Tag Archives: What’s Ukrainian for Football?

World Cup 2014

In case you missed it because you live on a desert island or you hate football (in which case, you might want to Google another writer but please come back after July 13th) – England kick off their World Cup campaign in Brazil tonight at 11.00 pm.  Meanwhile, publishers and book people have been going all out with World Cup 2014 […]

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James Riordan 1936-2012

I was sad to discover children’s writer James Riordan has died of a brain tumour. He was 76. Jim was a lovely guy. I met him at an author  party at Oxford University Press. I don’t know how we got chatting but I’m so glad we did. Beneath that debonair appearance was a down-to-earth bloke who liked a drink […]


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Deja Vu

Now that my blog entries are much easier to scroll down I’ve spent a few minutes re-reading earlier entries. I clicked on ‘May 2010’ to find out what I was doing this time last year and I was in Kiev visiting the Pechersk International School there. Wow!  All those memories came flooding back. First of […]

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Match of Death August 9th 1942

 On this day in 1942, FC Start played Flakelf at football in what became known as The Match of Death. FC Start, made up of players from Dynamo Kiev, were ordered by the Gestapo at half time not to beat the German side ‘or you will be shot.’. They disobeyed that order. After the match, […]

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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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Letter written by King George V as a child © Bodleian Library, Oxford OK, so we’ve got Facebook and Twitter and email and Youtube and txt (LOL) and telephones and four million other ways of communicating with each other but nothing beats receiving a letter. A real letter, in an envelope with a stamp, delivered […]

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Reads United take Padiham Town Hall by storm…

waiting for the best day of their lives to begin… The football season officially started on Friday March 12th when Reads United hit Padiham. Padiham, until then a sleepy town near Burnley in Lancashire, had never known such fuss since Owen Coyle announced he was to become manager of Bolton. As you can see, primary […]


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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 […]

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What’s Ukrainian for Football?

Nika This is the second Girls FC title being released this week and it’s the one that made my editors cry.  Now that’s an accolade!  I’m proud of this one, too. It’s my first novel using a real event from the past; in this instance a football match that became known as The Match of […]

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