News from Authors Abroad
Alan Durant celebrates the publication of his 100th book!
8th November 2018
Huge congratulations to author Alan Durant for the publication of his 100th book – Clownfish.
“From award-winning author Alan Durant comes a surreal, poignant story about family bonds and loss. Dak’s dad has been dead for seven days when suddenly he reappears. He’s the same in almost every way, with one startling exception: Dad has turned into a clownfish, and now lives in a tank at their local aquarium. Dak is delighted by the news – he has Dad back, even if he isn’t quite as he was before. Deciding to keep Dad’s transformation a secret, Dak visits him at the aquarium as often as he can, and ends up spending so much time there that they offer him a job. This is how he comes to meet Violet, the owner’s prickly but kindhearted niece; when the aquarium is threatened with closure, the pair must work together to save it. For Dak, the stakes couldn’t be higher … after all, if the aquarium shuts down, what will happen to the fish? In parts wry, moving and undoubtedly strange, this beautifully crafted story will stay with you long after the final page.”
We spoke to Alan about reaching this huge milestone.
Congratulations on your 100th book – quite an occasion. Does the excitement of having a book published ever diminish and become normal – or is it still a cause for excitement?
Every published book is a cause for celebration because it’s really hard to get a book published. But obviously the 100th book is special.
Your books cover a wide range of genres and age groups – which are easier for you to write?
None and all. I started off as a YA novelist and short story writer and then wrote picture books and all the rest when I had children. I’m the sort of author who doesn’t like to write in the same area twice. A marketing nightmare!
Where did the inspiration for Clownfish come from?
It all started such a long time ago (I began it last century in 1999!) that I actually can’t recall. Though I’ve always been fascinated by tropical fish and the structures they make.
Can you remember you first ever published book – does it hold a special place in your heart still?
Of course! Hamlet, Bananas and All That Jazz was my first book and I loved writing it. It was rejected many times before Ann-Janine Murtagh, a young editor at The Bodley Head (now the Publisher at Harper Collins Children’s Books), took it on, along with my second book, Blood.
Any of your books you are most proud of?
Probably Always and Forever, a picture book about bereavement, because I know from the mail I receive what an inspiration and comfort it continues to be for children and adults who are grieving the death of a loved one.
Which books do you feel are a ‘safe bet’ to get children engaged when put in front of a group of pupils who aren’t avid readers?
My picture book Burger Boy is the book I read most often because it seems to appeal to all ages. But also my Game Boy books, which were written for my reluctant reader son.
Do you think you have another 100 books in you?
No. I’m less prolific these days. But numbers have never been important. I write because I have something to say and will continue to do so (published or not) until I don’t. Or die. Which reminds me of a question from a boy in a school who, on hearing the many books I’d written, asked, “How many more books will you write before you expire?”
Advice for young people who would like to be a writer?
Read! Read and read – and not always the same kinds of thing. Challenge yourself to choose a book that you know nothing about. I did aged 10 and it turned out to be my favourite book ever and one of the main reasons I became a writer (The King of the Castle by Meriol Trevor). Then write and write. Listen to those whose opinion you trust but never forget that you are the author. Believe in yourself!
Want Alan Durant in your school or at your event?
To make an enquiry about Alan, 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
Broughton Hall Children’s Literature Festival Huge Success
11th October 2018
We are absolutely delighted with how well our debut literature festival, held at the gorgeous Broughton Hall, went.
Events at Bradford Grammar
It all began with Sir Chris Hoy hosting an event at Bradford Grammar which was attended by over 450 pupils from 10 neighbouring schools – a wonderful treat for them.
That evening Bradford Grammar hosted another event for us, this time open to the general public. Inspirational speaker and intrepid traveller Leon McCarron spoke with his talk ‘The Land Beyond’ which explores the various layers of culture, history, faith and politics at work in the bubbling cauldron of one of the most complex and compelling places on earth – the Holy Land. A hugely engaging event that was enjoyed by all who attended.
Free event for rural schools hosted by Tennants Auction House
Wonderful author Tom Palmer volunteered to host a free event at Tennants Auction House in Leyburn which was attended by 900 pupils from local rural schools, which went down a storm!
Free School Visits for Local Schools
Over Thursday and Friday Authors Abroad and some sponsored provided a free one hour author/poet or illustrator to all local schools who were interested. Around 195 schools took us up on our offer and we sent over 60 different artists into schools to entertain and inspire – with tremendous feedback. Some schools had never been in a position to be able to host an author visit and grasped the opportunity with both hands, with our authors talking to around 40,000 eager students.
The Weekend Event at Broughton Hall
Then the festival began! We took over Broughton Hall with our gang of authors, poets, illustrators and even Bollywood Dancers. As well as an appearance on Saturday from He Who Shall Not Be Named…
We had a gate-crasher….
Clare Balding, Steve Cole, Karl Nova and Michael De Souza
MG Leonard, Robin Stevens participating in Peter Bunzl’s Show, Steven Butler, Clare Balding showcasing Yorkshire Tea
The weather stayed on our side and over 5000 people flocked to Broughton Hall to watch the various author talks, poetry performances and take part in the Silver Cross Micralite scarecrow trail, the YPO messy tent, had their faces painted or enjoyed the array of entertainment offered on the free stage.
Some children taking advantage of the free YPO Messy Tent
A selection of some of the wonderful literature themed scarecrows local schools created for our event.
183 people completed the scarecrow trail challenge and we crowned 2 schools joint first place for their impressive scarecrows.
Yorkshire Young Writer of the Year Competition
Each day ended with us announcing our Yorkshire Young Writer of the Year short story writing competition winners. Authors Abroad ran the competition totally free of charge and opened it to all Yorkshire and some nearby Lancashire schools. Every school that entered was guaranteed to have at least one of their stories published. The standard of writing was very impressive and we were delighted that so much creative talent is present amongst young people.
It was a close competition and we would like to thank authors Alan Gibbons, Harriet Goodwin and Robin Price for kindly writing the story openings children were given to follow.
Immense congratulations to the following:
Years 3 and 4
1st Place: Amelie from Earby Springfield Primary, Baronoldswick.
2nd Place:Antonia from Water Street Community Primary School, Skipton.
3rd Place: Amelia from Moorfield School, Ilkley
Years 5 and 6
1st Place: Eva from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Otley.
2nd Place: Cleo from Myrtle Park Primary School, Bingley.
3rd Place: Emily Hughes from Brackenfield School, Harrogate.
All of our event was designed to promote a love and passion for literacy, as well as raising awareness and funds for a children’s mental health charity – The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust agreed that all funds raised by the Broughton Hall Literate Festival would be spent on mental health training for staff and parents at Yorkshire schools.
Explorer Leon McCarron first evening event at the Broughton Hall Children’s Literature Festival
7th September 2018
The first event of the Broughton Hall Children’s Literature Festival that is open to the public is an evening talk by explorer Leon McCarron at Bradford Grammar School on Thursday 27th September 2018.
This will take place 6:30-8:30pm.
Tickets are priced at £7.50 plus a small booking fee of £1.04 per ticket.
Tickets are available from Eventbrite:
Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish adventurer, filmmaker, writer and motivational speaker based in London. Leon’s vast experience in travel and adventure have made him a compelling and engaging storyteller.
In December 2015, Leon McCarron set off from Jerusalem to walk 1000 miles through the heart of the Middle East. Working on the premise that the brain works best at 3 miles per hour, this talk explores the various layers of culture, history, faith and politics at work in the bubbling cauldron of one of the most complex and compelling places on earth – the Holy Land.
The Magical Wood, has been awarded Bronze at the Junior Design Awards 2018.
3rd September 2018
We are absolutely delighted for our author Mark Lemon and his book ‘The Magical Wood’ which has been awarded Bronze in the Best Designed/Illustrated Book for Children category at the Junior Design Awards 2018.
Tamsyn Murray win two awards in one week!
9th July 2018
Congratulations to our Tamsyn Murray on winning both the Hampshire Book Award and the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award for her fantastic teenage novel ‘Instructions for a Second-hand heart.’
“Jonny has a faulty heart and his time is running out. Niamh has just lost her twin brother in a tragic accident. As their fates collide, soon Jonny is on the mend – but desperate to know more about his donor. When he tracks down Niamh, he only intends to find out about her brother, the first owner of his heart. He doesn’t plan on falling in love…A stunning, tear-jerking novel about grief, guilt, and the unpredictability of love.”
If you would like to host a visit from Tamsyn in your school please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karl Nova’s debut Rhythm and Poetry wins the CLiPPA 2018
27th June 2018
We are absolutely thrilled to announce that our very own Karl Nova has won the very prestigious CLiPPA award for his debut poetry collection ‘Rhythm and Poetry’ published by us here at Caboodle Books.
To win such a fantastic award with a debut is a testament to Karl’s talent and how young people respond to his words. We are delighted that the judges and audience loved him as much as we do.
The official press release is below.
Announcement of the Winner – CLiPPA 2018 (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award)
- Hip Hop artist and debut poet Karl Nova announced as the winner of CLiPPA 2018
- Rising Stars poetry collection, by poets and performers from under-represented communities, is highly commended
Grace Nichols, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2018 judges praised the winning book: “This book really stood out for me with its refreshing use of the rap genre, its musicality, its immediacy and thoughtful reflections on the creative process. Karl Nova’s poems ring true with a sincere charm that children and young people can relate to and that may inspire their own writing.”
Rising Stars by Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama, published by Otter-Barry Books, was highly commended.
Rhythm and Poetry is Karl’s first published book, with his poems being drawn from his extensive work as a poetry educator and the many workshops he holds in schools. It has a refreshing directness, honesty and authenticity which encourages children to see poetry in the everyday, explores the musicality of poetry and demonstrates the currency and significance of rap as an art form, especially for young people.
Karl’s win comes at a time when poetry is being embraced into the mainstream; a popularity echoed in children’s poetry, and the raised profile of CLiPPA. The award is the flagship event in CLPE’s year round championing of poetry.
Through their Power of Reading project, CLPE work with teachers and with poets to really understand how to make poetry teaching engaging and impactful in classrooms. This year, with the support of the Siobhan Dowd Trust, they
have ensured 350 free copies of the shortlisted poetry books will be sent to teachers nationally to celebrate poetry with children.
As the award grows year on year the trickle-down effect on children’s poetry publishing is self-evident with an increase in CLiPPA submissions of almost 70% for 2018.
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “At CLPE, we are determined to celebrate the very best children’s poetry by involving more schools, producing more resources and getting more poetry books into schools. We promote it, we research it, we help teachers to use it in schools – we are poetry because poetry is the gateway to literacy.”
Karl Nova received the award and a cheque for £1,000 in front of a packed audience of poets, educators, publishers, shadowing school children and media at The National Theatre. The shortlisted poets all performed on stage alongside children from the CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme, whose winning performances were selected from hundreds of competition entries. Everyone who attended received an advance copy of the new anthology from National Poetry Day, Poetry for a Change.
CLiPPA is made possible by the generous support of ALCS, Siobhan Dowd Trust and St Olave’s Fund.
Films of the shortlisted poets performing and teaching resources are available at www.clpe.org.uk/poetryline
Notes for Editors
The judging panel was chaired by the poet and one of the first ever CLiPPA winners, Grace Nichols along with Kate Wakeling, poet and CLiPPA 2017 winner for Moon Juice, Imogen Lycett Green, Director of the Betjeman Prize for Young Poets, Charlotte Hacking, CLPE Learning Programme Leader and Anthony Anaxagorou, poet, poetry educator and founder of Out-Spoken Press.
The CLiPPA 2018 Shortlist in full:
- John Agard:The Rainmaker Danced, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, Hodder
- Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme, Amina Jama:Rising Stars, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, Elanor Chuah and Joe Manners, Otter-Barry Books
- Joseph Coelho:Overheard in a Tower Block, illustrated by Kate Milner, Otter-Barry Books
- Sarah Crossan:Moonrise, Bloomsbury
- Sue Hardy-Dawson:Where Zebras Go, illustrated by the poet, Otter-Barry Books
- Karl Nova:Rhythm and Poetry, illustrated by Joseph Witchall, Caboodle Books
Performance films and teaching materials for all the shortlisted works are available for free on www.clpe.org.uk/poetryline
Karl on stage at the ceremony.
Karl with his award and Author’s Abroad Head of UK author visits Yvonne holding the sketch Chris Riddell did of Karl during his performance.
To Make a Booking
Mark Lemon’s latest book nominated for an award
13th June 2018
We are delighted that the fifth publication by children’s author, Mark Lemon, has been shortlisted by the Junior Design Awards 2018.
‘The Magical Wood’, was written to help children suffering with the bereavement of a loved one, and proceeds from every copy sold
will be donated to children’s bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish.
Good luck Mark – a wonderful book and a fantastic cause.
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Mark Lemon, 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
Coral Rumble wins The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2018
4th June 2018
Congratulations to Coral Rumble. We are thrilled to announce she has won this year’s prestigious Caterpillar Poetry Prize.
The Caterpillar Poetry Prize, run by the junior art and literature magazine The Caterpillar and awarded annually to a single unpublished poem written by an adult for children, was judged this year by the British poet Chrissie Gittins.
Coral scooped first place with her poem ‘Mustafa’s Jumper’.
Well done Coral, we are so pleased for you!
If you would like to have Coral and her wonderful poetry workshops in your school please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Row and his storytelling well received at Swindon Literature Festival Family Day
24th May 2018
Our acclaimed storyteller John Row had a great time entertaining audiences at Swindon Literature Festival Family Day.
See a news article about the event via the following link:
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about John, 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
Student’s story produced following a visit from Kathryn White
17th May 2018
During Kathryn White’s recent visit to West Acton Primary School one of the students produced this wonderful story which he has allowed us to share.
The Scary Seas
Written by Mohamed E, West Acton Primary
Once upon a time I went camping under the sea! I went camping in the water with my friend. I felt worried and nervous as I laid by tent on the wet, sandy floor. Then I ate my breakfast and felt much better. It was rice crispies and of course I had them with salty water instead of milk.
As I was eating, I saw a merman hiding from killer whales. I peered at them all from my tent. A school of fish swam across the scene and sharks then added to the cacophony. My goggles fell off and all of a sudden I couldn’t see for a moment…but, then I saw a light. It had telekinesis and gave me my goggles back!
I could see the light now and in fact, once those goggles were in place I could see it was a not a light but an underwater sorcerer. He told me he wanted me to save the world. “I’m not strong enough to fight for the world I replied. The sorcerer answered “I can turn you in to a strong sea creature with an enchanted spell! Ummmsa-tikyaa-ra-na-fo-lioro-taji!”
As the spell worked its magic on me, I turned into an actual, ferocious (but very cool) sea dragon. I started roaring at the killer whales and sharks and got their attention. Evil sea goblins were watching the sharks and killer whales and put their fingers in their ears to stop the loud sound. I moved forward and trod on them like they were ants being squashed by giant dinosaurs that eat elephants!
Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I saw my friend Lucas transform into a sea snake. The sorcerer had put a spell on him too! I called him the Serpent of the Sea. He was a metal snake with a horn and was 7 feet long. He was made of a golden steel. His eyes were red and he spat out green fire.
Just then, I woke up – the sea camping was gone and I was on a boat. A pirate boat! I saw an angry pirate crew looking at the sky. Aliens were there and it was an alien and pirate battle. “Charge” they yelled. “Drill bit blitz” I yelled and they found us flamethrowers to attack. I used my hyper-beam power to fight back. Just then, the fight finished and an old man, maybe it was the captain of the boat, screeched “You have done it!”
I looked at the man and realised it was the sorcerer from under the sea. He had brought me here to fight in this fight to save the world! “Just because you have saved us all, you can keep your powers” he said to me.
“Well then if there is any more trouble just call my name,” I replied.
And that’s how my sea adventure turned me into a hero of the world.
Fantastic work Mohamed!
Have your pupils/your child produced some work during one of our author visits they would like to share on our website? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to organise for an author or poet to visit your school and run writing workshops to inspire students? Please contact Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at email@example.com