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Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher has written numerous screenplays, and is the author of the critically acclaimed Stoneheart trilogy. Here he talks to Graham Marks about the story so far, the differences between writing for screen and page, America, literary mash-ups, and of course his latest novel, Far Rockaway.

Abie Longstaff

Abie Longstaff is the eldest of six children and grew up in Australia, Hong Kong and France. She knows all about squabbling and bossing younger sisters around so she began her career as a barrister. She started writing when her children were born. Her books include The Fairytale Hairdresser series and The Magic Potions Shop books. She has a life-long love of fairy tales and mythology and her work is greatly influenced by these themes. Abie got the idea for the Trapdoor Mysteries from her parents' house in France. The house is big and old, with lots of rooms and outbuildings. In one of the bedrooms, there is a secret entrance hidden in a fireplace. It leads to a room that was used by the French Resistance during the war. It was the perfect idea for a book! Abie lives with her family by the seaside in Hove.

Alex T. Smith

Author-illustrator Alex T. Smith is the award-winning creator of the bestselling Claude series, which is published in 16 languages worldwide, and begins airing as a TV show on Disney Junior in 2018. Alex's newest series, Mr Penguin, launched in 2017, to widespread praise. Alex's quirky, witty writing and illustrations are instantly recognisable, critically-acclaimed and as popular with adults as children. Alex is also widely-praised for his work illustrating children's classics: he won Children's Book of the World Illustration Award 2016 for his illustrations in a new edition of Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians; he has created new art for books by Enid Blyton, Eva Ibbotson and Richmal Crompton. Alex has collaborated with Watership Down author Richard Adams on his last book, Egg Box Dragon, as well as David Almond, and Juno Dawson. Alex has won the UKLA Picture Book Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award. He was the official World Book Day illustrator in 2014.

Clive Gifford

Clive Gifford is the author of more than 150 children's books including Eye Benders, winner of the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, Royal Society-nominated Out of This World and Cool Technology which won the School Library Association Information Book Award. He has travelled through 70 countries, run a computer games company and taken part in all manner of sports from parachuting and gliding to Ultimate Frisbee. Clive's official website can be found at

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

Daisy Meadows is the author of the bestselling series Rainbow Magic and Magic Animal Friends. Her books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide.You can find out all about her magical stories and much more at the series websites: and

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 worked for 12 years as a freelance arts journalist, writing for the Sunday times, and The Guardian amongst others. Francesca wrote her first children's book in 1989 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. She lives in London with her husband and son.Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California, and then went to Yale and Oxford Universities to study medieval history and literature. She now lives in London with her family. She has written over 50 books and won THE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR at the Galaxy British Book Awards for HORRID HENRY AND THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. Visit Francesca's website at and keep up-to-date with Horrid Henry at You can also follow her on Twitter @simon_francesca

Jean Reagan

Jean Reagan was born in Alabama but spent most of her childhood in Japan. She now lives in Salt Lake City in America with her husband. In the summers, they serve as backcountry volunteers in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. To learn more about Jean and her work, please visit

Jessica Courtney Tickle

Jessica Courtney-Tickle graduated from Kingston University in July 2014 where she studied illustration and animation and found a specialism in children's picture books. She loves working with colour, texture and lots and lots of characters. Jessica lives in Cambridgeshire. She was longlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017 (The Story Orchestra, Four Seasons in One Day) and in 2014 won the Prize for Illustration with the AOI and the London Transport Museum.

Jim Field

Jim Field is a lead-driven, pencil-pushing, 25-frames-per-second Led Zeppelin fan. He is also a hugely talented illustrator and animation director. His first picture book Cats Ahoy! won the Booktrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize and was nominated for the Kate Greenaway award. He has since illustrated a string of bestselling, multi-award-winning children's books, including Oi Frog! and The Lion Inside, as well as young fiction series Rabbit and Bear.

Jon Richards

Jon Richards is an award-winning author of non-fiction books for children. He specialises in visual literacy, infographics and data visualisation.

Kes Gray

Kes 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! 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! is a World Book Day book in 2018.

Lauren Child

Lauren Child MBE is a multi-award-winning author and current Children's Laureate, whose books are known and loved the world over. She is the creator of many much-loved characters, including Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort. Since her first book was published in 1999, Lauren has sold over six million books in 19 languages worldwide. Her many awards include the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, the Nestle Gold Book Award for That Pesky Rat and the Nestle Bronze Book Award for Beware of the Storybook Wolves. Lauren loves designing and making things and finds it exciting to see her drawings turned into objects. Other favourite things include the cinema, TV matinees, small Italian cars, handbags, cardigans, travelling and being picked up from the airport.

Lee Wildish

Lee Wildish is an acclaimed illustrator. His Spooky, Spooky House won the Overall Red House Children's Book Award, his Spaghetti with the Yeti was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize, and he has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award and the Sheffield Children's Book Award.

Mairi Hedderwick

Mairie Hedderwick was born in Gourrock. She left the mainland for the Isle of Coll where she and her crofting husband brought up their young family. She has never quite left the island - and still returns to paint, and to ponder the island life which has enriched her craft for so long.

Mick Inkpen

Mick Inkpen has been a bestselling children's author for over 25 years. He is one of today's most popular picture book author/illustrators and the famous creator of both Kipper and Wibbly Pig. Mick has won the Children's Book Award for Threadbear and the British Book Award twice, for Penguin Small and Lullabyhullaballoo. Kipper won a BAFTA for Best Animated Film.

Miranda Richardson

Miranda Richardson has appeared in films such as THE HOURS, SLEEPY HOLLOW, THE CRYING GAME, EMPIRE OF THE SUN and HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. TV work includes A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME, JACKANORY, Queen Elizabeth in BLACKADDER and Queen Mary in THE LOST PRINCE. She has won two Spoken Word awards for her inspired readings of HORRID HENRY AND THE SECRET CLUB and HORRID HENRY'S STINKBOMB audiobooks for Orion.

Moira Butterfield

I have been writing for many years in a number of different genres, from books for babies up to books for 11 year-olds plus. I like to try new things and tackle new subjects, so I don't limit myself to one type of book. One month I might be writing about history, and the next month I might be creating an imaginary story. Examples of my work have been selected for national Key Stage study in the UK, and in the USA I was commended by the Library of Congress for my work in non-fiction, which they felt encouraged reluctant readers. I work with visuals always in mind, and love the challenge of getting across information or an exciting story with good graphics to back it up. Lately I have been blogging about the craft of writing, and I've also appeared at National Book Festivals, which I think of as the most challenging thing of all to do! I get a lot of emails from children around the world, inspired by one of my books they have read, and that gives me great pleasure.

Piers Torday

Piers Torday began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His bestselling first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as numerous other awards. His second book, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. His most recent book for children, There May Be A Castle, was published in October 2016 to critical acclaim and was a Children's Book of the Year for The Times. The son of the late Paul Torday (author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Piers recently completed his father's final unfinished novel, The Death of an Owl. He also adapted John Masefield's classic The Box of Delights for stage in 2017. In regular demand as a speaker at schools and festivals, Piers is also a reading helper with Beanstalk, a former judge on the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a Patron of Reading at Heathmere School and a trustee of the Pleasance Theatre. Born in Northumberland, Piers now lives in London with his husband and their dog Huxley.

Rosie Banks

Rosie Banks is the author of brilliant series Secret Princesses and Secret Kingdom. You can find out all about Secret Princesses and much more at the series website: