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Welcome to my site!

Some of my books

I write books for all ages, for young children to teenage and adults. I have also written a book on writing - Writing for Children - for both aspiring and newly published authors.


While I spend quite a lot of time visiting libraries, schools and festivals talking about my books and running creative writing workshops, I do manage to find time to write, too!

Latest News:

Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2015

The latest edition is now available, as always packed with great information –

and an article by yours truly :)  ‘Children’s writing in the digital age’

 

CHWaAYEARBOOK 2015                           WritingforChildren

A great companion to my Writing to Children book!

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Edinburgh in August, it’s Festival time and the sun is shining!

Great schools event  at EIBF with  over 90 children from Pentland Primary School nd a lovely group from New Town Nursery. They heard all about Hamish McHaggis and the Skirmish at Stirling, and  asked some great questions.

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This event was to have been a joint event with the lovely sally J Collins, Illustrator of Hamish Mchaggis who sadly passed away in July this year. But the children enjoyed the story and as always Sally’s lovely pictures delighted them!

 

This is a glorious time to be in Edinburgh, the city is full of colour and visitors, thousands of shows with something for every taste and every age.  The streets buzz with excitement. Tourists and performers from all over the globe mingle with locals, and even the air has a continental scent.

My favourite place in Edinburgh during August is Charlotte Square Gardens where the Edinburgh International Book Festival gets underway on 9th August in a magnificent tented village at one end of George Street in the heart of the city.

I am going to be there for two events, one with Hamish McHaggis is for Schools only.

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With Hamish McHaggis

But at 7pm on Sat 23rd August 2014 Laura Jarrett and I will be speaking to Julia Eccleshare about our books Louder than Words  and Don’t Judge Me  in an event called  Motive and Intention

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So do come along and ask us some questions!

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Already the normally quiet leafy Charlotte Square Gardens are being transformed.

There are so many great authors to go and listen to, events for all ages from tiny tots to teens their parents, and grandparents, those who are interested in travel, politics, fantasy and almost anything that might appear between the cover of a book.

One of the things that makes it such an enjoyable experience is the people you meet. All kinds of people from all over the world, all talking about books, about reading them, writing them and the effect they have on the world.

It is a lot of fun so I thought I would share a few photos I have taken at the Edbookfest in the past few years.

I love to catch up with other writers such as Edinburgh YA novelist Cat Clarke. This is us sitting outside the author’s yurt, a Green Room like no other!

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With Cat Clarke, enjoying the sunshine

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At the bookshop tent for a signing after my Writing for Children workshop event.    Almost time for a coffee I think!

 

 

 

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A display of my books in the book tent

 

 

 

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Chatting to authors Jo Nadin and Liz Kessler just before their event, with Julie Gamble from Blackwells Bookshop in the background

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Kate Harrison, Teresa Flavin, Jane McLoughlin and Elizabeth Wein at the Teen Titles Party, during the Edbookfest

The Teen Titles party is held each year and is a chance for teen reviewers from Edinburgh Schools, who write for the review magazine are invited to meet some of the YA authors who are appearing at the Edbookfest.

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You never know who, or what you might meet in the yurt. He was not really scary at all!

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Francesca Simon – Yes, everyone wants to be a Viking, or are they wings?

 

 




Sally J. Collins –

Sally J Collins 1951-2014

Sally J Collins 1951-2014

‘Fluffy’   is a word that has been used often in the last few days as people share their memories of my dear friend, the talented illustrator of the Hamish McHaggis series.  Sally was fluffy and gentle, kind and thoughtful but when it came to her artwork she was a consummate professional, with an incredible eye for detail.

We worked together for 10 years on the Hamish McHaggis books. Hamish McHaggis and the Great Glasgow Treasure Hunt was the latest, and now sadly the last of the ten books we did together.

 

Hamish McH glasgow cover

 

I remember the fun we had going on trips to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove, Transport Museum and Pollok House so that Sally could do research  for her illustrations.

Sally was always delighted when she heard of children who had taken Hamish to their hearts, sending us pictures, ideas for stories and families who told us Hamish was their favourite bedtime story, or cuddly toy.

Clan Gathering July 2009

Clan Gathering July 2009

We had an amazing time together working on the Hamish McHaggis books, which were a close collaboration; we were very much a partnership. We had huge fun over the years with book launches and events in Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Glamis Castle, at Balmoral, and on the Falkirk Wheel, and at the last Clan Gathering in 2009, when Hamish was the children’s mascot and we met people from all over the world who became dedicated Hamish fans.

We painted up a car as Hamish’s Whirry Bang  and there is a full size Hamish

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as well as the little soft toy Hamish, which Sally just loved to cuddle.

cuddly Hamish McHaggis Toy

Sally was a kind and generous friend and colleague, and a delightful person to be around and she will be sadly missed but her delightful images will live on in the books to remind us of her.

 

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