Related to: 'How to Defend Your Dragon'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell’s Hiccup books, which she also illustrates, are now published in over 30 countries around the world and the first book in the series, How to Train Your Dragon, has been made into an animated movie by DreamWorks; Cressida also writes and illustrates picture books. The eleventh title in the Hiccup Saga, How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel, is published in September, and here she talks to Graham Marks about pretty much everything to do with writing a hit series…

Orion Children's Books

A Horrid Factbook: Bugs

Francesca Simon, Tony Ross
Francesca Simon, Tony Ross

Packed with freaky facts and random trivia, this is the perfect guide to everything you ever wanted to know (and lots of things you might never have wanted to know) about BUGS - Horrid Henry style!

Orion Children's Books

Horrid Henry Wakes The Dead

Francesca Simon, Tony Ross
Francesca Simon, Tony Ross

Horrid Henry finds a surefire way of wielding the remote control to ensure he always watches his programme of choice, vies with Moody Margaret to become the head of the school, shows off his prowess as a magician in the school talent show, and battles it out with Perfect Peter over who gets the green dinosaur and who gets the purple one.

Orion Children's Books

Horrid Henry Robs the Bank

Francesca Simon, Tony Ross
Francesca Simon, Tony Ross

Horrid Henry helps himself to all the money he needs to win his favourite board game, comes up with another spectacular money-making scheme for launching a newspaper with all the school gossip, vows vengeance on Perfect Peter when Peter nicks his birthday party theme and has his own Pirate Party ¿ and gets it by taking over as Head Teacher when Peter plays school with his goody-goody friends.

Orchard Books

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Andrew Matthews, Tony Ross
Andrew Matthews, Tony Ross

The course of true love never did run smooth... A magical retelling of Hermia, Helen, Demetrius and Lysander's classic story - and of the impish fairy Puck, who meddles in their tangled web of love with hilarious consequences... With notes on Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, and Love and Magic in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The tales have been retold using accessible language and with the help of Tony Ross's engaging black-and-white illustrations, each play is vividly brought to life allowing these culturally enriching stories to be shared with as wide an audience as possible.

Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick used to work in children's publishing and before that he was a bookseller. He now happily writes full-time. His books have been shortlisted for many awards, including The GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S FICTION AWARD, the BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD, the CARNEGIE MEDAL and the EDGAR ALLAN POE AWARD. Marcus lives in Cambridge and has a teenage daughter, Alice.Find his website at and follow him on Twitter @marcussedgwick

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. She was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015. Maxine has published three poetry collections including Carrying the World, which won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry 2017 and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award. The Hate Race, a memoir about growing up black in Australia won the NSW Premier's Literary Award Multicultural NSW Award 2017 and was shortlisted for an ABIA, an Indie Award, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and Stella Prize. The Patchwork Bike, Maxine's first picture book with Van T. Rudd was a CBCA Honour Book for 2017.

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.

Mick Manning

Mick Manning (born in Yorkshire, England, 1959) and Brita Granström (born in Eskilstuna, Sweden, 1969) work together as a team sharing the illustration and text. They have been producing award-winning non-fiction picture books for almost twenty years. They show that the best non-fiction for children can be scholarly, albeit with a light touch, and can have some of the imagination-stretching qualities of fiction. They are well known for their exciting performances involving readings and live drawing using overhead camera projection (often involving participation from members of the audience) all mixed with an audio-visual presentation. They appear on a regular basis at major UK book festival venues such as Bath, Cheltenham and Edinburgh International Book Festival. They have appeared at The Royal Society Science Festival and have celebrated The Big Draw at various venues including The Imperial War Museum. They have worked closely to support libraries and schools, performing voluntarily to school classes in the UK and Sweden and have also attended the American Library Conference and visited US schools.Many of Manning & Granström's books are translated into a number of languages, including Chinese, German, Greek, Danish, Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish and Slovakian. For the last 12 years Mick & Brita have created, written and illustrated a monthly 5-page gentle pre-school series called 'Max and Kate' for the critically acclaimed US children's magazine Ladybug. Selection of Franklin Watts books:The World Is Full of Babies! (Smarties Silver Award Winner); What's under the Bed? (TES Award Winner); Wash, Scrub, and Brush (English Association Award KS1 Winner); Stone Age, Bone Age and many other Wonderwise titles; How Did I Begin? (Rhone Poulenc Science prize winner); How Should I Behave?; Seaside Scientist; My Body Book; My Uncle's Dunkirk; Charlie's War Illustrated (English Association Award KS2 Winner); The Story of Britain; The Brontës - Children of the Moors.

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:

Sarah Ridley

Born in Suffolk, Sarah Ridley lives on the Suffolk/Essex border and is a writer and editor of educational books for children and young people. Recently, a life-long interest in history has led her to write books about the First World War, inspired by reading letters written by soldiers who served in the conflict. Brothers at War tells the story of uncovering the material held in her own family's archives. Dear Jelly sets letters written by soldier brothers to their younger sisters at its core. Teenage children keep Sarah busy when she isn't tied to her computer, and she relaxes by walking along river estuaries close to her home.

Steve Barlow

As 50% of the Two Steves, Steve Barlow has written over 160 books with Steve Skidmore since their first published work appeared in 1988. Born in Crewe, he was educated at Crewe Grammar School, Warwick University and Nottingham University before a varied career in teaching, acting, stage management and puppetry. He worked in a village school in Botswana for four years before returning to the UK and working with Steve Skidmore. The Two Steves tour extensively in the UK and overseas, and are frequent visitors to book festivals including Edinburgh and Hay. Their work for Hachette includes the highly popular I Hero and Crime Team choose-your-adventure books, and their I Horror series is raising the short hairs at the back of readers' necks with Orchard Books.

Steve Skidmore

Steve Skidmore writes with Steve Barlow. Together they are Britain's most popular comedy writing and performing double act for young people. Not surprisingly, they are known as The 2 Steves!The 2 Steves met over twenty years ago when they were both teaching in Nottingham. Since then they have written over 160 books together. They have also acted as series editors on numerous reading programmes for several major publishing houses.The 2 Steves are in great demand for author visits to schools, colleges and libraries across the world. They also undertake INSET events and make regular appearances at Literary Festivals.Steve Skidmore is shorter than Steve Barlow and less hairy. He was born in Birstall near Leicester in England. After managing to pass some exams at school, he went on to Nottingham University to supposedly read English, but spent most of his time playing sport and doing a variety of summer jobs including counting pastry pie lids (yes, really). He trained as a teacher of Drama, English and Film studies, before teaming up with Steve Barlow to become a full time author.He lives in Leicester and is a great rugby fan (he supports Leicester Tigers - "Come on you Tiiiiigeeeers!").

Sue Graves

Sue Graves has been a freelance children's author for more than 17 years. She has written over two hundred books for children from pre-school up to 15+ years. She writes fiction and non fiction, plays and poetry across the age ranges. Sue loves reading all sorts of books and is at her happiest when she has a book in her hand. She also loves painting in watercolours, playing tennis and badminton and going for long walks in the country with her husband and children.

Tim Cooke

Tim Cooke is a graduate of Oxford University. He has worked in children's publishing for over 20 years, and has written or contributed to dozens of books on a wide range of subjects. Among his publications as writer or editor are numerous sets about military history, particularly the American Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War. He has also written extensively about general history, both ancient and modern.

Tony Ross

Tony Ross is one of the most popular and successful of all children's illustrators, with many picture books to his name. He has also produced line drawings for many fiction titles.

Ursula Jones

Ursula Jones is an award-winning author and actress. She has written many books for children, including The Witch's Children and the Queen, winner of a Nestle Gold Award, The Witch's Children go to School, winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and the highly acclaimed The Princess Who Had No Kingdom. Ursula lives in London and France.

Van T Rudd

Van T Rudd is an award winning street artist, sculptor, painter and social justice activist based in Melbourne.He has exhibited his work widely around Australia and internationally. He won the 2015 Sampari West Papua Art Exhibition's People's Choice Award for his sculpture Let Rage, Unity and Love Take Form, and the NAVA (National Association of Visual Artists) Ignition Award for the exhibition Van Rudd vs Julia Gillard (2011). He was a two-time finalist (2007 and 2009) in the Sunshine Coast Art Prize for his paintings 100 000 to 400 000 and Freedom Furniture respectively, and a finalist in the Metro 5 Art Award (2004). In 2007, his Carriers Project was selected by Kultour and toured to major cities and towns around Australia. The Patchwork Bike is his first children's book.