All About Andrew Clover
Andrew Clover is currently releasing and promoting a series of funny, big-hearted detective stories, directed at KS2 readers, though he’s travelled round the world, working with children from the ages of 3 up to 18. He’s best known to grown ups for his funny Dad Rules column in the Sunday Times Style magazine, and to children for playing the leading role in My Almost Famous Family on CBBC.
Andrew Clover has always been one of our most popular acts (he’s an excellent performer – a Perrier-nominated comic, and the star of numerous TV shows). Now he’s set to be a big name in MG fiction, since Harper Collins outbid Penguin to offer a seven book deal, for the funny, heart-warming adventures of Rory Branagan (Detective) – about an imaginative boy, who solves crimes in schools, with the help of his clever / mysterious friend, Cassidy ‘The Cat’ Callaghan. It’s a Harper Collins lead title, TV rights just went, and translation rights are selling fast across the world.
Andrew’s School Visits
With the first Rory Branagan out in April 2018, Andrew has now vowed to become our cheapest act, because he wants to be out exciting and inspiring people. From April 2018, he’s offering…
THE SEVEN SECRETS OF STORYTELLING – a funny-but-educational lecture in which Clover distils into 60 minutes everything he’s learned about characters / verbs / nouns / adjectives / locations / drama / plots and how to get ideas. His strategy is do impressions of giraffes / monkeys / Iggle-Piggle, to get the children energised and laughing. Once they’re hooked, he changes tone – (and it’s a sight to behold how Clover can quieten a riotous room, his trick is to tell the children he’ll teach them to be psychic) – and he leads children through their own visualisation, as they develop their own stories, featuring mentors, allies, journeys, transformations – all the features of the classic plot, that Clover has been teaching. After that he leads a mass sharing. Children stick up their hands, and say things like: ‘On my door, I saw a HUGE SPIDER LEG!’ ‘On my door, I saw YOUR FACE!’ ‘WHAT???!!!’ So the event finishes with a lot of laughter, and the children feel boosted that their inventions have amused the crowd. You can see why the formula has been so successful… Children often report it’s the most fun they’ve had in school. They’re then eager to get away, so they can write down what they saw.
Clover is versatile, and has invented all manner of different shows, to suit the needs of each school, but his favourite formula is to…
– perform The Seven Secrets to the whole school. (Sometimes schools say: ‘We don’t think Year 1 can sit that long’. But Andrew finds kids listen fine, if you can do a good Iggle-Piggle impression, and if you can do one where he’s attached a motor to his boat, they roar).
– After that, he’s available for workshops or classroom visits. Typically he’ll teach simile / metaphor / poetic language to KS2, and adverbs / adjectives / nouns to KS1. (He’s on a mission to make Grammar fun).
– His absolute favourite is when the school devote a day to this, so that, when Andrew’s not with the children, they are writing themselves.
– The day can then finish with Andrew performing one of his stories to the school (typically about 50 minutes) after which he can read out a few excerpts of the children’s own writing, and give prizes for the best ones.
Colin Hitchin is 14. He’s only five foot, and his IQ is off the scale. People already think he’s a freak. And now he’s seeing ghosts. And he’s hearing pigeons talking. And he sees his best friend attacked by fiends. And the only person who believes is his mad Uncle Jimmy…
“A cross between Catcher In The Rye and Northern Lights”, The Sunday Times.
“Inspired… My only problem is I didn’t write it myself,” GP Taylor
Book of the Year. “An inspiring tale of teenage redemption” *****, The Book Bag.
Andrew has written several cartoons for children, including the BAFTA nominated Heavy Pockets. He has written a teen novel called Dirty Angels about a psychic boy who sees angels flying over the city (“An uplifting study of teenage redemption” 5 stars, the Book Bag). Recently he’s been writing a detective story for primary schoolchildren and he’s been performing in schools, theatres and festivals. “Clover is hugely likeable with an infectious enthusiasm for conceiving and delivering stories’ (The List)”
Andrew recently played the lead regular role of Gary in My Almost Famous Family (CBBC). Andrew also recently appeared in a guest role in Off The Hook for BBC 3 and BBC Switch and also shot the new comedy pilot THE 370
Rory Branagan Detective
It all came from a school visit. Andrew was teaching Secret 3 (make things as hard as possible for your hero) when behind him, a dinner lady peered out from the kitchen, and the children laughed. ‘It looks as if she doesn’t like me,’ he quipped, and they laughed more. The whole school improvised a fantasy of the dinner lady chasing Andrew through the school (they were shouting out adverbs – ‘angrily’ ‘speedily’) and they went to the scariest location in the school (adjectives, nouns) where there was one heck of a climax (which involved some verbs – eg ‘squelched’ – and some more that can’t be repeated). The children loved it. So did the dinner lady, who came out, at the end, and got a riotous round of applause.
This became the pilot story: Rory Branagan and the Deadly Dinner Lady.
This was then illustrated by Ralph Lazar, the US-based illustrator. The concept was developed with Paul McKenzie, the TV producer who’s developed so many TV hits – Hetty Feather, Sadie J, Dani’s Castle, The Lodge – who developed this pitch…
Rory has a brilliant life, except for one thing: no one tells him anything. And he most wants to know the thing that people most want to cover up: why did his dad disappear when he was three? But then one day a most exciting, clever, charismatic girl moves in next door. She suggests Rory should become a detective, and he must find out…
One reason Rory Branagan is so popular is its appear is so broad. Young boys love the books, because every page is illustrated, so they’re an easy read. Older boys love them too, because though illustrated, they’re not childish. They all love to hear about a hero who is bold, brave, curious, and who loves adventure (unlike all those wimpy heroes out there!) And girls love to hear about a world where, secretly, it’s the clever girl who’s running everything. And teachers love the series, because they’re well written, and very positive (the friends are resourceful, stick together, and are determined to learn). Plus, they manage to smuggle in a surprising amount of teaching. (Book 3 contains a rap which teaches apostrophes – ‘Cats means lots of cats; cat’s means belonging to the cat…’)
The series came out of a school, so it makes sense to discuss it in one. Andrew’s dates are going fast. Book him quick!
Reviews and Recommendations
“The kids loved all Andrew’s impressions and his comedy. But what set him apart was his heart. So giving!” Mr Pugh, Wandsworth School
“Just to say a huge thank you for today. I know my class were really inspired and had a fantastic time.” Hazel Meckler, Barton Primary School, Isle of Wight.
“I am writing to thank you for a fabulous ‘able writers’ day last week. The children came back full of brilliant ideas and absolutely loved their day with you. Their feedback has been a real inspiration for the rest of the class! My head teacher, Mark Snow, has asked me to contact you directly regarding a conversation he had with you about visiting our school for the day…” Cowes Primary School
“Right from our key leaders up to every student present in your presentation, all of them are going gaga about your unique way of getting the audience actively involved in what you had to convey to them. So, a mighty thank you for your visit.” Pranjala, Head of Apple International School, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
“What an absolute delight it was to meet you on Monday! Your flamboyant energy was an inspiration and you were a marvellous tonic for all those who attended the session. We were so proud of the brilliant writing produced by the children-and indeed, by the writing we ourselves managed to do. I am currently in the process of gathering up all the pieces produced by each school and hope to bind them into a document as a record of a truly successful day.” Jacinta Read, St Mary’s CE Primary School, Gillingham
“I’d like to take all the stars other acts have thrown away, and give them to Andrew Clover for his talent and generosity, his intelligence and humour…” 5 stars Scotsman
“Andrew was a great success – inspirational and full of energy and passion. His heart is in the right place and he has a lot to give the children. He enthused the children, made them laugh, and my class loved his writing workshop. His acting is fantastic – a real strength in his performance. His faces, voices and impersonations were superb. But best of all, Andrew is a lovely guy -open, friendly and great! We’d definitely have him back!” Ed Pugh, All Farthing Primary School, Wandsworth
“This morning my literacy lesson was led by Rebecca and Emma who were mimicking you from attending your storytelling session yesterday. The rest of the class enjoyed every moment and what an impact you had for them to have remembered so much. Thank you for a fantastic afternoon. I spoke to the Head this morning about how fantastic you were and that we should get you back. How lucky your loved ones are to share their lives with such an amazing person. Oh and your comment in the book was very touching. As teachers we are regularly criticised and rarely praised.” Palvi Raval, Oxford Community School
“Thank you so much for providing such marvellous entertainment. The kids thought that you were wonderful.” Jenny and Sandy at Ashford School Library
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Andrew Clover, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org