Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Home For Lots of Languages

I’ve been a writer for a long time now, more than 20 years. I pootle along OK, though nobody knows who I am and movies have not been made of my books. There is no merchandise. I have a mortgage, no time to dust away the cobwebs and my car is mostly held together by mud. […]

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…and another thing about Non Fiction…

Had there been the option to dance until dawn I would have taken it, but as there wasn’t, I spent New Year’s Eve with my fire and two films. The first was one I’d frankly been putting off, as I knew it would be harrowing. ‘Beasts of No Nation’ follows the story of a child […]

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Review Of My 2016

I’ve just been listening to lovely John Simpson, the emperor of foreign correspondents, saying that in spite of what current news may tell us, the world is a better place than 20 years ago. There are fewer wars and dictatorships, more democracies, more negotiations than armed conflicts. So, although 2016 has been a year whose […]

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New Stories, New Heroes

Four years ago when I was researching Manatee Baby in the Colombian Amazon, I stayed with a remarkable woman, Sarita Kendal, founder of the conservation organisation Natutama. Sarita and her co workers had changed a community from one that was increasingly exploiting the resources of the river without thought, to one behaving sustainably. Fisherman who […]

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Tales from The Woods

I’m fresh back from a week in Mexico attending the World Land Trust Symposium and meeting the partner organisations with which it works. What a fabulous week. What a wonderful country and what incredible people (only a very special group of people react to the cry ‘rattlesnake’ by trying to elbow each other out of […]

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AUTUMN BOOK FRENZY

This time of year is always crazily busy. It’s literary festival season and the start of the new school year so children’s authors are dashing about the countryside. At least I had had a bit of a calm before the storm, as I had most of August at home writing two novels for Walker Books, […]

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PERFECT BABIES

Last night I watched an amazing documentary, ‘A World Without Down’s Syndrome?‘on BBC iplayer, made by the actor Sally Phillips. It was about her experience of having her son Ollie, who has Down’s Syndrome. I’d recommend that you watch it, if only to see the opening sequence of Sally (who is the sort of person […]

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Back In The Real World

Last week I was three ways high. High in the Abruzzi mountains of Italy, up in a medieval hill top village looking out on a landscape of hobbit hills and snow streaked peaks. High on the smell and sound of the place – awash with flowers and alive with natural music, nightingales, cuckoos,frogs.     […]

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KEEP DRAWING #3000CHAIRS

            Less than two weeks ago I wrote The Day the War Came, kind of a poem but really intended to be a picture book that will spread its message for years to come. It ends like this, I came to a school. I looked in through the window. They were learning […]

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THE DAY WAR CAME AND 3000 EMPTY CHAIRS

In an ideal world there wouldn’t be children without parents. In an ideal world hospitals wouldn’t be bombed because they looked a bit like something else. In an ideal world everything would be sweet and smooth and we could all afford to be as selfish as we liked and it wouldn’t matter. But it isn’t. […]

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