Author Archive

Revisioning

Anthony Browne says ‘Every time we create something we play the shape game – every time we write a story or draw a picture or compose a piece of music we are playing it. We are taking something that we have seen or experienced and transforming it into a story… it’s the essence of creativity.’ I’m delighted it’s the essence because (taking his shape game rather loosely) it’s how I spend my day… seeing a sentence, experiencing its downfalls and trying to transform and shape it differently. I’m no longer a ‘writer’ but a ‘revisioner’, spending more time ‘revisioning’ than...

TAKING MY SNAIL FOR A WALK

Do any of you remember how you learnt to read your name? I learnt mine by seeing it written again and again… in print, in cursive and in capitals… on books, on scraps of paper, in the steam on our kitchen window at breakfast in winter. And I recognised my name without resorting to any form of phonics. In fact if I’d tried to sound it, I’d never have managed. Nor would I have managed to read Pinocchio because unless you’re Italian how would you know to say ‘kee’ instead of ‘chee’ as in church. The point I’m trying to...

Entering the Lion’s Den

I’m shamed into having to admit that I’ve done no school visits this year. Call it laziness, telling myself I’m too busy writing, lacking in competitive spirit, being too disorganised… whatever it is, I haven’t. Let’s face it, it requires an enormous amount of effort to tear one’s self away from what one likes doing best… playing with words, changing a sentence and then changing it back two seconds later to exactly what you had before. So to be organised enough to set out to visit a school, to find suitable/any clothes, to sort out travel etc requires enormous discipline....

Flying towards the dark

illustration by Jude Daly from ‘The Star-bearer’ I’m home in the dark. Yesterday I arrived, dragging my case through the sleet from South Ken tube station, clutching a skimpy cardigan, bare brown feet in their paper-thin shoes slowly going blue, and couldn’t budge the door for the mounds of post stacked up behind it. Not a single incredible book deal or film offer! So I took to my bed with coffee and some back copies of the London Review of Books [less formidable than the buff-coloured envelopes] and found this bitter-sweet poem by Francis Hope [for which I have no...

THE POETICS OF SPACE

With last night’s moving inauguration of Barack Obama, I was reminded of Nelson Mandela becoming president through the ballot and not the bullet in South Africa… of the euphoria and need of the country to move on and put the spectre of apartheid finally to rest. There are moments in our lives which are forever etched… Nelson Mandela walking to freedom and now Barack Obama standing on the podium. I could be writing on this theme but this morning with the sun up on another spectacular day, I’m writing of something more mundane – an envy of writers with rooms...