Monthly Archives: January 2010

To IBBY with love…

Last year I had a request from Nikki Gamble, who helps run the fabulous and informative Write Away website (, asking for a contribution towards the grand IBBY auction of 2012. IBBY (International Board for Books for Young People) was founded in Zurich in 1953 to ‘promote international understanding through children’s books.’ Well, I reckoned […]

Comments Off on To IBBY with love…

Filed under IBBY, Scattered Authors' Society, Uncategorized


After posting yesterday’s piece on  Miep Gries I’ve been thinking about bravery. I write about bravery a lot. Nika’s story, ‘What’s Ukrainian for Football’ is about bravery.  In it, Nika re-tells the true story of FC Start, a Ukrainian football team who, in 1942 occupied Kiev, bravely defied the order to lose to the German […]

Comments Off on Bravery

Filed under blogs, Uncategorized

Miep Gies (1909-2010)

I was delighted to read of the death yesterday of Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who helped to hide the Frank family and friends in a secret annexe during World War Two. I was delighted because she lived to be 100 years old; delighted because she had such a long and, I hope, fulfilling life.  […]

Comments Off on Miep Gies (1909-2010)

Filed under books

Winter draw(er)s on…

Are you sick of the snow yet?  No, me neither.

Comments Off on Winter draw(er)s on…

Filed under Uncategorized


As a writer, I am sometimes asked by journalists, publishers or bloggers to list my favourite things. Books, films, paintings and so on. I always find this difficult, if not impossible. How can I name one painting out of all the amazing works of art that exist, for example? Besides, my answer fluctuates from mood […]

Comments Off on Futility

Filed under blogs, poetry, Uncategorized

What’s wrong with this picture?

Guess how old this little girl is. Go on, guess. She’s two. TWO! She’s called Savanha and was posing for a children’s beauty pageant in Nashville, Tennessee.  I’m sorry but her parents should be taken outside and slapped hard. What were they thinking?  There’s no beauty in this. It goes way beyond dressing up and […]

Comments Off on What’s wrong with this picture?

Filed under Uncategorized

Winter Morning

Winter Morning Winter is the king of showmen, Turning tree stumps into snowmen And houses into birthday cakes And spreading sugar over lakes. Smooth and clean and frosty white, The world looks good enough to bite. That’s the season to be young, Catching snow flakes on your tongue poem by Ogden Nash taken from ‘Seeing […]

Comments Off on Winter Morning

Filed under Uncategorized

Public Lending Right (library books)

Accidental Friends at #1 23,241 UK writers are happy today.  That’s because their PLR (Public Lending Right) summaries have arrived, telling them how many of their books were borrowed from participating authorities in the past year. For every library book borrowed, a writer receives 6.29 pence unless it’s illustrated when they share a percentage with […]

Comments Off on Public Lending Right (library books)

Filed under Uncategorized

Which football teams do children’s writers support?

As you might have guessed by now, I support Huddersfield Town AFC, as does Patrick (Star Trek) Stewart and David (The Damned United) Peace. Michael Hardcastle MBE, one of the earliest children’s authors to write football stories, is also a Town fan. To be honest – and this is a daring revelation – it would […]

Comments Off on Which football teams do children’s writers support?

Filed under football

How to write a bestseller…

There was an interesting article in The Times 2 yesterday about how to write a bookclub bestseller. It was written by ‘the most powerful woman in publishing’ Amanda Ross, founder of the Richard and Judy bookclub. Here are her tips: 1. be original 2. don’t mention the war (too many war stories on the market) […]

Comments Off on How to write a bestseller…

Filed under books