Updated: Sep 15, 2020
It’s been a busy summer and I’ve not had a chance to sit down and write what I’ve been up to for a while. But now I’ve got a spare hour on a Wednesday night, and Mrs Walker is giving me threatening looks, it’s probably about time I jot down what I’ve done.
The summer started brilliantly with a trip up to Stockton-on-Tees for the Kapow sci-fi festival. Big thanks go out to Richard Drake, owner of Drake The Bookshop, for organising my part. We started with a couple of primary school events on the Friday, where I gave a speech about my journey to becoming an author, and also delivered my new creative writing workshop. (Went down really well and the kids came up with some great story ideas – including a Batman plot that would peel off your eyelids it’s so exciting!) Thanks to Acklam Whin Primary and Wingate Junior School for hosting me!
Then on Saturday was the festival itself. Met up with some of the bookshop’s young reading group to start with, then went over to the festival where I had a chat with BBC Radio Tees and signed some books. (You can imagine my surprise and absolute terror during this last task when I saw Darth Vader – who’d been meeting people at the festival and taking picture - striding towards me. Cemented my desire to never become one of the rebels…) And then finally we saw the Stockton Flyer, a large industrial looking ‘flying train’, rising up from its plinth home on the town square. Genuinely worth seeing that – just take some ear muffs because it’s loud!
In other good news, “Sky Thieves” has been shortlisted and longlisted for a little flurry of book awards. First to get in touch was THE THE 2019 SALFORD CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD, who’ve nominated the book for the 2019 award alongside Zillah Bethel’s “The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare”, Juliette Forest’s “Twister”, Mitch Johnson’s “Kick” and Ross Welford’s “The 1,000 Year Old Boy”. I’ll be at the award ceremony in March to find out if I’ve won. Fingers crossed!
Then I heard from RED BOOK AWARD up in Falkirk, who’ve nominated the book alongside “Kick”, Phyllida Shrimpton’s “Sunflowers in February” and Sif Sigmarsdottir’s “I Am Traitor”. They’ve also invited me up to the award ceremony and to speak in a couple of schools up there, which will be really fun. (Mrs Walker pretty much squealed when I told her – she loves Scotland.)
And then finally, just the other day I heard that “Sky Thieves” had been nominated for the DERBYSHIRE SCHOOLS’ BOOK AWARD alongside “Kick”, Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s “The Island at the End of Everything”, Paula Rawsthorne’s “Shell”, Christopher Edge’s “The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day”, Juno Dawson’s “Grave Matter”, Sita Brahmachari’s “Tender Earth”, Will Mabbitt’s “Embassy of the Dead”, S. M. Wilson’s “The Extinction Trials”, Keren David’s “The Liar’s Handbook”, Ketherine Rundell’s “The Explorer”and Lucy Adlington’s “The Red Ribbon”. Really happy with this one as I was born in Derby and am still fairly local to the area. Fingers crossed on all of these!
Last but not least this summer, I received the translated Dutch copy of Desert Thieves, called, “Woestijn Piraten”. It’s a lovely hardback copy of the book. Many thanks to Unieboek Uitgeverij Het Spectrum for their hard work in publishing the book, and to Willeke Lempens for translating.
More to follow soon...