All About Piers Torday
Piers was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people and spent his early years crawling around on the floor of the children’s bookshop that his mum ran, getting overexcited by meeting visitors such as Roald Dahl and Eva Ibbotson.
After school and university he ended up doing plays and comedy shows on the Edinburgh Fringe and then moved into telly where he helped develop, write and make all sorts of programmes from reality to comedy shows, such as Channel 4’s Rock School or ITV’s Ladette to Lady. He still writes for TV, including the recent Almost Royal (E4) and the forthcoming South Side Story (BBC 3).
His grandfather Roger Mortimer was a journalist who wrote hundreds of very funny letters to his children, which you can read in the Dear Lupin trilogy by my relatives, including To My Dearest Jane, by his mother. After his dad Paul wrote his first book at the age of 59 (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) he felt inspired to have a go myself and went on an Arvon Course at Ted Hughes’ old house in West Yorkshire, where he began to write The Last Wild.
A few years later, it has now sold in 12 countries worldwide and the sequel, The Dark Wild (shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2014) has been published in the UK – with the third and final book in the series, The Wild Beyond, published in 2015.
In between, he also been trained as a Volunteer Reader by Beanstalk and is working with them in North London help challenged young readers enjoy children’s books the way he once did. He is also a Trustee of the Pleasance Theatre, which gave him his first ever break and continues to do the same every year for hundreds of young creative people.
Piers’ School Visits
Piers currently has two talks and one creative writing workshop, which work best with students aged 7 – 12.
They are all designed to inspire pupils both about reading and writing, as well as asking questions about the world around them, the environmental subject matter of The Last Wild Trilogy. The two talks are suitable both for large all school presentations or smaller classroom visits, as long as multimedia presentation facilities are available.
The creative writing workshop is best suited for smaller groups of students, with a maximum size of 30-40.
A typical school visit will include one or two talks (either the same repeated to different year groups or the two different talks to the same group) followed up by a creative writing workshop.
The Last Wild Trilogy Event (60 mins* talk incl. Q&A)
Ideal age group: Years 4/5, ages 8-11
This is the best talk for schools which have not heard Piers speak before.
Using an inventive and interactive presentation, Piers uses his session to tell the children three stories (15 mins each approx.) all connected with reading and writing. There will be laughs, quizzes, prizes, and a chance for questions at the end. First, the story of how he started writing and how your pupils can too. He will reveal a never before seen Oompa-‐Loompa song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as he explains how meeting Roald Dahl inspired him to get writing…
Next, the real life story which inspired THE LAST WILD TRILOGY, and a reading. Finally, the story of a real life animal. He’ll talk about meeting some real wolves with take-‐home facts on these beautiful animals and the challenges they face in the world today. Also available as a 15 /30/45 min
assembly if required.
The Dark Wild Event (45 mins talk + Q&A)
Ideal age group: Years 6/8, ages 11-13
Ideal as a follow up event for schools which have already had The Last Wild Event.
In this visually rich, fact filled presentation, with animations and video, Piers talks about the real life environmental phenomenon of the Anthropocene age which inspired The Dark Wild and his most recent book The Wild Beyond along with a reading–recently seen at the Hay Festival to
Writing Animal Stories (45/60 mins workshop)
A 45 min – 60 min creative writing workshop for up to 25 students where they will discuss the uses of animals in children’s fiction and then set about creating their own, with the aim being each child takes away the foundations for writing their own animal adventure. Accompanied by examples and
illustrative creative prompts, issues explored include:
Description – Setting – Character and Motivation.
What facilities will Piers need when he visits your school?
All events are built around Keynote presentations for Apple Mac and will not play off memory sticks or school computers.
Piers travels with his own Apple MacBook Air laptop and all cables, adapters etc., normally required. He needs access to the projector/smart board/TV display etc. and sound system in the venue for the talk and all should be well.
If in doubt please put him in touch with the relevant IT person beforehand.
He also travels with his own projector as an emergency back up.
Materials: None required for the talks, but writing paper and pens/pencils are needed for the creative writing workshop.
The Last Wild
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.
“As thrilling as James and the Giant Peach” – Sunday Times
In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he’s told there’s something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone a bit mad. But the animals have something to say…
The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester’s help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an over-enthusiastic wolf-cub, a spoilt show-cat, a dancing harvest mouse and a girl named Polly.
The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?
The Dark Wild
Shortlisted for Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.
“The second book is equally brilliant” – Guardian
Twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes thought he had rescued the last wild animals in the land. He thought his adventure was over. He was wrong. Below the sparkling city of Premium, deep underground, Kester finds more survivors: a menacing white dog, a cohort of foxes, an interfering starling, and the most miserable rat. A dark wild hiding from the deadly virus which destroyed their friends; a dark wild determined to rise up against their human enemies…
Together with his loyal friend Polly and a brave gang of child outlaws, Kester must find a way to stop them, before it’s too late.
The Wild Beyond
This is the story of a boy named Kester. He has rescued the last wild animals in the world, and saved his capital city from destruction. But now he must face his greatest challenge yet, because:
1. The only blue whale on the planet has brought news from across the ocean
2. A mysterious steel dome has risen from the Four Towers
3. Out there, somewhere, a brave mouse holds the key to the future…
Death of an Owl with Paul Torday
Andrew Landford, MP is driving home one night along a dark country lane when a barn owl flies into his windscreen. It is an accident, nothing more. But Andrew sits on a parliamentary committee concerned with the protection of endangered species, and the death of the owl threatens to destroy his hopes of reaching No. 10.
Also in the car is Andrew’s old Oxford friend and political adviser, Charles Fryerne. Will they be able to keep the crime under wraps, or will circumstances conspire against them?
There May be a Castle
On a frozen Christmas Eve, Mouse Mallory and his family set off across a snow-white valley to visit his grandparents.
They never arrive.
As the wheels skid off the icy road, Mouse is thrown from the car. When he wakes, he finds himself in a magical landscape, with only a talkative sheep and a very bossy horse for company.
And they tell him: this is your story now.
So begins Mouse’s extraordinary quest through a world of wonder. A world of monsters, minstrels, dangerous knights and mysterious wizards; a world of terrifying danger but also more excitement than Mouse has ever known.
All to find a castle, somewhere, beyond.
But why is Mouse looking for a castle? As thoughts of his family back at the car begin to surface, Mouse realises this might be the most important journey he will ever make …
Reviews and Recommendations
‘Written in a vivid, urgent style, The Last Wild may be as crucial to the new generation as Tarka the Otter’ – The Times
‘Inventive, with laughs, tears and cliffhangers’ – The Sunday Times
‘The sequel had better come soon’ – Observer
‘I haven’t read a book this good since The Hunger Games’ – Guardian Children’s Books
‘A wonderfully strange and strangely wonderful book’ – Financial Times
‘A page-turner that makes you think, The Last Wild won’t be the last we hear of Piers Torday’- Inis Magazine
‘Action-packed…a promising debut’ – Daily Mail
‘Deserves full marks – I hope other children will enjoy it as much as I did!’ – First News
‘Do not miss this magical and astounding debut: a truly inspirational book for kids that they’ll love’ – LoveReading4Kids
‘Bound to ensnare youngsters in its web of adventure’ – Stardust-reader.blogspot.co.uk
‘A charming tale, based on an original and intriguing premise and with more than a whiff of magic about it’ – Bookbag.co.uk
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Piers Torday, 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 email@example.com