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Phil Earle
Phil Earle
Phil has just released his debut young adult novel ‘Being Billy', with Puffin Books, to great critical acclaim. It is the story of a confused and angry fourteen year old, trapped by his life in the care system.

All About Phil Earle

Phil was inspired to write the book after working as a care worker and drama-therapist in children’s homes and therapeutic communities in Hull and London.

He worked in the care system for a number of years, before changing tack completely, taking up a post as a children’s bookseller, a job that inspired him to write.

He now works in children’s publishing, reads every young adult book he can get his hands on and writes on the X68 bus home from the office.

As much as Phil adores writing, he equally loves the buzz of visiting schools and talking about story-telling and reading.

The response to the sessions he has done over the last few months has been over-whelming, with students in years 7, 8, 9 and 10 inspired by his presentation.

Phil feels passionately that there is no such thing as a non-reader and from his own experiences as a reluctant-reading-teenager, is able to show literacy in a new light to even the most reticent student.

Phil lives in London, but still has strong roots in the north of England too.

Phil Earle’s School Visits

Phil is happy to tailor his event to your school’s needs, but likes to cover the following themes in an interactive presentation that can last anything from 30-60 minutes:

  • What is a reader? (breaks down stereotypes and encourages students to recognise different ways in which we all read)
  • What is a writer? (Amazing how many students are on Facebook, updating their status’ and telling stories without recognising it as a form of creative writing)
  • What should you write about?

From this question Phil springboards into his reasons for writing, his experiences of working in children’s homes and also covers the following themes;

  • What constitutes a hero?
  • How does a writer build a journey for its hero?
  • Write about your passions!
  • Why an appropriate ending is so important for any novel.
  • The power you hold as a reader and writer.

During the session Phil also reads two passages from the book, which underline the messages of his presentation.

Phil’s session offers a real insight into the writers craft and emphasizes the point that it’s never too late to discover reading or writing.

Creative Writing Sessions

Phil is also able to facilitate creative writing sessions and likes to integrate dramatic techniques such as hot-seating and improvisation into lessons where appropriate.

He also runs sessions based around the prologue to ‘Being Billy’, enabling students to finish the chapter themselves, showing them the power of their own imaginations and their potential to create stories of their own.

Phil’s Books

‘Being Billy’

being billy

Faces flashed before my eyes. And for every face there was a time that they had let me down. Each punch that landed was revenge, my chance to tell them I hadn’t forgotten what they did. Eight years in a care home makes Billy Finn a professional lifer. And Billy’s angry – with the system, the social workers, and the mother that gave him away. As far as Billy’s concerned, he’s on his own. His little brother and sister keep him going, though they can’t keep him out of trouble. But he isn’t being difficult on purpose. Billy’s just being Billy. He can’t be anything else. Can he?

Phil’s debut novel was released in January 2011 to terrific acclaim:

The Sunday Times selected it as its Children’s Book of the Week, calling it ‘Compelling and humane….empathetic and hopeful.’

Recommendations & Reviews

‘We had a fantastic visit from Phil Earle on Friday 15th Feb 2013.  Year 8 were completely bowled over by him, as was everyone else he met – staff and students alike.  The queue to get books or posters signed was out of the door, and the buzz on the playground was electric.  I can’t recommend Phil highly enough – thank you for arranging this.It was such a wonderful day – everyone was still buzzing about it when we came back after half term.’ Lou Starkey, Head of Library

Phil gave an author talk for us today and the students were rapt by the readings, the insight into his writer’s craft and the insights he gave into the world of looked after children and working with them. He was excellent with the kids, engaging, genuine, passionate and down-to-earth. I would highly recommend book and author.” – Carol Webb, Librarian, Forest Hill School

“I enjoyed my time with Phil Earle because he told us it is not hard to write a book. Overall it was brilliant so I want to say thank you to Phil for coming. I hope you go far.” – Emmanuel, Year 8

‘Phil Earle writes starkly but sensitively about damaged children in this brilliant page-turning novel. It moved me to tears.’ – Jacqueline Wilson

‘Powerful, heart-breaking, honest and hopeful – a strong, thought-provoking debut. I loved it.’ – Cathy Cassidy

‘Being Billy is a wonderful book. It has the best relationship between an adult and a young person I’ve read in long time.‘ – Morris Gleitzman

‘Being Billy was a total page-turner – authentic and gritty. Billy’s voice doesn’t falter – spiky, brave and compassionate.‘ – Jenny Downham

‘It’s frightening when a debut novel is as good as Being Billy.‘ – Marcus Sedgwick

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Phil Earle, 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