BBC Radio Shropshire Interview December 2023

2023 ended on a high with an invitation to pop into the BBC Radio Shropshire studio on 28 December to chat with legendary DJ Paul Shuttleworth. We discussed Shropshire connections, writing historical fiction, my children’s novel The White Phoenix, and my current novel. I’ve been interviewed by Paul twice before but only on the phone, so it was a real thrill to go into the studio in Shrewsbury and do a live interview. I’m really looking forward to returning to Shropshire for World Book Day on 7 March. 

If you would like to hear the full interview it’s available on BBC Sounds, about 2 hours, 28 mins into the show.

Exploring Historical Fiction with Students at Radnor House School

I had a great time talking about my favourite subject – children’s historical fiction – with a Year 7 history class at Radnor House School, Twickenham in November. They had all chosen, read and reviewed an historical novel, and we discussed what they had liked about their books and what they had learned. I shared my experiences of writing historical fiction, and told the class some of the fascinating things I’ve been discovering while writing my new novel.  I am looking forward to returning in 2024 to talk to the other Year 7 historians. 

World Book Day Visit to Shropshire 2023: Newport Girls’ High School

I spent World Book Day itself at my old secondary school, Newport Girls’ High School, at the kind invitation of Head of English, Bethanie Lord. I gave talks to Years 7 and 8 where, among other things, we thought about what World Book Day might have been like in 1666.

At lunchtime, Susan Caroline from Shrewsbury’s independent bookshop Pengwern Books kindly came along to sell copies of The White Phoenix. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to the girls as I signed copies of the book.

In the afternoon, I led two creative writing workshops for classes from Year 7 and 8. Thank you so much for having me. I am still trying to get over the size of the school which has grown enormously since I was there.

World Book Day Visit to Shropshire 2023: Haberdasher’s Adams School

I was delighted to return to my home county of Shropshire for the week of World Book Day 2023. It was particularly exciting to speak to the Year 8 boys at Haberdasher’s Adams School in Newport as this was the school I grew up in when my father was headmaster there.

I especially enjoyed talking with the boys about the Great Fire of Newport in 1665 – a full year before the more famous conflagration in London! Huge thanks to Olivia Whittingham, the inspiring School Librarian, and her assistant, Demi, for inviting me and making me so welcome.

Shortlisted for the Young Quills Award 2021

I was absolutely delighted that The White Phoenix was shortlisted for the Historical Association’s Young Quills Award 2021 in the 10-13 years category. The award recognises the best in historical fiction writing for children. It was a privilege to be shortlisted alongside authors such as Tom Palmer and Paul Dowswell whom I greatly admire.

The distinctive feature of this award is that the first round is judged by children themselves. You can read some of their reviews by clicking here.

In announcing the results, the judges made a special mention of The White Phoenix which they were keen to recommend as a strong book that would enhance learning in school.

December 2020

Thrilled that the White Phoenix features on The Reader Teacher’s website on the #bookmatch list for fans of Emma Carroll.