Related to: 'The Case of the Broken Game'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Chris Higgins

Chris Higgins is an ex English and Drama teacher turned award-winning writer. She has written the My Funny Family series for younger readers, but is probably best known for her teen novels, which have gained her two nominations for Queen of Teen. Here she talks to Graham Marks about how she became a writer, tells us some of her writing secrets and talks about her latest novel, The Day I Met Suzie.

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 www.clivegifford.co.uk

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is the author and the illustrator of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon 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), publishes in September 2017. Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation. She has won numerous prizes for her books, including the Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize , 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: www.rainbowmagicbooks.co.uk and www.magicanimalfriends.co.uk

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is a footballer, father and author of the 'Frankie's Magic Football' series!To date, Frank remains Chelsea Football Club's all-time leading goal scorer, where he was awarded three times Chelsea Player of the Year. In 2014 Frank was the vice captain on the England football squad at the World Cup in Brazil, and then went on to play for Manchester City in 2014 in the UK before signing with New York City FC to play as part of the Major League Soccer side, starting July 2015. Frank was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to football.Frank enjoys reading with his two daughters, and when they requested stories about football Frank decided to create his own characters and adventures to entertain them. These tales provided the inspiration for 'Frankie's Magic Football'. Frank is passionate about promoting child literacy and is an ambassador of the National Literacy Trust; he hopes to inspire both young girls and boys to read with the 'Frankie's Magic Football' series. "The idea for 'Frankie's Magic Football' came from reading bedtime stories to my daughters. Adventure stories are their favourite and I wanted to combine my love for football with something that I could read to them, and that they would love too. 'Frankie's Magic Football' reminds me of the stories that I used to like to read. Frankie's friends also remind me of the mates that I used to kick a football about with when I was young, as well as some of the players I've met during my career." - FRANK LAMPARD

Kate O'Hearn

Kate O'Hearn was raised in the heart of New York City. Throughout her life, she has always had an active and vivid imagination. As a child walking down Fifth Avenue, she would envision herself soaring among the city's canyons on the back of a wild dragon. While in Florida, looking over the sea, she could imagine living amongst the whales and breaching in the heavy swells. At night, a star studded sky was yet another playground. These dreams and ideas never faded. Instead they grew until they spilled over into the books she loves to write.Kate's first book, Shadow of the Dragon: Kira, won the 1066 Schools' Book Award.

Katharine Holabird

Born: Cambridge, MA USA, Jan 23, 1948Childhood spent in Chicago, IL with 3 sisters (and actress mother, architect father)Jobs: magazine editor, nursery school teacher, freelance journalist, writerLives: North London, England and Water Mill, NY USAFirst Book: Angelina Ballerina published 1983Katharine grew up in an artistic household in Chicago, the 2nd of 4 daughters. As a child she lived in an imaginary world of fairy tales, princesses and ballerinas, and loved to put on plays and dances with her sisters. Katharine received a BA in Literature from Bennington College in Vermont in 1969, and after graduation worked as a literary editor, then moved to Italy where she was a freelance journalist for 2 years.In 1973 Katharine married and moved with her husband to London, where she became a nursery school teacher until the birth of their first daughter in 1976. Another daughter was born in 1979 and a son in 1983.Katharine was already the mother of young children when she created Angelina Ballerina in 1982. "I wanted to write for all the children who love dance and drama, and my daughters were a great inspiration."There are now over 20 books in print about the adventures of ballet mad Angelina, translated into over 15 languages. Angelina has danced in an animated TV series for several years, and has pirouetted into the limelight with the English National Ballet in two children's ballets based on the series. A new musical, "Angelina the Mousical", is touring the UK in 2012 and will head to the Peacock Theatre in London in 2013. The Angelina books have won a collection of awards, including: the Kentucky Bluegrass Award for Angelina Ballerina in 1985; ALA Notable Book Awards in 1986 and 1987, a British Book Design and Production award in 1990. Angelina's Christmas was selected as the Child Study Association's Children's Book of the Year in 1987. "Angelina Ballerina's Invitation to the Ballet" won the Oppenheim Platinum Award in 2005.

Kes Gray

Voted by the Independent as one of the TOP TEN children's authors only a year after publishing his first book, Kes Gray is a major talent and the author of the bestselling and award-winning Eat Your Peas and many more. He lives in Witham, Essex, with his wife, family and assortment of animals.

Laura North

Laura North is a children's book author who lives and works in London. Her first children's book was a retelling of 'Theseus and the Minotaur', one of her favourite myths. She has since written a series of fairy tales with a twist, including 'Cinderella: The Terrible Truth', 'The Princess and the Frozen Peas' and 'Hansel and Gretel and the Green Witch', with pictures by some extremely talented illustrators.

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 Prize 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.

Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is the number one New York Times bestselling author fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology and The Language of Thorns. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.Find her website at www.leighbardugo.com and follow her on Twitter @lbardugo.

Lou Kuenzler

Lou grew up on a remote sheep farm in Devon with chickens, ponies and her own pet ferret. She now writes funny stories for children, and also teaches other people to write their own stories. Lou has written children's rhymes, plays and novels, as well as stories for CBeebies television. She lives in London with two children, a Swiss husband (a reliable supplier of chocolate!) two cats and a dog.

Lynne Benton

Lynne Benton was born in Bournemouth, but moved to Bath at 18 to train as a teacher, and has lived there ever since. She has taught in several primary schools in the area, as well as working as pianist and receptionist in a Dancing school and bringing up four children. In 1982 she and her husband, Robin, a fellow-teacher and composer, co-wrote a musical play for primary schools based on the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece (still, happily, in print) but it was only when their children began leaving home for university that she began writing seriously. In 1996 she was a prizewinner in the Independent's Children's Story of the Year competition, and since then has had several fiction books published. As well as writing longer novels for older children she enjoys writing humorous "bite-size" stories for younger ones. She welcomes invitations to go into schools and talk to children about her books, since it keeps her in touch with her readers, who she finds a continual source of inspiration.

M. G. Harris

M. G. Harris was born in Mexico City but moved to Manchester very early in her childhood. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a scientist and ran an Internet business. She lives in Oxford with her husband and two daughters. Follow her on Twitter @RealMGHarris and visit her website at http://www.mgharris.net/

Mark Chambers

Mark has been working as an illustrator since 2003.

Mark Marshall

Mark was born in London into a creative family including a pianist, actress and dancer. He was encouraged to draw from an early age going on to study Illustration and Painting at the University of Wolverhampton. He lives with his wife, Geraldine, and their two sons. Follow him on Twitter @markjmarshall4

Marta Kissi

Marta Kissi is a London based illustrator originally from Warsaw. She studied BA Illustration & Animation at Kingston University and MA Communication Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. Her favourite part of being an illustrator is bringing stories to life by designing charming characters and the wonderful worlds they live in. She shares a studio in London with her boyfriend and their pet plant Trevor.

Mo Farah

Sir Mo Farah was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1983. As a young child he spent time in Djibouti before moving to England at the age of eight. Mo initially struggled with the language barrier, but his PE teacher at Feltham Community College, Alan Watkinson, quickly spotted his potential as a runner and encouraged him to join Borough of Hounslow Athletics Club. After attending St Mary's Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre in Twickenham, Mo became a professional athlete. At the 2012 London Olympic Games he won gold in the 10,000m - Britain's first gold in this event. He followed this up with a stunning victory in the 5000m to become, in the words of Dave Moorcroft, 'the greatest male distance runner that Britain has ever seen.' Mo was appointed CBE in the Honours List in 2013 and in December 2016 he was awarded a knighthood in the Queen's New Year's Honours list. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Tania, and their three daughters Rhianna, Aisha and Amani.

Pat-a-Cake

Pat-a-Cake takes you and your child on a magical journey. From sharing the very first baby book to watching your little one read all by themselves. The adventure begins here . . .

Paul Thurlby

Paul Thurlby has been a full-time illustrator since 2006. He has worked in advertising, editorial and T-shirt design, as well as publishing. His first book, Alphabet, won the BolognaRagazzi Opera Prima award in 2013. His inspiration comes from mid-century design and illustration. His style is retro-modern, with retro aesthetics and modern subject matter.

Penny Dolan

Penny Dolan is a children's writer and storyteller living in North Yorkshire. She is a popular speaker with both infant and junior children, and has visited many School Book Weeks and literacy events across the UK, with her enjoyable 'Author Talks' and lively story-telling sessions. She has also spoken and performed in libraries, bookshops, museums, art galleries, historic sites and outdoor locations, and has appeared on the children's programme of several literature festivals. She has a wide interest in children's books and has been Chair of the Federation of Children's Book Groups. Penny has a wide experience of schools. She was a primary advisory teacher for English and Drama but has been a freelance language arts worker for several years. She has also taught on residential writing courses for children, tutored both storytelling and writing courses for adults, and spoken at conferences. Penny has a degree in Education, specialising in Language and Literacy and an Advanced Diploma in Educational Drama. As well as working on her writing, Penny enjoys drawing, painting, reading, chatting and daydreaming. Her favourite colour is yellow. Her favourite food is strawberries-and-cream, and she is probably the world's slowest swimmer. She has three untidy desks, two grown-up children and one rather bad cat.