All About Jon Robinson
Jon wanted to be an author from a very young age – he was encouraged by an English teacher after writing a very gruesome story as a child (he talks all about this in his presentation). Jon chose not to go to university as he thought it would interfere with his writing, so he had a string of fairly random jobs, while writing on the side whenever he could. Ten years later, at twenty eight, he was offered a publishing deal by Puffin books for a YA novel, Nowhere and the two following books in the series, Anywhere and Somewhere.
Nowhere has been shortlisted for the Bolton and Calderdale children’s book awards, winning the Calderdale Children’s Fiction Award 2014, Hampshire Independent Schools book award and Reading Libraries Battle of the Books award. In 2014 he was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Jon has also won the Calderdale Discover Learning children’s fiction award 2014.
Jon is based on the border of West London and Buckinghamshire.
Jon’s Schools Visits
Jon mostly works with year 7/8 although and has worked with 9 and 10 as well. This consists of a 45 minute PowerPoint event with 15 minutes Q&A and time for buying/signing books. Jon has given this presentation to groups ranging from 40 or so up to 250. During this session he talks about:
– His early writing
– Nowhere – the plot and concept
– Interactive questions and answers “what would you do” scenarios
– Discussion of the themes and ideas (referring to psychology studies – Jon has some video clips that the kids usually really enjoy)
– Interactive reading of the first chapter with 2 volunteers
Jon is also happy to do workshops with smaller groups about creative writing and generating ideas, also more than happy to wait around at lunchtimes and talk to school reading groups about getting published or anything like that.
One of the big things Jon hopes to do with the talks is inspire – he want students to feel empowered. Obviously he will tailor things depending on the school, but in a lot of inner city schools, students find it quite inspiring that Jon came from a working class background and that he doesn’t have a university education.
He talks about some psychological ideas and studies – not something a lot of younger school children would learn about – i.e. subliminal messaging, the brown eyed – blue eyed experiment, what makes good people do bad things etc. This usually goes down really well.
Equipment Needed – just a laptop with PowerPoint, projector and speakers.
A group of teenagers are kidnapped and taken to a peculiar prison in the middle of a forest, for crimes they haven’t committed. Who put them there and why? Will they ever escape and find out the truth?
The children learn more about the mysterious and dangerous Pledge as well as the reasons behind their capture – a bizarre Ability that they allegedly possess, and the secret organisation who are trying their best to set them free.
In hiding with the mysterious Guild, Alyn, Jes and their friends learn of a way to destroy the prison called Nowhere and end the Pledge’s project for good. But another far more dangerous figure has plans to send the country spiralling into anarchy and chaos. Will the gang be able to stop him in time … or might it already be too late?
To purchase Jon’s books, click here.
Reviews and Recommendations
‘Rave reviews after our Jon Robinson visit. Jon gave an excellent talk. He captured the attention and sympathy of his audience at the start very successfully by outlining the gruesome side to his writing. Then he brought in some fascinating information from psychology research, with videos. This was a refreshing change from the regular “How I Write My Books” approach, and it was all relevant to his plot. His talk was humorous and intelligent and was pitched at a level which related perfectly to the students. He arrived early and chatted to students in the Library – we loved having him here. We look forward to inviting him again.’ – Cathy Bradley, Claremont Fan Court School
‘We were delighted to be able to welcome Jon to Parmiter’s. I think the overwhelming success of his talk can be attributed to his ability to engage with the students at their level – just the right mixture of content, comedy and gore! Even our disengaged students got something from it.’ – ND, Librarian, Parmiter’s School, Hertfordshire
‘Jon is a wonderful presenter who had the students fully engaged throughout his presentation. The students loved the idea of ‘Nowhere’ and many have now bought the book. The ideas in his talk – particularly about peer pressure and the psychology of prison guards and prisoners – were fascinated and really well explored. We all enjoyed his visit a great deal, and I look forward to reading ‘Nowhere’ with classes next year.’ – RK, Ashlyns School, Hertfordshire
‘Jon’s talk really captured students, especially as they could relate to the gruesome stories he told them that he made up when he was their age – this made the whole idea of being an author so much more real and relevant to them. It was so on their wave length. The video clips got them talking and I heard many a discussion about them later. They loved the concept of his book ‘Nowhere’ and so wanted to know more. Several children read the book overnight and came in the next day buzzing about it, making me promise I would ask you back when the next one comes out!!. Thank you Jon for inspiring and motivating the children to read with such ease.’ –JG, Librarian, Crosfields School, Reading
‘Our visit from Jon Robinson was a great success. He engaged the Year 7 students from the start talking about his early writing career and his new book NOWHERE, the characters, the story and the deeper psychological meaning behind it. The talk was interesting, fun and interactive and left the Year 7’s totally enthused by his writing. I bought 15 copies of the book for the library – all of which were borrowed within the first 5 minutes of break – and I have a huge reservation list. Rarely has an author provoked such a reaction in our school.’ – LB, Librarian, Slough & Eton C of E Secondary School
‘Jon is a very good speaker and established a good rapport with the students. His presentation was very well done, and the students were certainly enthused. After the talk and signing he had lunch with the book club, a slightly older group who had not been to the talk but who really enjoyed meeting him. I am always delighted to have the opportunity to arrange author visits as they are such stimulating and enriching events.’ – SC, Librarian, Dame Alice Owen’s School, Potter’s Bar
‘Jon was a real hit here with students and staff. So much so the English staff have asked if we can have him back when next book is published. I thought Jon’s presentation was great, he kept students mesmerised with his observations’ – JT. Librarian, Francis Combe Academy Watford.
‘Just wanted to drop a line and share how pleased we were with Jon Robinson. From the minute he arrived Jon was warm and friendly. His presentation to the students was thoroughly entertaining and engaging and so many different subject teachers who were supervising their classes commented on how interesting the talk was- particularly his talk about subliminal messages and child psychology. He was happy to answer all questions and many students were disappointed that the session had to end.
Jon then signed countless books adding personal messages and posing for photos. He was extremely patient with those who wanted to talk about writing (myself included) and nothing was ever too much to ask. After lunch, a number of students had begun writing stories- inspired by Jon’a talk- and again Jon was happy to take a look and give them feedback.
As head of dept I’ve organised the visit of many authors- Alan Gibbons, Tim Bowler and Ali Sparkes and I can easily say that Jon was the best of the lot. His books are booked out of the library for the foreseeable future and I have already recommend Jon to colleagues from other schools.
The visit was part funded by a Jack Petchy prize fund and the year 8 students who chose to spend her money on the author visit said that Friday was the best day of her life!’ John Callaghan, St Benedict’s Catholic College
‘I wanted to write to you to say that Jon’s visit was really fantastic yesterday. We all enjoyed meeting him and chatting between sessions and his three presentations and one workshop were pitched exactly right for our pupils. His balance of humour, inspiration and information was spot on. I’ve been chatting to my English classes and they are all still full of enthusiasm for the talk. I would say that he is a perfect choice of visiting writer for years 7 and 8. He’d work well with Year 9 too, I’m sure, so I will be contacting our senior school Librarian to see whether she would be interested in hosting a visit as well.’ Junior Kings School Canterbury.
“Huge thanks for the visit to our school yesterday by Jon Robinson, the day was absolutely fantastic, the students and the teaching staff got so much out of the experience and are buzzing, even our mid days commented on hearing students discussing how much they enjoyed his visit during their lunch break.” St Martins’s School
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Jon Robinson, 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