All About Harry Oulton
Harry worked at the BBC and Granada for longer than he cares to remember before publishing his first book, A Pig Called Heather, in 2014. The second Heather adventure came out in August of the same year and a third in summer 2015.
‘This whimsical adventure is a pure pleasure. The story is fast-paced and exciting. The writing is imaginative and is lightly sprinkled with Briticisms. The characters are unique and well defined.’ – Sadza Mozer, School Library Journal, Los Angeles
When he was growing up, Harry’s dad wouldn’t allow the family to have a TV, so he had no choice but to read and read and read. As soon as he left home he got a job in television (obviously!), but he kept on reading. Now a full time children’s novelist (and occasional screenwriter), Harry likes nothing better than coming to talk to schools about writing, about TV, about cruel fathers and generally how he thinks watching TV and reading books are basically the same thing.
He lives in Highbury, North London with his wife, 3 children and a cat to whom he is allergic.
Harry’s School Visits
The content and shape of Harry’s school visits varies from school to school. They always revolve around Harry’s firmly held belief that you cannot be a writer without being both a reader and a watcher. Or in fact a reader without being a watcher and a writer and indeed a watcher without being a writer and indeed a reader! Once he’s cleared that up Harry talks generally about literacy and storytelling across many genres, the process involved in writing a novel or a poem and how best to tell a story. He always includes a reading from one of his books.
Workshops are geared around writing/reading in many different formats and can involve writing ‘tweeterature’ to 4 line poems, to acting out scenes from Star Wars or to creating a story out of a set of totally random ingredients. There are word games, visual jokes and plenty of audience participation…
The key to all the workshops is to demystify reading and writing, and to make literacy accessible, fun and non-daunting for everyone.
With older children/adults Harry tends to structure both talks and workshops more around the cross-platform aspects of storytelling. Hollywood’s ability to ruin a perfectly good book by producing a rubbish film, or to elevate something fairly average into a great film. From the use of a classic three act structure, to how to write convincing and interesting dialogue, Harry will explore the different mediums and encourage everyone to have a go.
A Pig Called Heather
‘When the pig called Heather woke up after lunch, the first thing she thought was that she had absolutely nothing to do. That was good, doing nothing was one of her best things, and also one of the things she did best.’ Heather’s best friend is a girl called Isla, who lives with her dad on a farm in Scotland. Their idyllic life together is shattered when a thunderstorm destroys the farm and forces Isla’s dad to sell up and move to London – leaving Isla and Heather miles apart and utterly miserable. Then fate intervenes, turning Heather from an everyday pig into a national celebrity, and catapulting her to fame, fortune and most excitingly of all …London. Armed only with her own pig-headedness, Heather embarks on a quest to track down her best friend. After all, how many girls with freckles can there be in London?’
Reviews and Recommendations
‘The children were enthralled by Harry’s entertaining real life stories. He explained how he worked to create television programmes and how he wrote his books, giving the children an understanding of a writer’s career. His talk was engaging, interesting and inspiring.’ – Sophie Tunnicliffe, Literacy Co-ordinator, William Tyndale Primary School
‘I did one of my best bits of writing with Harry. He helped me use funny rhyming words and I managed to use some of them in my writing this week too.’ – Year 4 pupil, St Luke’s Primary School
“Thank you for coming into our class and helping us to switch on our brains to ‘see’ pictures in a story book as we read the words. We loved the bit of the story you read for us and hearing about how you got into writing. We look forward to reading your next book too!” – Year Four, Canonbury Primary School
Reviews of A Pig Called Heather
‘I enjoyed this book because it is funny and sad but above all I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know what happens next! I give it 100/100 and I can’t wait to read the sequel!’ Alexander Bisland, aged 8
‘Reading A Pig Called Heather took me back to my childhood days spent happily reading the likes of Dick King-Smith, completely immersed in the animal worlds the author created. Harry Oulton pulls off this same total absorption but with a modern flair. Heather is, well, as pig-like as you’d imagine; easily distracted by food, laid back and easy going. She takes things very much as they come without dwelling on the negative. Even when her best human friend has to sell up the farm they live on together and move to London, Heather doesn’t get melancholy, she just plans how she’ll get to London with her!’ – Caroline Hodges – Serendipity reviews
‘Stocked with flashes of wit, unlikely twists and narrow escapes from capture, this amiable ramble slides smoothly into the literary sty occupied by Wilbur, Babe, Mercy Watson and like talented porkers.’ – Kirkus book Reviews
‘Children’s literature is littered with famous animal protagonists from Black Beauty to Peter Rabbit, and Heather will no doubt be another hit with young readers. Harry Oulton has written an uplifting tale told from the perspective of a pig called Heather. A celebration of enduring friendship and not giving up on your dreams, this quirky novel is sensitively written, and sometimes it’s difficult to remember that Heather is actually a pig and not a human. But Heather is not without her flaws. With a weakness for food of all sorts, ‘making a pig of yourself’ takes on a whole new meaning. Indeed, in some of her darkest moments of loneliness, apples (with variety details included) prove most uplifting. A good blend of adventure and humour, the novel plays on fact that Heather is a pig. She is ‘pig-headed’ in her determination to find her friend Isla, and when she escapes from the farm, they suspect she has ‘swine-flu’. A beautifully written novel with a warm heart.’ – June Edwards – Children’s books Ireland
‘A fantastic book! I loved reading this exciting story about Heather the pig, her best friend Isla and all the exciting things that happen to them. I can’t wait to read the next book! This is one of the best books I have read in my life! I think Isla is a good name to put in because it is an unusual name. Isla is an exciting character and I think she would be a good friend. She is nice, friendly and cool. She cares about her friends and the animals that live on her farm, especially Heather. It doesn’t matter that Heather is a pig because Isla and Heather are still best friends. Isla can talk to Heather about happy or sad things and we know what Heather thinks about all of them. There are happy, sad and very exciting moments in this story and I enjoyed reading about all of them. I wish I had a pig like Heather. Heather and her animal friends are all brilliant!’ – Toby Pickering, aged 6 (Everybody Learns)
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Harry Oulton, 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