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Griselda Heppel
Griselda Heppel

All About Griselda Heppel

Griselda Heppel’s first book, Ante’s Inferno, won the Children’s People’s Book Prize 2012/13 and a Silver Award in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards 2012.

Griselda grew up in England and Germany. She read English at Cambridge and worked at the Unicorn Children’s Theatre and the BBC before moving to publishing. As her children grew up, she took up writing, specialising in creating children’s versions of great classics that are rarely adapted for young people.

Dante’s Inferno inspired Ante’s Inferno (Matador, 2012), in which 12 year-old Ante (Antonia) finds herself on a dark journey through the classical Underworld in order to solve a 100 year-old murder mystery. The Legend of Doctor Faustus lies behind her second book, The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst. Elizabethan magic, demons and historical mystery interweave in the everyday life of 13 year-old school geek, Henry Fowst, who, needing a solution to his problems, stumbles one day across a sixteenth century diary. Inside it, some weird instructions on how to summon a ‘Kind Spirit’ to his aid give him an idea…


Griselda’s School Visits

Griselda gives illustrated talks to years 5 – 8 on the themes behind her books, using images projected on a screen by some of the world’s great painters and illustrators to give the children a taster of Dante, classical myth and the First World War (Ante’s Inferno), or Elizabethan magic and the Faust legend (The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst).  She involves the students all the way through, giving tips on how to create characters, structure a plot and write realistic dialogue and this, combined with time allowed for questions and discussion afterwards, brings the whole session to around 1 ¼ hours.

Griselda will talk to any number of children, ranging from a few at a time to whole year groups. Most of her visits have been in Oxford and London but she is happy to go further afield.

Since 2013, Ante’s Inferno has been adopted by Pegasus Primary School, Oxford, for their Year 6 Reading groups. The pupils enjoy the adventure story while discussing aspects of bullying, self-esteem and empowerment crucial to the plot – issues also tackled by the Family Links Nurturing Programme

PegasusSchool Visits


To share the creative process, showing how the great classical myths can inspire you to weave together your own ideas and emotional experiences and come up with a totally new and exciting adventure story.

To broaden the children’s literary/cultural experience, using subjects they’ll have some knowledge of (classical mythology) to lead them to ones they are less likely to be familiar with – Dante and Virgil, artists like Botticelli and William Blake.

Griselda hep

Materials Needed:

A laptop in which Griselda can insert a memory stick in that holds around 15 pictures to illustrate the talk, and an overhead screen please.



Ante's inferno

Ante’s Inferno

(Matador 2012)

Twelve year-old Ante (Antonia) Alganesh has a problem. It’s lunchbreak and Florence’s gang are after her. Desperate for a place to hide, she climbs the forbidden staircase to the old organ loft, where a hundred years ago a boy tumbled to his death. No one will think of looking for her there… Except Florence. Petrified, Ante watches her enemy approach, leaning on the rotten hand-rail. There’s a crash – and a boy appears from nowhere, just as a door opens in the wall behind them. All three find themselves in a tunnel leading to a river bank where people queue to be rowed across by a filthy old ferryman…

Forced to bury their differences, Ante and Florence accompany the strange boy, Gil, on a journey he should have taken 100 years ago through the Underworld. Making their way past the Shopping Maul and Multivice Complex, attacked by Cerberus, Harpies, Furies and the Minotaur, all this is bad enough: far worse is the doubt gnawing at Ante’s heart…

‘‘A really clever idea…. I see it as a movie!’ – Caroline Lawrence, author of The Roman Mysteries.

‘Griselda Heppel is a born storyteller. Your children will love her books and so will you.’ – The Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

‘An intelligent, fascinating piece of fiction … refreshingly different.’ – The Self-Publishing Magazine

‘An exciting adventure.’ – Juno

‘A dark, gripping tale.’ – The Oxford Times

‘Full of exciting events … which will keep you turning the pages.’ – Aquila

The Tragickall history of henry fowst

The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst

(Matador 2015)

In the shadows of Walton Hall a demon lurks. His name: Mephistopheles. In 1586, young John Striven struck a bargain with him in return for help against his murderous foster brother. Nice work for a demon – or it should have been. Because somehow, his plan to trap the 12-year-old went wrong. All he needs now is another soul, in similar desperation, to call on him.
Four hundred years later, Walton Hall has become Northwell School. Desperate to solve his problems, 13 year-old Henry Fowst is exploring the sixteenth century library when he stumbles across the diary of a boy his own age, beginning this 20th day of Januarie, 1586…Soon Henry is absorbed in John Striven’s struggles with his jealous foster-brother, who, it seems, will stop at nothing to be rid of him. When, to his horror, Henry finds his own life imitating John’s, it feels only natural to turn to John’s diary for help; and if John summoned ‘an Angellick Spirit’ to his aid, why shouldn’t that work for Henry too?
Unfortunately, calling up Mephistopheles lands both boys in greater danger than they’d ever bargained for.
‘A cleverly constructed mystery… an enjoyable and exciting read.’ The Historical Novel Society
‘Sooo gripping, I read the book in one week, one day, one hour, so there!’ Mango Bubbles Books
‘An exciting, fast-paced story with historical depth and interest.’ Juno Magazine

Reviews and Recommendations

‘The children were fascinated and really enjoyed hearing you talk.’  SS Philip and James Primary School, Oxford.

‘Your talk seems to have gone down extremely well and the boys have been left now with plenty to think about.’  Bruern Abbey, Bicester.

‘You clearly brought the boys something with which they were totally engaged. It’s such a relief they want to read a book that doesn’t involve guns/jeeps/terrorists/the word “suddenly” every second sentence!’  New College School, Oxford.

‘What a success! I hope you enjoyed it as much as the children obviously did. I think you just gained 40 new fans.’  Dragon School, Oxford.

‘The children thoroughly enjoyed spending time with a ‘real life famous person.’ I know many of them will have been inspired and they have already said that they can’t wait to read your next book.’ Pegasus Primary School, Oxford.

‘We all enjoyed Griselda’s visit and felt very lucky and grateful to have a chance to be introduced to this complex but enthralling book.’  Xenia, Cameron House School, London

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Griselda Heppel, 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

Further information on Griselda Heppel is available from her website –