Goodbye 2009

National Football Museum Preston

National Football Museum Preston

‘The Old Year’s gone away

To nothingness and night’

– John Clare

It’s been a busy one. My writing highlights include:

1. Having the first 6 books in the GIRLS FC series published by Walker Books. Being particularly proud of ‘What’s Ukrainian for Football?’

2. Launching the series at the National Football Museum, Preston, in August.

3. Accidental Friends being shortlisted for three awards and losing out to Theresa Breslin by 1 vote at the Catalyst Book Award.

4. Meeting Tom Palmer ( and setting up ‘Reads United’ with him in time for the 2010 World Cup

5. Being invited to join the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG) Committee. I join Gillian Cross, Steve Barlow, Roz Asquith, Anne Cassidy, Am Vrombaut, Michaela Morgan, Bali Rai and Jeremy Strong to debate topical issues concerning children’s writers and illustrators.

6. Attending the Ultimate Book Guide Launch at the Groucho Club and meeting people like Cathy Hopkins and Jan Pienkowski.

7. ‘Doing’ not only the Oxford, Northern and Cheltenham book festivals but also all the school visits up and down the country.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the universe…

2009 will be remembered for Barack Obama becoming President of the USA, Swine Flu, Credit Crunch/Recession/Banks going bankrupt/MPs claiming for bath plugs, moat cleaning, duck houses and certain videos/ England Women’s football team getting to the Final of EURO2009, Tiger Woods digging a hole in one/ Ryan Giggs rightly being awarded Sports Personality of the Year/ my mum surviving not one, not two, not three but four operations in one week. That’s tough Yorkshire women for you.

But it was goodbye to:

Borders bookshops

Keith Waterhouse (journalist, playwright, Leeds lad made good)

Frank McCourt (writer of Angela’s Ashes, the best misery memoir ever)

Sir Bobby Robson (footballer and football manager, legend)

Michael Jackson (though I haven’t liked anything he did since Man in the Mirror, to be honest)

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