Showing posts from September, 2015

The Writers' Creative Journey

I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, a discussion with three writers who have all come out of the Bath Spa University MA in Writing for Young People course... I had the worry it was just going to be a plug for the course. It was, but only because the three authors were so inspiring that if they'd had a sign up sheet outside I think everyone would have run out shouting "shut up and take my money!" The discussion was run by Ben Horslen who is an editorial director of Penguin Random House children's books. He was excellent, just as engaged as the writers and came out with some interesting points as well. Sally Nicholls  was very different to the way I pictured her... it's horribly judgmental of me I know, but I guess I always pictured someone older, I googled her this morning and she's 32... only a youngster. She's a wonderfully animated speaker and spoke with such enthusiasm about, well, everything to be honest! One of the surprising

Diversity: The Daily Telegraph Debate

Lorna Bradbury, Daily Telegraph's book reviews editor, talks to acclaimed writers, Liz Kessler ( Read Me Like A Book ), Bali Rai ( (Un)arranged Marriage ) and Shannon Cullen from Penguin Random House about the need for diversity in children's books and what that really means. No topic is off limits. I've included the description of this Bath Children's Literature Festival event because as was admitted on the stage, it wasn't really a debate, more of a discussion as all the panelists had the same view. Simply summed up, the consensus is yes we need more diversity, but the real question is where does that diversity need to come from? I'll just pick up on a couple of the topics mentioned, other wise I'll end up waffling for ages on this topic. Encouraging creative writing. There are stories of people who read books to their kids and realised that if they wanted diversity they were going to have to write it themselves. As sad as it is to hear this it i

Bath Picks: Sarah Crossan, Sarah Benwell and Virginia Bergin

So I made my first visit to the Bath Children's Literature Festival and saw three great YA authors talking about their books. There are lots of events to see over this week and as soon as I saw Virginia Bergin's name on this one it had to be my first pick. I read both of her books from Netgalley, cover to cover without wanting to stop, and YA books are just a fantastic area of fiction. First thing I'll note... to be a good YA author you have to have wonderful boots... evidently! Each author has a very different style, and a very different manner. Sarah Crossan is an exceptional speaker, confident and a little bit wacky. I will admit that contemporary/family fiction is not generally my thing, but hearing Sarah talk about this one made me have a change of heart. Listening to her process was very interesting, and some readers will be happy to know that you don't necessarily have to do much research to bring a book to life [although we really do appreciate it wh

What Comes Of Being A Grownup

Sometimes life doesn't quite go the way you'd hope. The things you always wanted to do, the people you always wanted to meet, the books you always wanted to read... sometimes that life gets dealt to someone else. For this leading lady this couldn't be more true, living off her earnings as a psychic and the odd hand job, tell the punters what they want and you can make a good wage. Enter Susan Burke, she's moved into a Victorian house and ever since things haven't been quite the same. Could something be inhabiting her house, and her stepson Miles? One things for sure, there could be a lot of money to be had. But there's a catch, when our psychic goes to the house she feels it too, like something is watching... waiting... I started writing this review three times, it was so difficult to know where to start, mainly because I finished it and couldn't put my thoughts together... "Wait, what? Oooooohhh. It can't be, could it?" There were

Childhood Comic Capers

I was shocked during the week to discover that they've re-done Danger Mouse... what the frickety frack?! Why? Why would you do that when the original was so good?! The only redeeming feature is that Stephen Fry is Colonel K. This got me thinking of other things that have been re-made. You've got some dubious Rainbow Brite reboot, that I thankfully haven't seen and the Alvin & the Chipmunks movies. I went back to my childhood and searched through for some classic children's TV. I made a list of 86 classic things I remember. Most of the more modern ones stand up to the test of time. But re-watching old ones can be a mistake... a couple of weeks ago I watched an episode of Sharky & George... what a mistake. On the complete opposite, the very old ones [in comparison] stand up well too. So too my list of children's TV that I could watch now. Batfink - Seemingly a lot of TV for family in this era works with the classic dynamic duo saving everything line. And

The Hunted Became The Hunter

Finally after the confusion and trickery of Netgalley and Hot Key Books I finally managed to read Trollhunters. 1969 San Bernardino, California. 190 missing children. After a year of devastated families it stops with as much mystery as it began. Jim Sturges' brother Jack was the last child to go missing, and he's never forgotten the terrible sight under the bridge. "Nothing but black. But then the black moved." Cue Jim Sturges Jnr, son of Jim Sturges and nephew of Jack Sturges. He's stumbling through life not rocking the boat, until he meets a very familiar stranger. --- There are some wonderful pieces of description and you really feel immersed in the atmosphere and connected with the characters. When Jack goes missing while out on his bike the terror feels incredibly real. The milk cartons featuring pictures of the local missing children swirl around in the darkness and Jim clutches his plastic ray gun as if it could really save him, a