Related to: 'The Taste of Blue Light'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Jane Simmons

Jane Simmons is a uniquely talented award-winning illustrator and author, and the creator of some of our best-loved children’s books. Here she talks to Graham Marks about boats, motorbikes and making a mess, as well as her words, her art and her latest picture book, Lily Gets Lost.

Hodder Children's Books

Colour Me In

Lydia Ruffles
Authors:
Lydia Ruffles

Akala

BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, writer, poet and historian Akala is a label owner and social entrepreneur who fuses unique rap/rock/electro-punk sound with fierce storytelling. Jay-Z, M.I.A. and Christina Aguilera are just a few of the musicians Akala's toured with, his own stellar live show headlined eight UK tours and he regularly appears at festivals such as Glastonbury and Wireless.More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism, Akala has written for the The Guardian, Huffington Post UK and The Independent, and also taken part in British Council arts education and music projects all over the world.In 2009, with Sir Ian McKellen's support, Akala launched the 'The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company', a music theatre production company which sparked worldwide media interest. Previous clients and collaborators include the BBC, Premier League, Mastercard, The Barbican and Ed Sheeran.Akala has also featured on numerous TV programmes across Channel 4, ITV2, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his projects as well as speaking on wide ranging subjects from music and poetry to youth engagement and British/African-Caribbean culture.

Alan Gibbons

Alan Gibbons is a full-time writer and a visiting speaker and lecturer at schools, colleges and literary events nationwide, including the major book festivals: Edinburgh, Northern Children's Book Festival, Swansea, Cheltenham, Sheffield and Salford. Alan is a key supporter of a high-profile, nationwide campaign to champion libraries and librarianship and to reevaluate government commitment to educational spending. He lives in Liverpool with his wife and four children. Alan is an honorary CILIP member.Visit Alan's website at www.alangibbons.com, read his blog at alangibbons.net, follow him on Twitter @mygibbo, Facebook www.facebook.com/alan.gibbons.35 and Flickr www.flickr.com/people/71279646@N08.

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.

Anna Maxwell Martin

Anna trained at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and she was nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance in `His Dark Materials`. She has also starred as Esther Summerson in the latest tv adaptation of BLEAK HOUSE, for which she won the 2006 Best Actress Bafta.

Ben Hubbard

Ben Hubbard began his writing career at a what's-on newspaper in the 1990s, interviewing bands, actors and artists in his native Wellington, New Zealand. He later joined the fast-paced world of daily newspaper journalism before packing up shop and moving to England. Here, Ben tied a number of new strings to his bow: magazine editor, book editor, and finally, author. Today, Ben writes a mix of non-fiction for all ages - preschoolers through to adults. He has penned titles on an eclectic subject range: from space exploration, samurai warriors and medieval castles; to pop music, pets, tornadoes and rugby skills.

Benjamin J. Myers

Benjamin J. Myers was born in the Potteries in 1967. After studying Philosophy and Psychology at Leeds University, Myers attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He saw active service as a Troop Commander in the First Gulf War and is a qualified battlefield survival instructor. In 1993, he attained his Diploma in Law from the University of London and subsequently has been a barrister in a busy practice in Manchester, specialising in serious crime, often representing vulnerable defendants, in particular juveniles. He also lectures other legal professions on mentally disordered offenders and human rights. Married with three children, Benjamin Myers lives in North Cheshire. Visit the wiki-site for The Bad Tuesdays at http://the-bad-tuesdays.wikia.com/wiki and like it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bad-Tuesdays/252612148088617.

Brian Moses

Brian Moses lives in the village of Etchingham with his wife Anne, a loopy labrador called Honey and a collection of bad-tempered chickens.He first worked as a teacher but has now been a professional children's poet since 1988. To date he has over 200 books published including volumes of his own poetry such as Holding the Hands of Angels (Salt) and Behind the Staffroom Door (Macmillan), anthologies such as The Secret Lives of Teachers and Aliens Stole My Underpants (both Macmillan), picture books such as Beetle in the Bathroom and Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe (both Puffin) and non-fiction titles such as Titanic: Lost & Saved (Wayland). Over 1 million copies of Brian's poetry books have now been sold by Macmillan and in 2005 he was nominated for both the CLPE Award and the Spoken Word Award. Brian also visits schools to run writing workshops and perform his own poetry and percussion shows. To date he has visited well over 2500 schools and libraries throughout the UK. He has made several appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, been writer in residence at Castle Cornet on Guernsey, on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway and at RAF schools in Cyprus. Recently he has visited several International schools in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, France and Ireland.He has performed his poetry at Borders on Second Avenue, New York and in September 2006 he was invited to Iceland to take part in 'Kids in the Marsh' - a festival of children's poetry and song. At the request of Prince Charles he spoke at the Prince's Summer School for Teachers in 2007 at Cambridge University. He is one of ten children's poets invited by then Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to feature on the National Poetry Archive.Favourite book: 'Turtle Diary' by Russell Hoban.Favourite Movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Favourite Music: Bob Dylan

Catherine Fisher

Catherine Fisher is an award-winning fantasy writer and author of the New York Times bestseller Incarceron. The Oracle was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award 2003, The Conjuror's Game for the Smarties Award, The Snow-Walker's Son for the WH Smith Mind Boggling Award, The Candle Man won the Tir-Na-n'Og Award, and Corbenic was shortlisted. Author of many books for children and two volumes of award-winning poetry, she is particularly well-known in Wales and has been named as the first Welsh Young People's Laureate.

Charlie Fletcher

Having studied English Literature at university , Charlie began his career in the film business carrying cans of film round Soho and making very bad cups of tea on the principal that he'd then be asked to do something a bit more interesting, a strategy that he recommends to anyone starting out as a tea-boy. He progressed to the BBC where he worked in film editing on everything from Drama to Current Affairs. He then went to California where he morphed into a screenwriter, having been awarded a Warner Brothers Fellowship in Screenwriting at USC School of Cinema and TV. He's written screenplays for Tri-Star, MGM, Paramount and Warner Bros among others. He continues to write for the movies, and also television. He still thinks that being a film editor is a pretty damn fine way to learn about story-telling in general, and narrative structure and pacing in particular. Charlie also moved into other types of writing including magazine features, a computer game and as both a national Sunday newspaper columnist and restaurant reviewer. Finally he found the way to combine all those writing strands and produced some rattling-good children's books! The Stoneheart trilogy has been a massive international hit and Charlie has recently sold the movie rights of Stoneheart to Paramount. He has also been asked to write the screenplay himself, which just shows you should never make plans, since he actually wrote the books to get away from Hollywood for a bit... In his personal life, Charlie met and married his wife, a fellow Scot, in LA. They have two children, whom Charlie calls his first, most important, and toughest audience. They've all now returned from California and live in Edinburgh with a terrier called Archie.

Charmian Hussey

Charmian Hussey began her career modelling clothes for top couture and fashion houses in London. Later she trained as an archaeologist, originally studying at the University of London, Institute of Archaeology and working on excavations in Great Britain and the Middle East. On her return from two years work and research in Turkey she imported an ancient breed of Turkish dogs - now known in the United Kingdom as Anatolian Karabash.

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 Roberts

David Roberts is a hugely successful illustrator who has illustrated books by Philip Ardagh, Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson and Chris Priestley. He's also the creator of Dirty Bertie and the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling artist of picture books IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT and ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER. David lives in London.

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.

Georgia Amson-Bradshaw

Georgia Amson-Bradshaw is a children's writer and editor who lives in Brighton, East Sussex. She has worked on a number of high-profile and award-winning science books for kids, including the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize winner Eye Benders, and the London Science Museum activity book This Book Thinks You're a Scientist. She remembers the eye-opening and inspiring effect her favourite books had on her as a child, and so takes her responsibility to pass that interest and excitement on very seriously!

Hilary Mckay

Born in Boston, Lincolnshire, Hilary McKay grew up in a household of readers and read voraciously from an early age. After studying Botany and Zoology at St Andrews University, she went on to work as a biochemist, but always wanted to write. Hilary's novels have won numerous awards including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Smarties Award and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She lives in a small village in Derbyshire with her family.

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.

Jacqui Bailey

Jacqui Bailey has spent a lot of her adult life working with children's books. She has been an editor and publisher of everything from picture books to encyclopedias, but mostly enjoys finding out amazing bits of information and then writing about them. She particularly likes writing about science, as the information so often turns out to be far stranger than fiction.

Jason Cockroft

A Pilgrim's progress, Room for a Little One, The Horse Girl and more

Jen Green

Jen Green received a doctorate from the University of Sussex (Dept of English and American Studies) in 1982. She worked in publishing for 15 years and is now a full-time writer, who has written over 150 books for children. Her book 'Your Feelings: I'm Special' was short-listed for the NASEN Special Needs Award.