about it all, but there just isn’t the time because I am supposed to be writing another book!!!! Cogheart number 3. More on that soon… But suffice to say, it has been a joy to travel about with my books and meet so many lovely readers at the various festivals, School Library Service Awards, and school events that I have been invited to over the past two months. Here are some pictures of all the various events, they say a picture tells a thousand words, which is lucky because I don’t really have the time to write a thousand word blog post…

Barnes Book Festival, and in the green room after my event with Kiran and Maz:

The Leeds Schools were so much fun, some great audiences:

Leeds Book Awards, congratulation to Fleur Hitchcock the winner for Murder in Mid-winter:

Visiting the famous Leeds Library, the insides of the building have some fantastic Victorian features:

Greenwich Book Festival, we tried to trick everyone by sitting under the wrong books:

Visiting West Thornton Primary in Croydon with Pea Green Boat Books – they had the MOST cake ever at a book event:

Hillingdon Book of the year, where I saw a play of my book performed :

Waterstones High Street Kensington event Middle Grade Magic, talking with MG Leonard, Lara Williamson and Maz Evans:

North East Book Awards, they made us runners up book themed chocolates, congratulations to the Winner Katherine Rundell for Wolfwilder:

I had a lovely visit with Tollgate community school in Eastbourne, thanks to the fantastic organising of their Teaching Assistant and librarian Jeff Doak. They even did some hilarious dabbing robot poses during my robot quiz!

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Finally there was Redbridge Children’s Book Award, where once again there was an abundance of cake! Excited readers and great questions! Congratulations to Christopher Edge who won for The Many Worlds of Albie Bright. I think it all went to his head by the end, because you can see him attacking Kathryn Evans with his award…

Cogheart and The Girl of Ink and Stars at Hay Festival

Cogheart and The Girl of Ink and Stars at Hay Festival

Doing a joint event at Hay festival on the 2nd of June with Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of Girl of Ink and Stars was definitely one of the highlights of my year. The night I arrive, I went out for cocktails with Kiran and her husband and we talk about books. The next day we discover our event has sold out, and we have been moved to a bigger venue; the starlight tent with a star-studded ceiling! It seems appropriate for Kiran’s book and a little for mine.

Afterwards I get to hang out at the festival. I saw some inspirational talks, bumped into loads of lovely MG and YA writers I know, Jo Cotterill, Abi Longstaff, Sarah Crossan, Lisa Heathfield and Juno Dawson, and witnessed Patrice Lawrence winning the YA bookprize for the awesome Orangeboy. Then, the next day I wandered round the intriguing bookshops in town – there are at least 30, goodness knows how they all keep going – and I bought far too many books! It was a fabulous couple of days.

Here we are at the HAY30 sign before our event:

Hanging out in the green room with Jo Cotterill and Patrice with her award:

The main event, Girl of Ink and Stars and Cogheart:

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Book Shops galore:

 

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Cogheart Letters and Artwork

Cogheart Letters and Artwork

One of the best things about being an author is when children write to you about your books, or send you drawings of the characters.  The other week I received a whole batch of amazing letters and art from St Mary the Mount RC Primary School telling me how much they enjoyed Cogheart. They had each done some drawings and written a fact sheet about mechanicals for one of their school projects. You can see some of them here, there’s a lovely drawing of Mrs Rust which I think is my favourite! And I even learnt some interesting facts about mechanicals from them… For example, did you know you can apparently cut a mechanical in half and both halves will go on living!! A bit like the Terminator! Also that some mechanicals and mechanimals run away from their owners because they are unhappy, but then they go rusty and run down and stop working. Thanks to all the pupils at St Mary the Mount for your lovely letters and inspirational drawings and thoughts on mechanicals. I hope you got my reply?

Moonlocket interview on Funkids Radio

Moonlocket interview on Funkids Radio

In case you missed it when it went out live a couple of weeks ago, here is a listen again version of the Funkids Radio interview with afternoon Funkids club DJ Bex. We chat about Moonlocket and the greatest bits about being an author, and I answer some of the listener’s burning questions about Cogheart!

Funkids Moonlocket interview…

And here’s the original chat we had last year about Cogheart…

Moonlocket launch week

Moonlocket launch week

It has been just over a week since Moonlocket’s official launch party on Tuesday the 2nd of May at Waterstones Islington.  It was lovely to see so many friends, fellow authors, librarians, family, and folks from Usborne, especially my editor Rebecca and my agent Jo, and MOST especially the kids of friends who loved the first book and all came along to celebrate the launch of the sequel. Here are some pictures from the evening, that lots of kind people who were there have sent me. ( I was far too excited to remember to take pictures as well!)

Then on Thursday I went on a whistlestop signing tour of bookshops round London with Stevie from Usborne. The highlight of the day was visiting Richmonds Indie Children’s Bookshop Alligators Mouth for the first time, such a cool little shop. I wish I lived in Richmond I would be in there all the time!

On Friday I did two talks at Kingham school in Oxfordshire – where all the Year Fours had made an incredible mural of Cogheart and designed their own mechanicals and mechanimals and airships. They had great questions about the book too, which they had been studying with their lovely form teacher Elizabeth Mahooney. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos but I hope they send me some because their artwork was absolutely stunning!

On Monday I did a joint event with Kiran Millwood Hargraves talking to Year Nines from Swakeley School at Oak Farm Library in Hillingdon. I managed to get them to do a bit of deportment, which is always fun. Then i got to hear all about how Kiran researches and writes her books for the first time, very interesting.

Win afternoon tea & writing advice from me with Authorfy

Win afternoon tea & writing advice from me with Authorfy

Win afternoon tea & writing advice from me. Over on the authorfy site here:  

The prize also includes 5 signed copies of ‘Moonlocket’ for your school library and 5 signed copies for you and your friends!

Rules of Entry: 
– This competition is open to the public
– The deadline for entries is 31st May 2017
– We will announce the winner on 9th June 2017 and contact via the given email address
– A parent or guardian must enter on a child’s behalf
– The afternoon tea will last approximately 90 minutes – 2 hours, with the chance to discuss what it’s like to be an author with Peter Bunzl, ask questions, and get writing tips and advice.
– Please note, the afternoon tea will take place during the summer holidays, on a mutually convenient date, which will be arranged once the winner has been announced.
– The afternoon tea will take place in a venue in SW London. Travel expenses and accommodation are the responsibility of the parents and will not be covered / reimbursed by Authorfy. We ask that a parent travels to the venue with the winners.
– Two members of the Authorfy team will attend the event with the winner and 4 friends. Both team members hold valid a DBS, First Aid and Safeguarding certificates.
– This competition is only open to UK residents
– Any allergies or dietary requirements will be accommodated
– Please note: no upload is required for this competition

Authorfy is a new platform that aims to developed exciting and original videos in which children’s authors share their unique approach to creative writing and pass on their love for literacy. Their corresponding learning resources have been produced to inspire students to engage with the authors’ style of writing, and through the platform they are giving students the chance to have their work read and reviewed by the authors themselves! 

Authorfy; where creativity comes to life.

Cogheart Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award

Cogheart Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award

I am delighted to announce that Cogheart has been shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award, an annual award for the author of an outstanding debut children’s novel.

The award is unique in also honouring the editor of the shortlisted books for identifying and nurturing new talent – which in Cogheart’s case is Usborne’s Fiction Director Rebecca Hill.

The Branford Boase Award is in its 17th year and previous winners include Frances Hardinge and Meg Rosoff.

The winner will be announced on 5th July. Frances Hardinge will present the winner with a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor will receive a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.

Cogheart has been shortlisted for nine awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017.

View the full shortlist and find out more

It’s Moonlocket publication day!

I an over the moon today because it’s  publication day!

To celebrate here’s a glimpse of some upcoming tour highlights. I am looking forward to appearing at all of these fabulous festivals & chatting with these awesome author. For more information, please check out the calendar page, which has links and info to book tickets for these various events….