Monthly Archives: May 2010

Everyone wants to be a writer…

the romance of writing During the Q and A session on a school visit last week, a teacher stuck her hand up. ‘I just wanted you to tell the children that, if they worked hard enough, they could all become writers one day, couldn’t they?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘they couldn’t.’ It wasn’t the response she […]

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The Singh Twins

I visited the National Portrait Gallery in London on Thursday. I am always grateful that places like this are free so that anyone, regardless of income, can enjoy them. Amrit and Rabindra Singh, known as the Singh twins, have an exhibition on there until June 20th. I hadn’t heard of the Singhs before but will […]

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Warning! Reading can put you off eating chicken

Two Caravans Fiction can do lots of things. It can inspire, enlighten, empower and stimulate us. It can make us laugh. It can make us cry. And it can put you off eating chicken. I don’t know whether Marina Lewycka’s intention when writing ‘Two Caravans’ her second novel after the hugely popular ‘A History of […]


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Birmingham Young Readers

No flights for my school visit this week. Instead, I had a straightforward train journey to Birmingham New Street. Here I was picked up by my librarian minder of the day, Debbie, and driven to Ladywood Library for the first session as part of Birmingham Libraries’ Young Readers Book Bash. The first class were a […]

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Kiev part 2: football

One of the main things I wanted to see in Kiev was the statue to the four Dynamo Kiev/FC Start players who were executed by the Nazis during WW2. Unfortunately my tour guide, Helen, had no knowledge of where it might be and the only photograph I had seen of it didn’t give a location. […]


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To say that the country of Ukraine has undergone many changes is an understatement. Its history has been defined by its geography, overshadowed as it is by its neighbours of Russia to the east, Germany and Poland to the west and the once mighty Turkish Empire to the south. However it was the Vikings who […]

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Pechersk School International, Kyiv

Pechersk School International Hello! Back safe and sound from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, where I was visiting pupils at Pechersk School International. I am still amazed that the visit went ahead as on the morning of our flight the volcanic ash cloud (fast becoming the train equivalent of leaves on the line) threatened to […]

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Kiev here I come… I hope

I am excited and not just because Huddersfield Town are in the play offs and my new book So What if I Hog The Ball? came out last week. I’m excited because on Sunday I fly to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, to meet the children of Pechersk School International. I’ll be talking about books […]

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We woz ‘ere! I spent the weekend in Exeter, Devon. Not because of a school visit which seems to be the only time I go anywhere interesting but because: a) I’ve never been b) Huddersfield Town were playing against Exeter City for the last match of the season c) It was my wedding anniversary so […]

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Alan Sillitoe 1928-2010

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning It was my first night in Northern Ireland and I was in my dimly lit hotel room feeling glum because no wifi meant that I couldn’t check my emails and the karaoke singer in the bar directly below my room was murdering ‘Suspicious Minds.’  Fed up, I switched on the […]

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