Related to: 'Mad About: Swimming'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Emmy Laybourne

Emmy Laybourne is, in her own words, ‘a writer, teacher and a recovering character actress’ who lives in upstate New York with her husband ‘and two surprisingly well-mannered children’. Here she talks to Graham Marks, on Skype, about how she became a writer, the highs and lows of starting out on a writing career, and her novel, Monument 14.

Adam Blade

Adam Blade is the name for a small collective of authors who have been writing the bestselling series Beast Quest and Sea Quest for ten years! Beast Quest has now sold over 10 million copies. The newest series from the Adam Blade team is called Team Hero. You can find out more about all these amazing adventures at the series websites: beastquest.co.uk and teamherobooks.co.uk

Anna Claybourne

Anna Claybourne has written over 150 children's books on all kinds of subjects, from sharks, black holes and splitting the atom to how to draw, Shakespeare's life, and Greek myths and legends. She knows a lot about conservation in the rain forests of Costa Rica as she once volunteered there for three months. She likes space, sewing and music, plays the trombone and loves going camping.

Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a Golden Globe-winning actor. He was honored as a member of the TIME 100, Time magazine's annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, and his books include Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, the books of the Land of Stories series: The Wishing Spell, The Enchantress Returns, A Grimm Warning and Beyond the Kingdoms, and the companion books The Mother Goose Diaries, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty, The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales and The Curvy Tree.

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is the author and the illustrator of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once book series, and the author of the Emily Brown picture books, illustrated by Neal Layton. How to Train Your Dragon has sold over 8 million books worldwide in 38 languages. It is also an award-winning DreamWorks film series, and a TV series shown on Netflix and CBBC. The first book in Cressida's new series, The Wizards of Once (also signed by DreamWorks), is a number one bestseller. Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency, a Trustee of World Book Day and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation. She has won numerous prizes, including the Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize,the 2017 Ruth Rendell Award for Championing Literacy, the Hay Festival Medal for Fiction, and Philosophy Now magazine's 2015 Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity. She grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland and she now lives in Hammersmith with her husband, three children and a dog called Pigeon.

Daisy Meadows

The Rainbow Magic and Magic Animal Friends books are written by a small collective of authors under the name Daisy Meadows. Rainbow Magic is the no.1 bestselling series for girls aged 5 and up with over 30 million copies sold worldwide!Learn more about the books at www.rainbowmagicbooks.co.uk (where you can download the Rainbow Magic Reading Challenge poster) and www.magicanimalfriends.com (where you'll find fun animal activity sheets)

David Almond

David Almond is the author of Skellig, My Name is Mina, Counting Stars, The Savage, Island, A Song for Ella Grey, The Colour of the Sun and many other novels, stories, picture books, opera librettos, songs and plays. His work is translated into 40 languages, and is widely adapted for stage and screen. His major awards include the Carnegie Medal, two Whitbread Awards, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, the Michael L Printz Award (USA), Le Prix Sorcières (France) and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. In 2010 he won the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the world's most prestigious prize for children's authors. David speaks at festivals and conferences around the world. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. He is widely regarded as one of the most exciting, inspirational and innovative children's authors writing today. He has one amazing daughter. He lives in Bath and in Newcastle, the city in which he was born.www.davidalmond.com

David Broadbent

David Broadbent has been an illustrator for many a long year, he has created illustrations for different companies and people all over this planet of ours and would like to keep doing so. Books are his favourite thing to work on and he has created artwork for titles such as Do Nice be Kind Spread Happy, Be the Change, Make it Happen and The Camper Van Bible. He lives on the south coast of England with his family, including a strange dog and a three legged hamster.

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton's books have sold over 500 million copies and have been translated into other languages more often than any other children's author.She wrote over 600 books and hundreds of short stories, including favourites such as The Famous Five,The Secret Seven, The Magic Faraway Tree, Malory Towers and Noddy. Born in London in 1897, Enid lived much of her life in Buckinghamshire and adored dogs, gardening and the countryside. She died in 1968 but remains one of the world's best-loved storytellers.

Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California and started writing stories at the age of eight. She wrote her first Horrid Henry book in 1994. Horrid Henry has gone on to conquer the globe; his adventures are published in 27 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Francesca has won the Children's Book of the Year Award and been a judge for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. In 2009, in one of the proudest moments of her career, Francesca was awarded a Gold Blue Peter badge.Francesca is also a passionate ambassador for children's literacy and is a trustee of the World Book Day charity. She lives in North London with her family.Visit Francesca's website at www.francescasimon.com and keep up-to-date with Horrid Henry at www.horridhenry.co.uk. You can also follow her on Twitter @simon_francesca

H L Dennis

Helen Dennis was born in Brighton and loves living near the sea. She was a teacher for twenty years, and now writes full time - but enjoys making school visits, where she runs code-cracking and creative writing sessions.

Izzi Howell

Izzi Howell is the author and editor of over fifty children's books. She lives in East Sussex and enjoys learning languages, cooking and travelling around Europe.

Jenny Jinks

Jenny Jinks comes from a family of writers - her sister, Katie Dale and her mum, Elizabeth Dale, have penned many children's books between them and now Jenny has joined them!

Jess Butterworth

Jess spent her childhood between the UK and India, and grew up hearing stories about the Himalayas from her grandmother. She's lived in India and even met with the Dalai Lama. She studied creative writing at Bath Spa and now lives between Seattle and Somerset.

Jonathan Meres

Jonathan Meres is a former merchant seaman, ice-cream van driver and Perrier Award-nominated stand-up comedian. As a writer he's written for TV and radio, but is best known for being the author of over 30 books for children and in particular his best-selling, award-winning series, The World Of Norm, which has so far been translated into 16 languages worldwide. Jonathan's hugely entertaining live performances ensure that he's in constant demand at school and book festivals throughout the UK and beyond. Find out more at www.jonathanmeres.com

Kes Gray

Kes Gray is a bestselling, multi award-winning author of more than 70 books for children. He eats Ideaflakes for breakfast, spreads silliness on his toast and lives in a place called Different.Oi Frog!, Oi Dog! and Oi Cat! are a top ten bestselling series. Oi Dog! won the 2017 Laugh Out Loud Picture Book Award and was shortlisted for the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award and the British Book Awards in 2016, amongst others. It also won the Teach Primary New Children's Fiction Award, MadeForMums Award, Bishop's Stortford Picture Book Award and Portsmouth Picture Book Award. Oi Cat! was the Independent Booksellers Children's Book of the Season and Oi Goat! was the number one bestselling World Book Day book in 2018.

Lucy Mangan

Lucy Mangan is an award-winning columnist for Stylist magazine, the Guardian TV critic and author of the widely acclaimed Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading, which celebrates her lifelong passion for stories, including those of Enid Blyton.

Narinder Dhami

Narinder Dhami is the author of popular fiction series The Beautiful Game, about a girls' football team, many books in the hugely successful Rainbow Magic series and the bestselling novelisation of the film Bend it Like Beckham. She was a primary teacher before she began writing full time. She lives with her husband in Shropshire.

Nick East

Nick East is the illustrator of the bestselling Toto the Ninja Cat as well as the Goodnight Digger and Knock Knock series. He worked for many years as a museum designer but was always a storyteller, whether as a child, filling sketchbooks with quirky characters, or as a designer displaying a collection of ancient artefacts. Nick lives near York with his wife and two children and, when he isn't writing or drawing, he is out riding bikes and spending time with his family.Find Nick at nickeastillustration.com

Patrice Lawrence

Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton and brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian household in Mid Sussex. Patrice lives in east London and shares a cat called Stormageddon. She has been writing for as long as she has been reading. She loves crime fiction, sci-fi and trying to grow things. Her ideal mixtape includes drum 'n' bass, Bruce Springsteen and Studio Ghibli soundtracks. Music can't help creeping into her books. Her debut novel, Orangeboy, won the Waterstone's Book Prize for Older Readers and the YA Book Prize, and her second novel, Indigo Donut, won the Crime Fest Best Crime Fiction for Young Adults and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize. @LawrencePatrice

Rebecca Westcott

Rebecca Westcott was born in Chester. As a trained teacher, she has worked in some unusual places, including a Category C male prison. Her first novel Dandelion Clocks was published in 2014, longlisted for the Branford Boase award and widely acclaimed, including by Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy. Aside from writing, Rebecca teaches music in a primary school in Dorset, where she lives with her husband and three children.