For those of you who have not had the chance to see it yet, here is the interview I did with KidLit TV at the SCBWI Conference in early November.
I have added a new section to my website on the Competition Page called Show Cases.
This is a space dedicated to budding young writers who want to share their stories, poems and ideas.
To have your work considered for the Show Case Page, you will have either been gifted the opportunity, won it in a competition or have sent me something that I really wanted to share.
If you would like to take part, please contact me using an adult email address.
To find out more and read the first contribution (a 500 word story entitled Maybe The French Aren't So Bad After All by Soraya Enayatollah in Y7), please visit my show cases/competition page
The last two photographs were taken at the Mass Book Launch, Fancy Dress Party. I'm Red Riding Hood (obvs) and, in case you don't recognise him, the poet dressed as the March Hare is the wonderful Joseph Coelho. Just take a look at that cake - that is how good the SCBWI conference is.
I'm still tired from the conference, but as always afterwards I feel honoured and privileged to be a part of the SCBWI tribe.
The crazy story of James of Lincoln is now finished. You can listen to the whole story by downloading the BBC Sounds App and searching for The Storyteller. Or you can click on this link: The Storyteller
BBC Sounds is my all-time favourite app so it's amazing that I am part of a podcast on it. I feel this means I can say 'writer for the BBC' on my CV now?!
There may be something happening with this story in the future - I'll keep you posted!
Don't forget that I am appearing at the Fabula Festival on Sunday 13 October 12.30-1.30pm for a Creative Writing Workshop for children aged 7-11 years.
The festival is held in Redbridge, in East London and is a celebration of The Arts and Libraries. This year it falls in National Libraries Week and offers a variety of different talks, workshops, exhibitions and performances.
To book tickets for my workshop and/or to find out more about the other events happening as part of the festival please visit their website: Fabula Festival 2019
This is an unusual blog post, but a story I want to share because of how powerfully it has affected me.
The fifth book I’m writing is called LION. People often ask where the ideas for my stories come from. With LION, the protagonist himself appeared, fully formed inside my head. Lion talked incessantly to me all about his theories on life, his family and his dog, Patch. This has never happened to me before and is quite a difficult thing to explain. At the time I was still working on Darna’s Sky and had to tell Lion to be quiet and wait his turn! When I was ready to listen, Lion came back and I began to realise he had ‘chosen me’ to talk to and that he was unable to talk to anyone else outside his family.
This made me remember a documentary I had watched, many years ago, about children who were mute. I started reading up on something called Selective Mutism (SM) and realised that this is what Lion had. It is best described as a 'phobia of talking.'
Lion, by the way, is his nickname, given to him by his sister, Brianne who describes his hair like a dandelion clock. His real name is Leroy. This, I now know, is a French name, Le Roi - meaning The King.
The book formed and I redrafted, but having no personal experience of SM, I set about seeking some sensitivity readers by contacting SMiRA. Through this Donna Redrup got in touch, telling me all about her son, James, who was a huge animal fan, but particularly fond of lions.
James had struggled with SM all through his childhood and sadly died very unexpectedly from Sudden Onset Leukaemia just before his 25th birthday. James had bought tickets for his whole family to see The Lion King for his birthday, which was on the day after he died. James had started to write a children’s book about SM. Writing a book to increase understanding and awareness of SM was something he talked about wanting to do for many years.
I’m not religious, but my mind is not closed. There are many things in this wondrous world that I cannot explain but I still feel. Donna believes that James is helping me make LION into something that will help bring the understanding of SM to a wider audience. After reading the current draft of the book she saw many comparisons between her son and Lion. I’m humbled that Donna and her family have gained comfort and support knowing that this book is being created, particularly as they approach the anniversary of James’ death.
I don’t know what I believe, all I can do is write the story to the best of my ability, dedicate it to James and hope that it helps others.
James Redrup 4 November 1989 - 3 November 2014
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