Events for adults

I offer talks, workshops or masterclasses on writing and publishing. Sessions can be designed to suit a specific group.

I can speak on:

  • My books
  • My writing career
  • Creative writing, or writing specifically for children – from introductory level for beginners to masterclasses for experienced writers
  • Publishing and editing, or the publishing industry


I also give masterclasses and workshops for:

The Golden Egg Academy

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

The Winchester Writers Festival


For more information, contact me here


Guest blogs I’ve written

View from my Desk

Written for Notes from the Slushpile

I’m often asked what I think of the ‘state of publishing’. It all depends on whose prism I’m peering through. More than ever publishing seems divided into the pessimistic and the optimistic – gloom and a mourning of lost times on the one hand, promise and widening opportunity – e-technology and the ease of linking with readers through social media – on the other.  Read more





Trust Your Subconscious

   Written for Words and Pictureswords-and-pictures-c

‘… The issue for us (writers) is not so much learning to tap into our subconscious, but keeping confidence in it; having the courage not to treat it as an unwanted intruder and try to shut it out, but give it nurturing space.’  read more


discoveries001-cA small girl playing caves found Ice Age paintings over 17,000 years old.


Radioactivity first revealed itself on a cloudy day in Paris – in a desk drawer.


Peering into rainwater puddles, a curious linen-draper discovered the invisible world of living creatures that surround us.


A feast of weird and wonderful facts about discoveries.

A Science Museum Book of Amazing Facts


Illustrated by Tim Archbold



[published by Hodder Children’s Books]


inventions003-cThe inventors of the first robot were put on trial for witchcraft.


The first electric light bulbs needed a health warning: ‘Do not try and light with a match.’


The first working television was made from a knitting needle, the lid of a hatbox, an electric fan motor, and torch batteries, all put together on top of an old tea-chest.

A feast of weird and wonderful facts about inventions …

A Science Museum Book of Amazing Facts


Illustrated by Ross Collins



[published by Hodder Children’s Books]


transport002-cThe first air passengers were a sheep, a duck and a cock, who sailed up in a hot air balloon, watched by the King of France.

An American inventor has designed a bike with 54 speeds, 5 computers, a security system, a speech synthesizer, and a telephone.

In 1838 the fast journey across the Atlantic (by steamship) took 15 days. Nowadays, planes can fly it in a few hours.


A feast of weird and wonderful facts about transport

A Science Museum Book of Amazing Facts

Illustrated by Tim Archbold



[published by Hodder Children’s Books]

Turtle’s Party in the Clouds



Turtle loves parties. She so wants to go the party in the clouds, but how can she get there without wings?

She has a very clever plan … but things don’t go quite the way she wants them …



Inspired by a traditional Brazilian folktale



Illustrated by Christine Jenny



some pages from the book




[published by HarperCollins: Collins Big Cat]

Greedy Anansi and his Three Cunning Plans


Crafty spider Anansi’s greed and cunning don’t always get him what he wants.


Inspired by three traditional tales told in several parts of Africa and the Caribbean.


Illustrated by Alexander Jansson




[published by HarperCollins: Collins Big Cat]

Down the Road to Jamie’s House


Annie wants to go to Jamie’s house

but Mum is feeding Ben – and feeding Ben

takes hours and hours

and days and days

and weeks and weeks

and months and months

and even all the year.


       Annie knows where Jamie’s house is.

And she knows she’ll be safe

wearing her explorer’s hat …

But …



Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds



A lovely story.’

Early Years Educator


‘The happy marriage that occurs when

authors and illustrators are perfectly matched.’

The Bookseller


some pages from the book


[Down the Road to Jamie’s House published by Hodder Children’s Books]


Suzi, Sam, George and Alice



Seven o’clock on Sunday morning. Parents just want to lie in bed and sleep …

But Suzi, Sam, George and Alice have other ideas about what THEY want to do …

Illustrated by Sally Gardener




Lots of funny things going on and a smart, bouncy text.

Books for Children


The stars of this story …

… were my real cats, who were really called George and Alice and my real children when they were small, who weren’t called Sam and Suzi. I borrowed those names from two of their friends. The story is based on real things that happened at home …

Alice was small, dainty and very bossy. She thought she was in charge. George was large, lazy and loved just sleeping in the middle of the chaos around him.


[Suzi, Sam, George and Alice published by The Bodley Head & Red Fox, Random House]


rift cover

In a vast African landscape four teenagers and a journalist vanish without trace from a camp below a steep rock ridge, ‘Chomlaya’.


Ella, the young sister of the journalist, helps Inspector Murothi piece together what’s happened as the search helicopters continue their constant hum over the rock ridge. But Ella and Murothi begin to wonder whether they are already too late …








What inspired RIFT?

Firstly, a memory …


‘It’s night-time; I’m stepping into a dark tent. The only light is the beam from my torch. My feet touch something warm, soft and sticky. Swing the torchbeam down. Something’s squelching over my sandals – wet, glistening. It takes a moment to recognise the innards of a decapitated snake spewed across the groundsheet. …

Read more

Secondly …



Fascination with the atmosphere of places. And with the search for human beginnings in Africa, skull-from-guidecropped-001-cwhere I grew up. I thought ‘what if people disappeared in peculiar, unexplained ways? What if it happened  in the place we think was the cradle of humankind?

Then there’s the raw wildness of mountains and plains, animals and birds … I imagined being lost there. Coming face to face with an elephant or rhino. Or a leopard …



Photos: © Nick Birch



[RIFT published by Egmont Press, audio by W.F. Howes, Film optioned by Hanthum Films]