UK and International School Specialists
Working with over 5000 schools in the UK
Over 800 International Schools in more than 65 countries.

Martin Barnabus Noutch

All About Martin

Martin Barnabus Noutch is the author of the Steam Highwayman gamebook series. He uses interactive fiction writing to engage young writers in schools and as a mentor, allowing them to take full control as writer and reader. He is passionate about championing the author inside everyone and has written the teacher’s resource ‘Write Your Own Adventure: Choice-Based Fiction in the Classroom’.

He has a background in teaching, theatre and music and loves to tell stories. He enjoys performing interactive readings that get an audience involved – however old or young. He has written plays for school performances, including ROM 1.0 and Juli E.T: In Love But the Stars Say No! and other adaptations of Shakespeare and is a champion for drama in class.

Martin also writes poetry inspired by the natural world, buildings and history. He enjoys walking, gardening, singing and playing games.

Martin began writing in Primary School and never stopped. He was inspired by his own class teacher, who taught him how to create gamebooks and interactive fiction, as well as by the authors of countless fabulous stories and adventures he has read since then.


Martin’s School Visits

Martin’s school visits can include:

– Whole-school interactive readings (in assembly or longer) with audience in role
– Author in costume
– Writing workshops for historic, adventure, Steampunk and choice-based fiction
– Write Your Own Adventure in as little as an hour, suitable for classes in KS2 and above, producing an entire class-written gamebook that can be themed to your class’s topic or area of study (titles include The Maze of Madness [Ancient Greeks], Escape From Vesuvius! [Romans / Volcanoes], Discover Vinland! [Vikings] and others)
– Planning individual gamebook projects
– Teacher CPD sessions in using Interactive Fiction in the classroom (at additional charge)

Martin’s workshop and writing sessions can accommodate up to 32 children at a time and he can work with multiple classes in a single visit.  A typical workshop lasts 1 hour 45 minutes and will require the school to print some materials.  As an experienced teacher, Martin particularly enjoys tailoring his inspirational and practical sessions to suit  a class’s current area of study.

Example time-table:

9:15 Whole-School Assembly with performed Interactive Reading

9:45 Class Workshop 1 – Creating a whole-class gamebook

11:30 Break

11:45 Time with a writer – questions / interview session / reading from books

12:30 Lunch

1:15 Class Workshop 2 – Creating an individual gamebook

3:00 Finish


Martin’s Books

Steam Highwayman Series

Who is the Steam Highwayman? YOU are the Steam Highwayman! Steam Highwayman is a Steampunk Adventure Gamebook series in which you take on the role of the ruthless and charismatic rogue who terrifies the rich and prosperous with his daring exploits. You will decide how the Steam Highwayman is remembered: a Robin Hood for the Steampunk age, a feared criminal or a revolutionary!


Write Your Own Adventure: Choice-Based Fiction in Schools


Write Your Own Adventure: Choice-Based Fiction in Schools is a complete teacher’s resource to equip the class teacher to use choice-based fiction writing to engage and challenge their students.  Containing plans, photocopiable resources and an entire customisable class gamebook, it will set your class off on an adventure of authorship that will never end!




Steam Highwayman: Smog and Ambuscade – Critics’ Reviews

” a never-ending adventure”, “impressive”, “grand open-world adventuring”
“You need to get your hands on Steam Highwayman”Jonathan Green
“Top-notch work “David Morris
“An eminently explorable world”Paul Gresty


Steam Highwayman:Smog and Ambuscade – Amazon Reviews

“We love this book. Both my sons (age 12 and 8) have been enthralled by this. Wonderful storylines, expertly crafted to lead you on new adventures with an array of possibilities.” – T

“A great example of modern interactive fiction, set in a unique and exotic steampunk world. There’s tons to explore, and the excellent writing will draw you into reading for hours. Whether you’re a fan of gamebooks of old, or just appreciate an evocative open-world adventure, don’t miss this one.” – Michael

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Martin, 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

Salma Zaman

Salma Zaman HND; CertEd is a multi-nominated award-winning author of children’s books. The founder and artistic director of Salma’s Bollywood academy (SBA), Salma is also a qualified lecturer, leader, qualified teacher, researcher, choreographer and motivational and a public speaker who promotes culture, equality, diversity, inclusivity and dis/ABILITY awareness, differentiation and accessibility to all her learning students.



Salma is a published author of ‘Bollywood Princess,’ ‘HELP! I Can’t Dance Without My Bhangra Pants’ and she is currently working on further children’s books.  Her aim is to educate youngsters from an early age that dis/ABILITY is all around us and let’s embrace and share and celebrate the differences and not shy away from this. Salma disregards the word dis and focuses on ABILITY and her books promote disability awareness and acceptance. In addition to this, Salma has created story sacks to further enhance the reading experience of her students with key story words, visual prompts, noisy, tactile, sensory and visual resources – especially for when her participants have additional needs.


Salma, recently won the title ‘Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards’– Arts Category – 2018 and she holds she title the ‘Best Dancing School’ for 2018 in West Yorkshire. Salma adores reading and writing and have had a strong passion to write from her teenage years and not so long ago her dreams came true when she launched Bollywood Princess.


High Profile Events Salma Has Worked In:

  • Performance for Bollywood Star – Ashwairya Rai
  • Performance for Bollywood Star – Waheeda Rehman
  • Appeared on Hollywood Celebrity, Donny Osmond’s show – Identity
  • Appeared on Coronation Street
  • BBC1: Our Dancing Town and Local news – Look North
  • BBC2: Recipes that made me
  • BBC3: Freaky Eaters
  • TV1: Local news – Calendar
  • B4U: Pop video choreography
  • Channel 4: Oh God

Salma’s School Visits

During a school visit, Salma begins with an interactive story telling session. Both Bollywood Princess and HELP! I Can’t Dance Without My Bhangra Pants have story sacks with visual, noisy, sensory and tactile resources for all participants to use. Story sacks supports lifelong learning through key story words, visual prompts and resources. Character costumes for both books are provided to further enhance the learning experience for all. Salma’s books are aimed at children from different cultural backgrounds and her books encourages engagement and integration off all faiths. Salma will test participant learning has taken place by asking prompting questions throughout the session such as “What are the hidden messages within Bollywood Princess” and “Why do you think? Extended activities are put in place by the providing activity sheets. Salmas books promote and encourage equality, diversity, inclusion and differentiation and both her books promote performing arts. Therefore, after the interactive story telling Salma leads all the children through an extremely inclusive dance session.


Bollywood Dance (Modern Indian) is extremely popular amongst the children and school staff.  The high energy musicality and the fun Indian dance movements and gestures taken from Salmas books are addictive and fun for all. Bollywood dancing is the core basis of most Indian films and Bollywood dance incorporates other dance genres such as khatak, modern dance, jazz, bharatnatyam, salsa, western street dance and some hip-hop themes are also visible. Experience during our classes the true colours of Bollywood dance first hand and have a real taste of the hustle and bustle of this popular Indian dance.



Bhangra Dance (Pakistani and Indian Folk Dance) compliments Salmas second book HELP! I Can’t Dance Without My Bhangra Pants. Bhangra is a traditional folk dance from both Pakistan and India. Historically Bhangra was performed as part of the harvest season as a celebratory dance to enjoy the good harvest. Farmers celebrated this by singing songs and dancing along to their words. Bhangra is a true celebration of Asian cultures and diversity. Below is an indication of what may include in a typical workshop with Salma.


  • Fun teacher led warm-up and stretch
  • Bollywood dance techniques (encouraged from Bollywood Princess)
  • Embedded Maths and English
  • Classical hand gestures
  • Learn a Bollywood dance fused with other dance genres
  • Choreographed and improvisation experiences
  • Musicality
  • Fun teacher led cool-down and stretch
  • Dance energises
  • Improves your co-ordination and rhythm
  • Increased confidence and self-awareness


Salma has worked with all key stages including playgroups, nurseries right through to university level.

Salma is happy to accommodate 30 children per 45 mins session (can do more but please discuss this with her so she can organise this appropriately).


Salma’s Books

Bollywood Princess

Milli dreams about becoming a Bollywood princess. She wants to appear in a Bollywood dance show, like the ones she had seen on television. As she attends her first Bollywood dance class, she wonders whether she will become a Bollywood princess. Will she be wearing the Bollywood crown? Will her dreams come true?


HELP!!! I can’t dance without my Bhangra pants!

Amaan is a little boy with Autism who was enjoying his Bhangra dance class, but he constantly slipped and tripped over. All he ever wanted was some magic to help him dance so he could win the trophy at the dance contest. One day, he discovered a pair of Bhangra dance pants and the most magical things began to happen. Amaan begins to dance. Roberta also wanted to win the trophy and since there could only be one winner, she came up with a horrid plan. Will Amaan be able to find his Bhangra moves and grooves? Or will he cry “HELP!!! I can’t dance without my Bhangra pants!”



To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Salma, 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

Matt Oldfield

Matt Oldfield is the co-author of the Ultimate Football Heroes series. Together with his brother Tom, Matt hatched a killer plan to write the kind of fun football books that weren’t available when they were growing up. These exciting biographies of superstar footballers including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane are a great way to engage football-mad reluctant readers. The books have been championed by literacy charities such as the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk and Read for Good, and they feature in Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader scheme. To date, the Ultimate Football Heroes series has sold over 150,000 copies in the UK alone.


For his school visits, Matt offers large assembly-style author presentations or smaller classroom workshops, or, best of all, a winning mixture of the two! In his literacy workshops (45mins-1hr each), Matt pairs up aspects of sporting life (e.g. first goals, setbacks, teamwork) with aspects of writing (e.g. setting, emotion, story structure, dialogue). Here are five of his most popular workshops, ranging from KS1 to KS3:

Matt’s Workshop

  1. Heroes

This is Matt’s KS1 workshop. The fun interactive session moves through the joys of reading and the reading ‘dream team’ (family, teachers, librarians etc.), before finishing with pupils writing about, and drawing, their heroes.

  1. First Goal Stories

This is Matt’s most popular workshop, especially in primary schools. Using Gareth Bale’s first Southampton goal as inspiration, pupils use setting and emotion to write and tell their own exciting first goal stories.

  1. Making Non-Fiction Fun

This workshop is great for classes with fewer football fans. The pupils learn about how Matt’s books combine facts with story techniques (dialogue, emotion, setting) and then have a go at writing fun non-fiction of their own.

  1. Who is the Ultimate Football Hero?

If persuasive writing is your class theme, then this is the workshop for you! The pupils pick their favourite football (or sporting) hero and then use comparatives, superlatives and evidence to argue their case. There can only be one winner!

  1. Bouncing Back from Setbacks

This is Matt’s most popular workshop in secondary schools, as it ties in nicely with PSHE themes such as resilience and growth mindset. Using Gareth Bale’s early injury problems as inspiration, pupils use description, dialogue and structure to write their own stories of bouncing back from setbacks.


Matt’s Books


The bestselling Ultimate and Classic Football Heroes series tell the stories of the largest names in football, from their humble origins to international stardom.

Delve deep into their football journeys as you discover; Kane’s road to the 2018 World Cup, how Beckham learnt to bend the ball and much, much more…

The Football Heroes series has sold over 150,000 copies in the UK and has been highly acclaimed for encouraging reluctant readers.



Recommendations & Reviews

“The children loved the workshops and were very engaged. The sessions were interactive which engaged the children and there was a good balance between listening, writing and sharing. Many of them wanted to carry on afterwards which is always a sign of success! It was lovely to see lots of boys that are normally reluctant readers/writers with their hands up and wanting to share their work!”

Nicola Taylor, Literacy Leader, Palm Bay Primary School

“The start of the presentation was fun/entertaining and seemed to hook the pupils in so they were enthusiastic about the writing section. Well-pitched for age group at ‘reluctant’ reader/writer level. Challenging yet accessible…Many commented to teachers that they really enjoyed the session. I have since had keen requests for the biographies from pupils who attended – many of whom are not normally enthusiastic about borrowing books!”

Michelle Kane, Librarian, Gleniffer High School


To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Matt, 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




Sam Angus

Sam is the award-winning and best-selling writer of Soldier Dog and other critically acclaimed books of historical fiction. Her works are published in the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa and translated into Portuguese and Italian and Chinese. She finds herself drawn again and again into stories set in either the first or second world war.

Sam was born in Italy, grew up in France and Spain and was educated rather haphazardly in most of these countries, at many different schools. She was asked to leave at least one school. She studied English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge where she kept a dog until he was discovered being smuggled out of college in a laundry basket. She was summoned and asked to leave Cambridge too. Unless the dog left, in which case she might stay. She taught A level English before spending a decade in the fashion industry and now write full time. She lives between Exmoor and London with irrational numbers of children, dogs and horses.

Sam’s School Visits

Sam has talked at schools for over a decade and is frequently asked back three or four times to the same school. She also talks at festivals, libraries and events of all kinds. She speaks happily both to small and large and very large groups. She tends to use a slide show and to talk for about fifty minutes or so before starting a Q&A session.

Sam’s books and talks appeal to both children and adults of all ages. She speaks to children of age 9 and up. She often also speaks to sixth formers, doing either history or creative writing.





Sam’s Books

Soldier Dog

Stanley’s dad hasn’t been the same since his wife died and his eldest son went off to fight in the war. Now Stanley is either invisible to his dad or the object of one of his rages, and his only friend is his dad’s prizewinning greyhound, Rocket. But one day Rocket escapes, and the result is a litter of non-thoroughbred puppies that Da says will all have to be drowned, even Stanley’s favourite puppy, Solider. Stanley is so angry with his father that he runs away and enlists in the army to train as a messenger dog handler, and despite being far too young he’s soon heading to France with a great Dane called Bones by his side.

As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the horrors of war, he comes to realise that the loyalty of his dog is the one thing he can rely on. But his father hasn’t given up on him, and extraordinary circumstances will bring them together once more . . .


A Horse Called Hero

It is 1940. As the Second World War escalates and London becomes a target for German bombs, Dodo and her horse-mad little brother Wolfie are evacuated to the country, away from everything they know. After weeks of homesick loneliness, they come across an orphaned foal. They name the horse Hero for surviving against the odds and together they raise him, train him, and learn to ride.

Their days are suddenly full of life and excitement again, but the shadow of war looms over their peaceful existence, and soon Hero must live up to his name . . .



It’s 1915 and British troops are about to sail to Gallipoli. Billy is the youngest soldier in his platoon and is teased for not being old enough to drink or shave. The truth is, at 15 he’s not old enough to be a soldier either, and he’s terrified of the war he’s about to fight. Then he meets Captain, a refugee boy, and his donkey, Hey-ho. Together they teach Billy what it means to be brave, loyal and fearless, and above all what it means to be a friend.


House on Hummingbird Island

‘We’re going to a fine place,’ Idie told Homer to console him, ‘with gullies and monkeys and hummingbirds.’

Idie Grace is twelve when she inherits a grand old house on a Caribbean island, and is sent away from grey old England to a place where hummingbirds hover and monkeys clamber from tree to tree.

As a lady of property Idie can do as she pleases, so she fills the house with exotic animals, keeps her beloved horse in the hallway, and carries a grumpy, talking cockatoo called Homer on her shoulder. But the island house holds as many secrets as it does animals, and the truth behind Idie’s inheritance is the biggest secret of all . . .


School for Skylarks

It is 1939. When Lyla is evacuated from her home in London to her great-aunt’s enormous house in the West Country, she expects to be lonely. She has never been to school nor had any friends, and her parents have been at the centre of a scandal. But with the house being used to accommodate an entire school of evacuated schoolgirls, there’s no time to think about her old life. Soon there is a horse in a first-floor bedroom and a ferret in Lyla’s sock drawer, hordes of schoolgirls have overrun the house, and Lyla finds out that friends come in all shapes and sizes.



Book Reviews


“I loved this book and read it from cover to cover without putting it down; based on a true story the horrors of war are clearly depicted as is the role of the heroic Messenger Dogs who raced between troops carrying messages, fearless and loyal under heavy artillery fire. As I read this story my heart pounded and I had a lump in my throat…truly unputdownable.”


“Prepare for your heart to melt with this wonderful heartbreaking story about a boy’s love for his dog.”


Soldier Dog’ is an emotive story of love, loyalty, courage and bravery. However it is intertwined with an evocatively harrowing portrayal of brutal trench warfare that for young (and older) readers will raise awareness, will be thought provoking, and will be inspirational.”



Sam’s books have been long and short listed many times over for the CILIP Carnegie. She won the North East Book Award for Soldier Dog & was short listed for the Branford Boase, Heart of Hawick, Centurion Award, Hampshire Book Award, Was Sussex Award, Grampian Book Award, Ealing Readers Awards, the Spell Binding book Award, the James Reckitt Award, the Calderdale Award, The Cheshire Schools Book Award, Young Quills. She has been long listed for the Redbridge Award & has won the East Lothian Lennox Author Award.



Recommendations and Reviews

“Just wanted to say a huge thank-you for your visit to our WW1 Centenary day last Friday. It was a fabulous day, and your presentations fitted perfectly with the whole ethos of the day. Students were fascinated and moved by the stories you told, and have been talking about it since. As well as the 80 books we sold on the day (wish I had ordered more), we have loaned out all 20 copies of Soldier Dog in the library catalogue – and we have a waiting list! All staff who were supervising the presentation were also very impressed. Believe you me, our year 8s can be a tough crowd, but you kept them enthralled for the whole hour.”

Ms Sally Perkins, Beauchamps High School


“Sam Angus came to our school to introduce her brilliant book ‘Soldier Dog’. The whole event was fantastic and successfully brought together different curriculum areas. She was extremely knowledgeable about the history of how messenger dogs were trained and used during World War 1 and she shared this knowledge in an accessible and captivating way to an audience of 250 pupils aged between 10 and 13. Both during and after the talk the students were given plenty of opportunities to ask Sam any questions and to have their books signed.” 

King Charles School, Kidderminster



To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Sam Angus, 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

Debra Burtulis

Debra is a published children’s poet and qualified and experienced Peripatetic Speech and Drama teacher, working in schools with all Key Stages to inspire a love of poetry and the spoken word.

Debra regularly conducts ‘Cluster School Writing Days’ at her permanent Outstanding Primary Academy in Worcestershire with enormous success.

Her stimulus is often (but not always) music which she has found is a fantastic tool for igniting the imagination, particularly first thing in the morning.

And being an experienced and qualified performance teacher, Debra really can take your pupils from the ‘page to the stage!’

Debra’s approach is flexible and humorous and aimed at helping pupils feel comfortable and relaxed.


Able Writers Workshops

Debra always begins the session with explaining the importance of having fun with words and that words are there to be used in lots of different ways.  She will also explain that actually, there are not many rules around writing poems. This revelation normally causes quite a stir!

Pupils will hear about rhyme, rhythm and punctuation, and will also discuss literary terms such as personification, alliteration etc.


A typical morning will begin with Debra reading three or four poems to the groups.

If music is used, it may be played two or three times. This could be dramatic, emotional, peaceful. Pupils are encouraged to use their senses to imagine the colours, smells and sounds the music conjures up.

Pupils will then work on their poems, redrafting if need be, whilst Debra moves amongst them.



Pupils will volunteer to read their work aloud. They will enjoy learning basic performance tips and tuition in reading with emphasis and meaning, learning the importance of posture, pausing and projection.  The self-confidence gained from this exercise really does ‘complete’ the day and can readily be called upon at any time.


*Many Schools bring along an ipad to film their pupils’ performances.

With Ofsted looking for evidence-based learning around pupils writing and performing of poetry, this is a great opportunity to capture that experience.


Debra also works with reluctant writers from Key Stage One to Four.

Paul Lyalls

All About Paul

Paul is a born performer, motivator and loves to make poetry and help others do the same, this is evident in what he has achieved. Poet in residence for the ROALD DAHL Museum 2013/2014 & Star of BBC2’s/CBBC’s ‘Big Slam poetry House’. Paul has worked & performed with Michael Rosen (on a regular basis), Arsenal FC, Benjamin Zepphaniah, Kate Tempest, George Best, Miranda Hart, Will Self, John Hegley,, Andrea Leavy & Rastamouse to name but a few. His poetry is funny and moving and his poetry workshops produce extraordinary poems from children of all ages. Paul has been poet in residence at 7 Secondary Schools and over 20 Primary Schools. His latest collection ‘Catching the cascade’ (Flipped eye KS3/adult) is available from all bookshops and Amazon & was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize. His latest Children’s collection ‘A funny Thing Happened’ With an intro by Michael Rosen, is loved by kids and people with inner kids of all ages, (available from The Big Green Book shop or Pickled Pepper Book).


In 2008, Paul was Poet for the London Borough of Brent (London’s 5th coolest Borough) and he performed at the new Wembley stadium. He has 2 poems in Michael Rosen’s New Penguin’s A-Z of the best Children’s poetry. Paul has also performed at 10 Edinburgh festivals, 1 Eton College, 5 Glastonbury’s, several shopping centres, the back of a lorry, Arsenal FC’s pitch and on a 73 Bus, which made the and finally…bit of the 6pm national news. Paul was one of the London 2012 Olympic ‘Shake the Dust’ Poets & 2012 Smile London Poets. In 2012 Paul became Poet for the London Borough of Islington’s Word Festival 2012-18, working regularly with Arsenal Football club (Yes that one) performing his poetry in their dressing room and on their pitch! He was Poet for Save The Children’s 2014 reading campaign ‘Read On Get On’ as well as being a 100th anniversary Great War Poet working with the Berkshire 7th Rifles and the Museum of Reading. He spent 2015 as poet in residence for the Museum of Oxford and wrote an official poem for Oxford ‘We didn’t start the shire’ – In 2018 Paul was poet for the Children’s Conference of Curiosity – a new way to imagine learning and he is Poet in residence for The Westway Trust and has just produced an anthology of young peoples work called ‘This is me’. Paul is always fun to work with, doesn’t complain and quite often turns up with donuts and always with a smile.

Paul believes in inspiring children from the front, he loves to start the day with a whole school or KS assembly – this shows everybody how fun, dynamic and moving poetry can be. Paul not only teaches children simple but incredibly liberating ways to write poetry but also the equally important, where poems come from.


Paul’s School Visits

Paul works with EYFS, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4 and Students with SEN.

An example of a timetable with Paul:

9am Whole school assembly

9.30 – 10.30 Workshop 1

11am – 12 workshop 2

1pm – 2pm workshop 3

2pm – 3pm workshop 4

3.15pm book-signing meet the author

Please note Paul is totally flexible about timings – whatever suits you works for him.

Paul can make classroom visits, but he also believes in inclusivity, he is happy to work with a year group at a time so that more children get access to his ideas and in the words of Lilo and Stitch, ‘no one gets left behind’.  Paul works in a way that allows very able writers to touch the stars and less able writers to reach for them and feel their heat.



Here is poem written by a KS2 child who has worked with Paul –


I place my hands, the grass  tickles.

Putting my head in the green blades.

I see clouds.

Feet outstretched, body shaking.

Curling, ready for the lift. Now I aim, legs stretch.

Extending towards the sky.

Upside down, just like the world.

Zawdito, aged 9, taken from ‘This is me’ A collection of poems from Paul’s residency with the Westway Trust/Grenfell communities


And a couple of Paul’s poems


I had that Michael Rosen in my car,

We weren’t going far,

He never stopped talking,

Net time he’s walking.

Taken from ‘A funny Thing Happened’


Their meaning, their dreaming,

the message they are streaming.

We use them to shape our lives

we use them as bribes,

to make enemies or allies,

we use them to find our tribes.

We are words.

Their story, their song

they make us listen or sing along.

They define right and wrong

always on the tip of your tongue.

We pin them to the page,

we read them to be amazed.

We are words.

They connect us, correct us

make us find one another,

yes, they collect us.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

A lie, a promise a trust.

We are words.

We dance with them through time,

they are our partners in rhyme.

Cool, cruel or kind,

the stitching in our story line

the eloquent ties that bind,

We are words.

Taken from Paul’s soon to be published collection ‘All the words a stage’


Paul has a reputation for never ever being late, he can arrive by car, plane, bus or train.  Early arrival at schools is crucial to set up the spaces and also to meet teachers and find out class requirements.  Paul will work as hard as any other staff member and fits in with the school ethos, he realises he sets an example and is a positive role model for all.


Paul’s Books

Catching the Cascade

In ‘Catching the Cascade’, his long awaited debut collection, Paul Lyalls presents verse that documents his long career as a performing poet, exploring the motifs of childhood, love, consumerism, second hand cars and his native North. His punchy, breathlessly entertaining poetry stems not just from a razor sharp wit but from his genuine love of language. “A gifted poet… his work is witty, well constructed and well delivered.” –The Stage “A talented poet, Lyalls’ works, such as ‘The Cult of Relationships’ and ‘Anatomy of a Bookshop’ provide a clever take on modern attitudes and popular culture.” –Three Weeks magazine “The quality that shines through this slim volume is a playful sense of fun… Lyalls has an unerring and endearing sense of fun.” –Patrick Neate, London Magazine


Recommendations & Reviews from previous visits

‘One of the strange things about the world around us is that we sometimes forget to notice it. Paul makes you notice it. That’s a kind of magic.’ Michael Rosen

‘Paul’s ability to make people laugh, both children and teachers, with his quirky, captivating and moving poetry is a real gift. His lightness of touch and skill with words really challenged the children’s perception of what poetry truly is and precipitated a torrent of poetic outbursts throughout the corridors of Garden House School’Mary Clare O’Neil Literacy Coordinator Garden House School

‘Just wanted to say thank you for coming yesterday. The children loved it and are still talking about it today’. Tom Rowlands, KS2 lead, Great Linford Primary School

‘Paul spent two days with us at the International School of Riga in Latvia. The children (and teachers) loved his energy, enthusiasm and inventiveness; this was particularly evident during his whole-school assembly, which had us all belly-laughing. He worked with every age group, from 3-year-olds whom he had turning rulers into aeroplanes, to 16-year-olds who, thanks to Paul’s nurturing, inspiring approach, wrote some stunning poetry of their own. Many of the children had only a very basic grasp of English but in his writing workshops Paul managed to coax out of all of them poetry they were proud of. He comes highly recommended!’  Miss Andrade, English co-ordinator

‘With 100 Year 5 children, you certainly inspired and injected enthusiasm both for the children & the staff…you allowed quirky and fun moments of their lives to be captured and it was something that children of all abilities could connect and spark from. We all loved re-reading the poems.’  Head of Year 5 Danes Hill School

“Every Teacher loved his work and laughed along with the pupils. Children were inspired to write their own poems using clever devices provided by Paul. He was equally inspiring for all age groups and his work was accessible to all children. Not only did he perform but he listened to the children too.”  Helen Ham Literacy Coordinator, William Patten School, London.

“His high quality performance skills means he is particularly adept at engaging the focus and attention of the class. His dynamism and enthusiasm means he has a great capacity to entertain and inspire young learners. His ability to help draw on their own interests when writing, has lead to the production of brilliantly original and thoughtful pieces of poetry”. Em Fairburn Kings Cross Academy, London.

‘It was an honour to host Paul for the day at Forty Hill, where his poetry and creative talking inspired and engaged our children to be creative themselves, to think outside the box and to write for pleasure. His humour, passion and enthusiasm left the children enthralled way beyond the end of the school day. We definitely want him back again!
– Josh Newham Head Teacher Forty Hill Primary School Enfield

‘Paul recently spent the day with us delivering gifted and talented workshops across the school.  Paul was inspirational, humorous and totally engaging.  He was quick to build up an excellent rapport with the children whilst mesmerising them with performances of his own poetry.  He quickly produced an interesting and creative collaborative example for the children, which acted as a form of scaffolding for them to base their own poems on.  The children were very enthusiastic both during in and after the workshops. Their class teachers have commented on their response to this opportunity and are delighted with the reluctant poems, produced in a relatively short space of time. Many parents have since been to the school to thank us and comment on how much their children enjoyed the experience.’
– Linda Williams Assistant Head Fielding Primary School, Ealing, London


To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Paul, 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




Kimba wrote his first significant piece of poetry at age 11. He didn’t realise how significant it would become until his mother discovered it in his bedroom. It was a piece expressing his discontent about issues at home. It was at this point he discovered the power of the written word. However it wasn’t until he received a full scholarship to study at University he would realise the necessity of creative writing and performance as facilitators of his personal growth and achievement. As a full scholarship student athlete from a challenging family background creative writing became his go to outlet for grasping a narrative that empowered him to enjoy life to it’s fullest.

Since finding his voice in poetry & performance he has worked with several well known schools, charities, organisations, & corporations including but not limited to:

The Victoria & Albert Museum Poetic History, The Fairbridge Organization, Kompany Malakhi Creative Arts in Poetry/Rap/Theatre/Improv (Bristol/London/ Birmingham), Tulse Hill Estate Children’s Poetry/Rap Project, Haringey Council Youth Songwriting Lyrics Session, Brent Council Youth Songwriting Lyrics Session, Just Breathe London (Poetry Meditation), Wanderlust UK, Cancer Research UK, Veridian House Corporation.

In addition to working with schools, community, & prestigious organisations Kimba has also released two hip hop albums that have received strong praise and support from but not limited to: Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 6, Chuck D of Public  Enemy, DJ Jazzy Jeff (from the Fresh Prince), DJ Premier, and Pos Da Nous of De La Soul. His music has also been featured in a film production in the United States.




Kimba’s poetry & creative writing sessions are generally an hour long consisting of an intro or warm up period, followed by the creative writing session, then a performance or sharing session. Sessions can be longer if needed. All sessions require paper and writing instruments. In each session Kimba’s adheres to the brief set out by the school, then helps participants identify their inspirations and challenges, then discover the connection between the two through an enthusiastic and exciting creative writing process. It finishes with a performance or a voluntary sharing of participants work for them to discover the joy of sharing their creativity and how it can positively affect themselves and others.

Sessions can accommodate anywhere from 5 – 35 students.


Reviews and Testimonials

“I just wanted to personally thank you for that amazing moment you gave London on the stage. Really is was incredibly powerful and deep – my vibe completely and the perfect fit for Wanderlust.”

Alan Steel, Managing Director
Wanderlust UK/Southern Europe


“Thank you for delivering a highly engaging, entertaining and informative session. The feedback from the session was very positive.”

Anthony Wilkes, Equality Diversity Inclusion Manager

Cancer Research UK


“I would like to say thank you for the performance at the Mayor’s Tea Party on Friday 20th April 2018. Please thank Kimba his performance was wonderful and really got our event started. We have had nothing back except positive comments about your performance so thank you on behalf of the Partnerships and Engagement Team, Brent Council.”

Shane Lawrence, Policy Officer, Brent Council

“I have had the pleasure of seeing Kimba inspire adults and children through the spoken word and
music on several occasions.

Three events stick in my mind above the many others. Kimba worked with the Harrow Fairtrade Campaign and grassroots Community Organisation BTWSC to capture the essence of the strategy to become a Fairtrade borough. He produced a catchy song, “It takes two” with meaningful lyrics
which was published as a CD. It was used as a backdrop to an event in the town centre during Fairtrade fortnight 2012in front of two Mayors, the Mayor of Harrow and the Mayor of Douai, Harrow’s twin town . I believe this was a critical part of the borough achieving Fairtrade Borough
status in 2014 at the end of my mayoral year. The second was a workshop with young people during African History Month when he worked with them and helped them produce a piece which they performed with his support in front of an intergenerational audience. “Pass it on” encouraged
everyone to look at the legacy we have received and the duty we have to pass it on to the next generation. The third was an environmental workshop with young people where he got them to produce lyrics capturing Brent’s campaign to love where you live. It was interesting watching his
channel creative talent from the usual run of the mill love lyrics to thoughtful words about keeping the neighbourhood clean.

I have no hesitation in recommending Kimba for any work he has been engaged to do. He has a positive, infectious spirit which encourages those in his workshops to give of their best.”

Ms Nana Asante
Mayor of Harrow (2013 – 2014)


“I have no hesitation in recommending Kimba.

Over the years he has successfully engaged young people on BTWSC and Music 4 Causes workshops to produce lyrics on a variety of topics including African History, Recycling, Peace, Fairtrade, and the Environment.

The ‘Look Around (The Environment)’ song was written by young people at a workshop facilitated by Kimba and BTWSC project programmer Kwaku, and was performed at an event attended by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and received excellent feedback.

Kimba has a positive way of engaging young people and bringing out the best in them. He will be an asset to any organisation working with young people and adults.”

Awula Serwah
BTWSC Co-Ordinator and Brent Community Champion

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Kimba, 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

Inbali Iserles

Inbali Iserles is an award-winning writer and an irrepressible animal lover. She is one of the team of authors behind the New York Times bestselling Survivors series, writing under the pseudonym of Erin Hunter. Her first book, The Tygrine Cat, won the 2008 Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year Award. Together with its sequel, The Tygrine Cat: On the Run, it was listed among The Independent’s “50 books every child should read.”
Inbali attended Sussex and Cambridge Universities. For many years she lived in central London, where a fascination with urban foxes inspired her Foxcraft trilogy. She lives in Cambridge with her family, including her principal writing mascot, Michi, who looks like an Arctic fox, acts like a cat, but is in fact a dog.

Foxcraft has been translated into approximately 10 languages.

Inbali’s School Visits

Inbali is happy to run usually 3 or occasionally 4 assemblies a day. The sessions will introduce her, her love of animals and her passion for stories. She will walk the students through her inspiration for Foxcraft and encourage them to identify with animals and the nature around them, before opening the session up for questions. Scholastic have prepared bookmarks, postcards and badges that Inbali gives out as awards for insights and questions. She has found that this helps ensure a high level of student participation!

Inbali loves talking to a large group of students and enthusing them about books and reading! Her philosophy is “the bigger the better” and she’s comfortable speaking to entire year groups from ages 8 to 12 (KS2 and KS3). A typical session is approximately an hour long but Inbali is very happy to be flexible. Inbali keeps her sessions interactive, usually with time for a Q&A at the end and book signings. To increase buy-in and excitement, Inbali loves tying in the sessions with other activities, such as a competition to draw the best fantasy animal, or a short story contest with animal heroes. Inbali is happy to liaise with schools to ensure that the event or events are best suited to their needs.

Requirements for the day

In terms of requirements, Inbali usually only asks for projector linked to a computer with internet access, so that she can highlight key elements of the Foxcraft world via, such as my illustrations of the crafts, the map

 and the glossary


Inbali’s Books

 Foxcraft 1: The Taken

Isla and her brother are two young foxes living just outside the lands of the furless — humans. The life of a fox is filled with dangers, but Isla has begun to learn mysterious skills meant to help her survive.

Then the unthinkable happens. Returning to her den, Isla finds it set ablaze and surrounded by strange foxes, and her family is nowhere in sight. Forced to flee, she escapes into the cold, grey world of the furless.

Now Isla must navigate this bewildering and deadly terrain, all while being hunted by a ruthless enemy. In order to survive, she will need to master the ancient arts of her kind – magical gifts of cunning known only to foxes. She must unravel the secrets of foxcraft.


Foxcraft 2: The Elders

Isla’s search for her missing brother, Pirie, has brought her to the vast Wildlands. The forest is a treacherous place for a fox cub, but Isla is talented in foxcraft — ancient arts of cunning known only to her kind.
Skilled though she is, Isla’s grasp of foxcraft is still new. And she’s not alone… A cruel and mysterious fox stalks the forest, with the power to enslave others to his will. In order to survive, Isla must learn to trust in the rustic Wildlands foxes.
But there are tales of others – a council of Elders who are masters of foxcraft, and who warily guard its most potent secrets. If Isla wishes to master her gifts and find her brother, then the Elders may be her only hope.


Foxcraft 3: The Mage

Isla has arrived at the frigid Snowlands to find her lost brother, Pirie. The tundra is a harsh place — and the wolves who live within its icy kingdoms are harsher still — but Isla’s flair for the mysterious arts of foxcraft has grown tremendously.

The young fox is on a mission of grave importance. A cruel and powerful fox known as the Mage is using his own mastery of foxcraft to summon an ancient threat. If he succeeds, then more than just Pirie’s life will be at stake.

But Isla discovers the once-proud wolves are broken and wary. Their king is weak, struck by a peculiar madness, and a rival kingdom threatens their borders. If Isla can’t find help amongst the wolves, then the whole world will burn.



Reviews of Inbali’s Books

“Vivid details, intriguing characters, and a riveting plot are smoothly executed in this exciting new series. Beautifully rendered and magical.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review (in full:

“Clearly Inbali Iserles is absurdly talented, because the delightful drawings at each chapter head are her own. She has created haunting characters, a thoroughly exciting quest story and an enticing mystery. And she has combined those with descriptive writing that can raise the hairs on the back of your neck.”Awfully Big Reviews (in full:

“Iserles takes the actual habits and attributes of real foxes and mixes in magic and a complex social structure. Well-crafted fantasy of the furry kind.” – School Library Journal

“A new epic animal fantasy that will make you love foxes, see the furless in a whole new way, and wish you could use fox magic like slimmering, too. Perfect for fans of Warriors and Guardians of Ga’Hoole.”Tui T. Sutherland, New York Times bestselling author of the Wings of Fire series

“Kids will love this underdog (underfox) story.”Geeks of Doom


To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Inbali, 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

Patrick Ryan

Patrick is an experienced storyteller who tells  traditional folk and fairy tales. His repertoire also includes  ghost stories, legends, myths, riddles, rhymes, singing games, and finger/movement games. Patrick can recite stories from all around the world but the majority of tales he’s collected from Irish, British and Midwestern America traditions.

An enthusiastic and engaging speaker, Patrick is able to work with children aged 3 upwards – all the way to adulthood.


Patrick’s achievements and experiences:

• Fellow of the English Association (2006 to present)

• Writer-in-Residence, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture (CCWOC), University of Manitoba, Winnepeg, Canada. 2011

• Storyteller, Writer-in-Schools programme, Poetry Ireland, 1994 to present

• Storyteller-in-Residence, International Storytelling Center, Jonesborouogh, Tennessee, USA. 2004

• Mentor for the Writers-in-Schools programme, Poetry Ireland. 2004 to present

• Storyteller-in-Residence (lead artist) for Kick into Reading, a literacy project that trained professional footballers and coaches tell stories to children to promote pleasure reading and library use, run initially by Oxfordshire Libraries (1999-2001) and then National Literacy Trust in clubs throughout England and Wales (2001-2011)

• Storyteller in Residence for Centro Internazionale Studi, Veneto, Italy. 1991 to present

• Storyteller in Residence, Moscow Children’s Book Fair. 2012

• Research Fellow, George Ewart Evans for Storytelling (GEECS), University of South Wales, 2007-2017

• Bursary Storyteller, Armstrong Storytelling Bursary (serving all libraries in N Ireland), 2017 to present

• Numerous publications in both peer-reviewed and professional journals, on storytelling, folklore, narrative and cognition, storytelling and literacy, storytelling and creative writing, storytelling and literature.

• Resident storyteller for various projects and festivals since 1989 to present: Verbal Arts Centre (Derry); Writing Together Project (NAWE); Scottish Storyteling Centre; National Literacy Trust; Discover Story Centre; the Ark, Dublin; University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; International Schools, including Brussels, Washington DC, Paris, Milan, Bologna, Como, Treviso, Frankfurt, Munich, Bavarian, Luxembourg, Zurich, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Nice, Valencia, Hong Kong, Marymount, and Chicago; Folk & Storytelling Festivals including: Wild Onion (Chicago) Illinois State, Sidmouth Whitby, Towersey, Warwick, Broadstairs, Chippenham, Festival at the Edge, Cape Clear, Amsterdam International School, Farmleagh Storytelling Festival (Dublin), What’s the Story at Old Mother Recap’s (Dublin), Siamsa MacManus (Donegal), Béal Oscailte (Kiltimagh, Mayo), Ulster Storytelling Festival, Yarn Storytelling Festival (Bray), Scottish Storytelling Festival, Chicago Folk Festival; New Salem Folk Festival, Giorraíonn Beirt Bóthar (Derry)

• Regular Conference Speaker and Workshop Leader since 1989 to present for: ECIS; YLG; Early Childhood Association; Early Excellence; UKLA; Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago), IBBY UK, IBBY Ireland, IBBY Congress (Spain, UK, Greece), National Literacy Trust, Poetry Out Loud (USA), Association of Chief Librarians, British Council, NATE, NAWE.

• Training, Consultancy, Research Reports: Storytelling in Ireland: A Reawakening (report on current state of storytelling in all of Ireland, published by VAC, commissioned by Minister for Culture Michael D Higgins); Still Spellbound: Story Times in Welsh Museums Libraries and Archives, (for CyMAL); Accredited Courses in Storytelling (CyMAL; University of South Wales; Coasts and Glens OCN, Antrim), International School of Brussels Summer School, Vale of Glamorgan Libraries, CAT-Childrens’ books And Talk (Staff enrichment programme for Oldham Libraries, improving staff’s product knowledge of children’s books via a reading-group scheme), Early Excellence courses, Thames Valley Early Childhood Centre inset-days, Greenfield School District, Wisconsin inset-days, Springfield School District, Illinois inset-days, Neighborhood Bridges/Minneapolis Children’s Theatre/Univeristy of Minnesota Summer Conference and Summer Course (a projct that was originated by Jack Zipes and George Soros)



Examples of suggested formats for a visit from Patrick:

Sample one:  One-day residency.  4 45-60 minute long sessions for 60 to 100 listeners of around the same age; in each session different stories and word activities are told. For nursery and KS1 classes, usually 3 to 4 traditional folktales are told, accompanied by participatory singing, rhyming, movement and/or finger play games; for KS2, 3 and 4 classes usually 3-4 traditional folktales, legends, myths and/or ghost stories are told, along with riddles. Patrick has over 700 traditional stories to choose from in his repertoire, so he has plenty of material for all ages, topics, seasons and themes.  The traditional stories come from many cultures around the world. In a one-hour session Patrick generally presents a mix of genres and sources, so there is story that is an unknown variant of a well know fairy tale, a story with a strong female protagonist, a story from another culture, and a story with some form of participation.

Sample two:  If a school is so large that Patrick can’t see all the students over 4 sessions, then we schedule a 20-25 minute session for nursery, and then 5 30-35 minute sessions for groups of 60-100; or, if the school is still too large and wants Patrick to see all students then we suggest booking a two day visit, with either the 4 45-60 minute session format or the 6 30-35 minute session format.


Sample three:  Workshops.  Sometimes schools book a full day of workshops, instead of a full day of storytelling sessions, or book 2 storytelling sessions for 60 to 100 listeners and then 2 workshops.  Workshops in a full-day or half-day format are 60 minutes long and for a maximum of 30 participants (one class).  Workshops have different content and formats:

Generally all workshop use storytelling and oral activities that engage the entire group.

Teacher presence and participation is necessary to allow meaningful follow up and extension of the activities in the workshop

Workshops can focus on how to tell stories, on topic work, or creative writing:

  1. How to tell stories—activities include focusing on how to visualise, how to use rhythm and repetition, and short simple stories are modelled and the students re-tell them; pupils work in pairs; if it’s an extended workshop (two hours or more, or series of one hour workshops) then some or all of the participants tell stories to the entire group. This is for year 3 through adult.
  2. Creative writing—activities are based upon or drawn from Gianni Rodari’s The Grammar of Fantasy, collaborations with Jack ZIpes and Maria Asp’s Neighborhood Bridges project with Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Early Childhood Conferences with June Counsel, and activities created by Patrick as a teacher or artist in residence participating in projects with the VAC, NAWE, NLT, IBBY, and the Discover Centre. So these may be exercises like The Fantastic Binominal, JC’s story circle, MORERAPS, The Story Hand, What If.., Yes-And, Surreal Stories, Story Mapping, Collaborative Writing.  In a one-hour workshop the content is usually a visualisation activity, one activity like the Fantastic Binominal, and then 10 minutes of focused writing with a countdown technique, and sharing of stories or poems. Patrick has creative writing workshops for year 1 through adult
  3. Topic work—Again, activities are based upon storytelling and oral activities similar to how-to-tell and writing workshops. Topics may focus upon: a specific Shakespeare play (The Tempest, As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew have been the most common); another work of literature (especially Dickens, and in Italy works by Yeats, Synge, Shaw, Joyce, Beckett and Heaney); a period of history (most common: Vikings, Tudors, Victorians, Egyptians, WWI, WWII, Irish Famine); or a ‘multicultural’ or ‘cross community’ topic (a specific country, a theme like peace, war, the environment).
  4. Pre-service and In-service training (Teachers, classroom assistants, librarians, library assistants, sports coaches) and Parent/Family workshops and talks. Patrick has a long history of providing training for educators and community leaders on how to develop their storytelling and use storytelling in the classroom, in formal and informal educational settings, and also how to teach creative writing and literature appreciation.  Patrick also has less formal programmes for parents’ nights and family workshops.  These usually are scheduled either as twilight sessions after school or in the evening after a full day working with the students (1 to 2 hours long), half-day or full-day workshops (usually for inset or professional days or conferences), and for a 2 or 3-day long course (9.30-3.30 pm with breaks).  Accredited courses can also be provided through the George Ewart Evans Centre for storytelling, and consist of a one-day course with required pre- and post-course work for accreditation. Patrick finds the 2-3 day unaccredited course or the one-day accredited course the most effective for developed sustained storytelling practices in libraries and classrooms.


Patrick’s Book

Shakespeare’s Storybook

Shakespeare’s Storybook: folktales that inspired the bard. With Illustrations by James Mayhew. Published by Barefoot Books

A collection of stories that inspired seven of Shakespeare’s best-known plays includes tales of adventure, love, destiny, and magic.


Reviews for Shakespeare’s Storybook

“A spirited celebration of the English pastoral, full of flight and movement and colour” TES


“This is a book to read cover to cover, to dip into, and to return to time and again.”
Children’s Books Ireland–INIS


“These tales are beautifully told and the folk tales have been painstakingly researched” Education Observer


Feedback from Storytelling Performances:

“Patrick Ryan, a long time favourite, is very much a main man of the British storytelling scene.”

Alan Bearman, director, Sidmouth Folk Festival


“A wonderful storyteller!”

Sonia Ritter, Director of the Lion’s part Theatre Company (producers of Twelfth Night, May Games and October Plenty festivals at the Globe, Bankside, Borough Market and The George Inn)


“Great way to start the new year: lots of fabulous moments with inspiring stories”

School Librarian


“The kids loved it.”

Education Officer, River Island Arts Centre


“Your events are really fabulous.”

County Librarian, Ireland



Feedback from courses and workshops:

“Pat was clear and concise in his facilitating. I learned a lot.”

“Great presentation, interesting and challenging”

“Pat Ryan is an entertainment; he has a great knowledge of the history of storytelling, as well as an interesting background and training”

“Lots of variety, interesting suggestions, plenty of references to follow-up”

“Beautifully structured and a great body of material covered”

“Pat was awesome, I learned a lot and developed”

“Pat really knows his craft and gave a good mix of information and exercises”.

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Patrick Ryan, 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


Steve Webb

Steve is an author and illustrator of children’s books; both picture books and young fiction. Steve is also an Ambassador for the National Young Writers’ Awards 2018.


Steve’s latest book ‘Spangles McNasty and the Diamond Skull’ was published in May 2018. This is the third in the Spangles McNasty series for 7-11 year olds. The first in the series, ‘Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold’ was nominated for the Lancashire Fantastic Book Award 2017 and was also long-listed for the Branford Boase Award 2016.


Steve’s School Visits

A school visit can consist of any combination of presentations and creative writing sessions. These can be tailored for KS2 or KS1 focusing on Steve’s young fiction and picture books.

A 1 hour talk to a large group revolves around Steve’s latest Spangles McNasty book with a powerpoint presentation, interactive elements, writing advice and a Q and A.

The talk discusses the characters in the series, where the Spangles idea originated and shows the writing process from initial idea to printed book, highlighting the creative, editing, design and illustrating processes. This also shows how Steve works on several projects at the same time, all at different stages of development.

The presentation consists of a variety of elements from outright bonkers to serious writing tips, all intended to inspire young readers.
AND there’s a song in the middle with volunteers and prizes!


Creative writing workshops for smaller groups of around 30.
For KS2:

A character based session, discussing the importance of strong characters in fiction and some of the methods Steve uses when developing his own characters. The pupils then invent a new villain character of their own and either write a short scene involving this new character, or alternatively, write a letter from the new character to themselves.

A script based session, discussing the importance of character and dialogue in both screen writing and books and the recent growth in TV or screen entertainment with channels like Netflix and Amazon. The session is to write scenes for a new TV drama for CBBC. Students will need a title and a few scenes to ‘pitch’ their show to the commissioning editor (class teacher) at the end of the session.

Talk as a group about possible characters for the show. In small groups the pupils continue this, writing details of a few characters for the show – names and descriptions. Selecting their strongest characters they then write short scenes for them. Perform / read out scenes.

For KS1:

Picture books and poetry, rhythm and rhyme. Showing some of Steve’s own picture books and others and discussing the difficulty of writing a story with a very limited number of words and the added problems of making it rhyme and giving it rhythm. Together, read, clamp and stamp through Tanka Tanka Skunk. Steve will suggest a subject for a poem / rhyming story, together the class lists words that could be used for this.
They then split into small teams to write a short rhythmic rhyming story for a picture book (or part of one in the time frame). Perform these in front of the class in small groups with an accompanying drummer (bongo) or clapping class.

Preferred age range:
7-11yrs For young fiction focussed presentations and writing sessions.
5-7yrs For picture book presentations and poetry sessions.

Maximum number in any one session:
Talks to large groups of 200-300. Workshop sessions with smaller classroom sized groups of up to 30

No of sessions per day:
Usually 1 talk to a large a group plus 3 classroom sized sessions in a full day.
Or a different combination – for example 2 presentations – KS1 and KS2 plus 2 classroom sized sessions

Session Length:
Talk to large group 1 hour. Workshop sessions 1 hour

Steve holds Public Liability insurance.

Steve’s Books


Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold

Welcome to Bitterly Bay. Spangles McNasty has decided to spend his summer doing what he loves the most: shouting at babies, pulling faces at old ladies, eating cold chips from bins and best of all, collecting other people’s spangly things!
Having convinced themselves that goldfish are made of gold and that they grow to the size of whales, Spangles and his friend Sausage-face Pete decide to find the great Fish of Gold. They’ll be rich forever!
Only young Freddie Taylor can stop Spangles’ dastardly plan, in a tale full of time-travelling jet skis, madcap chases and haunted custard. It is a tale so odd, your mind-cogs will jam with happiness for ever after!

Spangles McNasty and the Tunnel of Doom

Spangles McNasty is horrible to everyone and likes to do vile things like eat cold chips out of bins and pull faces at old ladies. And would you believe it, Spangles has inherited a rollercoaster called the Tunnel of Doom! But when Spangles and his bonkers friend Sausage-face Pete go to see it, they soon realise it’s a good for nothing piece of junk. If they want to make any lovely money from it, they’ll need to do some hard work and repair it.
Spangles won’t stand for that, and soon his devious mind-cogs are a-whirring, and he comes up with a dastardly plot to get rich quick. Yet again, it’s up to local boy Freddie Taylor to chase Spangles on the rickety old rollercoaster and stop him in his tracks!

Spangles McNasty and the Diamond Skull

Spangles McNasty is a right horrid scallywag who likes to do yucky things like eat cold chips out of bins and fart in libraries. So it’s no surprise that when the legendarily famous and very sparkly Diamond Skull pirate hat comes to Bitterly Bay Museum, Spangles and his best mate Sausage-face Pete want to get their thieving fingers on it. But they haven’t reckoned on local boy and all-round good egg Freddie Taylor and his cunning plan to mix things up with a clever hat trick…

Laugh-out-loud silliness with zany pictures from Chris Mould make this story perfect for fans of Mr Gum and Tom Gates!



Tanka Tanka Skunk

Meet Tanka, the elephant and his friend Skunka. Say their names together and they SOUND LIKE DRUMS! Tanka, Skunka, Tanka, Skunka, Tanka Tanka Skunk! They have lots of friends for you to meet, so say their names to the Tanka Skunka beat! Lemurs, llamas, zebras, badgers, caterpillars, big GORILLAS and yakety, yakety yaks. The book takes the reader on a veritable roller-coaster ride of sights and sounds as animals leap and dance across the brightly coloured pages. Terrific fun to read aloud one to one with a small child, and an absolute riot for group activities.

Happy Zappa Cat

Happy Zappa Cat loves driving his cab through the city, visiting museums and eating at fancy restaurants. But then he makes some new friends who convince him to join him in their wild home. But can a city kitty learn to love the jungle?


Join Tigerbear as he hops from rock to rock, swishes through tall grass and splishes through mud! Come and play hide and seek with Tigerbear and his new friend in a dark, dark cave . . . Is there really a scary monster? It’s up to Tigerbear to save the day!

Bigger Digger

Part of the My First Picture Book series: perfect for every toddler to help encourage language skills, understanding, enjoyment and sharing. These books are a bridge between board books and picture books; printed on toddler-tough card with rounded corners.

Big lorry, quarry lorry, splish, spash, MUCK. Quarry lorry, BIG lorry, slip, slide stuck!
So begins a disastrous day at the quarry, as lorry, truck and little digger all find themselves stuck in the mud. Can Bigger Digger save the day?

This is a tongue-twisting, rhyming romp that will have little readers shouting out the words!

Rocket Racers

Space rocket, race racket, race to the moon, rocket racers to your places, ready, steady, ZOOM!

So begins this rip-roaring race of a read, and the action doesn’t stop until the three lovable dinosaurs reach the finish line. But who will make it there first?

This is a wonderful action-packed story that children and parents will race through again and again!

Polly Jean Pyjama Queen

Polly Jean Pyjama Queen has the wildest pyjamas you have ever seen! She loves wild animals and wonders what they wear when they go to bed. So she invites them to her WILD WORLD PYJAMA PARTY with a prize for the best pair.

With a hilarious text and simple flaps that magically reveal each animal’s wacky pyjamas, this glorious, vibrant picture book is a bedtime joy.


Wally the penguin works in a welly shop. He makes all sorts of wellies – red ones, yellow ones, fish ones and star ones. Can he help Bertie the Polar Bear to design a pair of wellies that will win the fashion show?

Too Hot to Stop

The desert is too hot to stand still, so Hoppit and his friends keep moving. As more and more animals join, who knows where they’re going to end up! It’s a big surprise for everyone except the snake and eagle, who try to warn them what’s ahead…Join in the rhythm and rhyme of the animal parade in this poem, written and illustrated by Steve Webb.


Reviews and Testimonials:

“Steve Webb’s talks are funny, engaging and brilliantly interactive. He makes the idea of imagination fun and immersive and really brings language to life with a unique mix of jokes, stories and songs. Underpinning this are ideas about characters, setting and the building blocks of stories and writing. It’s fantastic seeing how well Steve manages to capture the minds of his young readers and the impact his visits have on reading with countless children immediately burying their heads deep in the pages of his books immediately after the visit. What a star!”
Jake Hope, Reading development and children’s book consultant. Chair of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judging panel 2018.

“We’ve had events with Steve Webb at Edinburgh International Book Festival over the last two years, both as part of the festival and in our outreach programme. His events are always great – interactive, motivational and hilarious – and really popular with children, who go away inspired to read and write themselves.”

Catherine Jones, Edinburgh Book Festival. August 2017.


“Steve was brilliant!! His energy and enthusiasm infected the whole of our juniors (years 3 – 6) and they were very reluctant to leave the world of Spangles McNasty (and jam of course). His events were funny, energetic, entertaining and very informative. Steve gave a lot of time to each individual pupil when signing books for them – in fact if you put all the signed comments together there would be enough to create another Spangles McNasty book!  In his creative writing sessions, pupils were keen to create characters to ‘out-nasty’ Spangles McNasty – Steve was really good at inspiring and encouraging our Year 4s – they came away from the sessions with the biggest smiles on their faces!
Overall – he was soooopa!
Thank you Steve – we all had a lot of fun and I wish I had that much energy!”

Liz Annetts, School Librarian, Northwood College for Girls, London. Oct 2017.


“The children loved Steve’s assembly. Children from Reception to Year 6 enjoyed learning about his inspiration for writing and had a great
insight into how he creates the fantastic characters for his books which really sparked their imagination. Spangles McNasty was already
a favourite in school so it was really good for the children to meet the author.
They could not wait to have their books signed and were really enthusiastic to start reading. We have had great feedback from parents on how the visit has encouraged the children in their reading and writing.

Steve then worked with Key Stage 2 children throughout the day where the focus was on creative writing , getting involved in character creation, scene setting, poetry writing and script writing.

Everyone had an amazing day that highlighted the schools commitment to reading for pleasure and creative writing.”

Debbie Holt, Librarian. Visiting Lum Head Primary School Manchester, Oct 2017.


Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold
dottie969 AMAZON – 10 May 2016
Brilliant, clever, irreverent and fun. Inspiring for reluctant readers.
If you count my wrinkles (read the book to find out more about this new science of aging people…) I’m well into my old age and I laughed all the way through this book. I actually bought it for my daughter but started flicking through it to have a little look see and found I flicked and flicked until I got to the very last page. It’s just brilliant bonkers fun and has an irreverent way with language that I love and want my children to inherit. It also contains the best ever description of fog ever – look out for it.

I have now handed it over to my daughter who is killing herself laughing whilst reading it. I normally have to nag her to read but she seems to need no encouragement with this one… Thanks to the author Steve Webb – books like this little gem don’t come along that often. I recommend it heartily.


To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Steve Webb, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please call +44 (0) 1535 656015 or email Trevor Wilson at