Alt-Write

Creative reactions to uncertain times

The contributors

Contributions to Alt-Write include a cover produced by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and new work by a host of talented writers and illustrators.

Patrice Aggs

Patrice Aggs was born in Detroit Michigan and studied at St John's College, Annapolis and City and Guilds Art School in London. Since then she has illustrated more than 50 childrens books, worked in pre-computer animation (including "the Snowman" at TVC ) and produced etchings and watercolours now in collections in Europe, The USA and Japan. Magazine work and commissions include Ladybug, the DFC, Eaglemoss, Art in Hospitals and the GLC. Her lifelong passion is comics, particularly American newspaper strips.

Philip Ardargh

After years of working seven days a week writing non-fiction titles and retelling myths and legends (often for 'fixed-fee' non-royalty payments), Philip Ardagh became an overnight success with Awful End (published in 2000), originally written as letters sent to his nephew Ben. Ardagh has achieved both critical and popular acclaim for his work. Set in Victorian England, his Eddie Dickens books have been described as "A cross between Dickens and Monty Python" (The Guardian) and he himself as "a national treasure" (The Independent).

As well as writing novels, Ardagh also writes for BBC radio. His children’s dramas have included BBC radio’s first truly interactive radio drama, the nightly 'Arthur Storey and the Department of Historical Correction' (in which he also appeared as the announcer), and (for BBC Radio 4’s GO4IT!) the six-week radio serial 'Secret Undercover Vets On Ice' he played himself and also 'pigeon on a ledge'. His adult work has included stories for BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 7.

Ros Asquith

Ros Asquith has been a Guardian cartoonist for 20 years and has written and illustrated over 60 books for young people.

Her first job, aged 17, was illustrating Greek Myths for an American audio visual company. She graduated from Camberwell School of Art, working as a photographer, designer and teacher before becoming theatre critic for Time Out magazine, Co-Theatre Editor of CITY LIMITS, deputy Theatre critic of the OBSERVER and diary writer for TV TIMES.

She has painted murals in several countries and many children’s bedrooms, cuddled a wolf and caught an escaped tarantula. Ros has two sons and lives in North London with a jazz critic.

Christina Balit

After growing up in various parts of the world – the Middle East in particular, Christina came to England to study at the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in the late 70’s. A playwright and Children’s book Illustrator she has illustrated over 20 children’s books and has been been short-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal twice winning the Commended award for Ishtar and Tammuz in 1996.

Her other published books include Michael Morpurgo’s Blodin the Beast, The Lion Illustrated Bible and Zoo in the Sky. Her own authored titles include Escape from Pompeii and Atlantis - The Legend of a Lost City. She is winner of the 2002 English Association Book Award for Key Stage 2 Non Fiction and the US Parents Guide to Children’s Media Award. She has completed four large anthologies for National Geographic - Treasury of Greek Mythology, Treasury of Egyptian Mythology , Treasury of Norse Mythology and Tales from the Arabian Nights.

Her plays include WOMAN WITH UPTURNED SKIRT about the painter Egon Schiele, produced at the Grace Theatre, London and THE SENTENCE about the Armenian genocide produced at the Old Red Lion Theatre and NEEDLE about the construction of the Bayeux Tapestry which was winner of the Brave New Roles Award and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Frank Cottrell Boyce

is an English screenwriter, novelist and occasional actor, known for his children's fiction and for his collaborations with film director Danny Boyle. He has achieved fame as the writer for the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony and for sequels to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, a children's classic by Ian Fleming.

Cottrell-Boyce won the 2004 Carnegie Medal for Millions, and the 2012 Guardian Prize for The Unforgotten Coat.

Cathy Butler

Cathy is an English academic and author of children's fiction. Butler's most important academic work, Four British fantasists : place and culture in the children's fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (2009) in the Mythopoeic Scholarship category.

Butler's fiction includes Timon's Tide, Death of a Ghost, The Fetch of Mardy Watt, Calypso Dreaming and The Lurkers.

Rūta Briede

Rūta Briede is an illustrator, cartoonist and lecturer in illustration at the Art Academy of Latvia. She is known as the art editor of the popular series of 100 pocket-size poetry picture books BIKIBUKS/Bicki-Buck Books (Liels un mazs) and the author of its horned doodle logo. Rūta Briede's comics have appeared in local magazines kuš! and š!, and abroad in Crachoir, FinEst, and Naturegraffix. She has participated in L'Europe se dessine exposition at the Angouleme comics festival and won the International Jānis Baltvilks Special Jury Award for the design and idea of the Bicki-Buck Books series. Recently her début picture book The Queen of Seagulls has been published by Liels un mazs.

Margaret Chamberlain

Children’s Illustrator Margaret Chamberlain produced her first children’s picture book illustrations while still at the Royal College of Art.

She has produced illustrations for many many more children’s books since then including; ‘The Man whose Mother was a Pirate’, still a bestseller after more than twenty years; and ‘The Tale of Georgie Grub’ now re-issued with completely new illustrations.

Lucy Coats

Lucy Coats was born in Hampshire, England. She grew up in the small country village of Dummer, and was sent to a boarding school in Kent. In 1979 she went to Edinburgh University where she graduated with an MA in English Literature and Ancient History. She worked as a children’s book editor in London and New York, before becoming a full-time children’s author. She is married with two children and lives in Northamptonshire. Coats's interests include reading, cooking, gardening and shamanism, and she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). As well as writing, she also visits schools, reading stories and hosting Celtic poetry workshops for children.

Doug Cushman

Doug Cushman was born in Springfield, Ohio, and moved to Connecticut with his family when he was 13 years old. While in high school he created comic books lampooning his teachers, selling them to his classmates for a nickel a piece. Cushman has illustrated and written over 120 books for children over his career since 1978. In his free time, Cushman enjoys painting, playing guitar, and cooking along with traveling the world. He spends most of his time in Paris, France, Europe, and the US. He received the National Cartoonist Society Magazine and Book Illustration Award for 1996 and was nominated the National Cartoonist Society Magazine and Book Illustration Award in 2000.

Carol Ann Duffy

Dame Carol Ann Duffy is a Scottish poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's Poet Laureate in May 2009. She is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBT person to hold the position.

Her collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; Selling Manhattan (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; and Rapture (2005), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender, and violence in an accessible language that has made them popular in schools.

Andrew Fusek Peters

Andrew Fusek Peters has written extensively for children, YA and adults. Initially recognised and critically accaimed as a poet, he broadened their work to include plays, picture books and fiction and now non-fiction and nature wriiting.

His books have won an American Library Association Notable Award, made the IBBY Honor list, been nominated for the Carnegie {twice}, chosen as Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week {twice} and featured as Guardian Children's Book Of The Week {three times}.

Kathryn Evans

Kathryn Evans is a British writer of young adult fiction. Her debut novel, More of Me, was published in 2016 and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. More of Me was the first YA novel ever to win the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award, won the Crystal Kite Award for UK and Ireland in 2017 and was shortlisted for numerous regional awards including the Amazing Book Award. Kathryn helps run the SCBWI British Isles, fences competitively and bellydances for fun. She lives on a strawberry farm with her husband, two children and an ancient Labrador.

Photo of Kathryn courtesy of @chrisclosephoto

Alan Gibbons

Alan Gibbons has been writing children's books for twenty three years. He is the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2000 'The book I couldn't put down' for his best-selling book Shadow of the Minotaur. He was a judge of the 2001 Awards. He has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2001 and 2003 and twice for the Booktrust Teenage Prize. He has won the Blue Peter Book Award 'The Book I Couldn't Put Down', the Catalyst Award, the Leicester Book of the Year, the Leicester Short Novel of the year, the Angus Book of the Year, the RED Award (twice), the Stockport Book Award, the Birmingham Chills Award, the Salford KS4 Award, the Hackney Short Novel Award, the Salford Librarians' Special Award and the Lower Canada College Award . His books have been published in Japanese, German, Italian, French, Thai, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Swedish and other languages.

Alan was a teacher for 16 years, working with KS1, KS2 and KS3. He has made numerous visits to schools and libraries, colleges and education conferences in the UK and overseas, speaking at the AISA and ECIS conferences in Nairobi and Istanbul. He is a popular speaker at the Edinburgh Festival, the London Book Fair, the Northern Children's Book Festival, the Hay-on-Wye Festival, the Cheltenham Festival and many others.

Miriam Halahmy

A former secondary school teacher and a poet, Miriam Halahmy lives in north-west London. Her new YA novel Behind Closed Doors will be published by Firefly Press in 2018. Hidden, her book about asylum seekers was nominated for the Carnegie Award and is being adapted for the stage.

Shahrukh Husain

Shahrukh Husain is an author of Pakistani origin who specializes in fiction, non-fiction, and screenwriting. She is also a psychotherapist, folklorist, and storyteller. She currently resides in London.

Inbali Iserles is an award-winning writer and an irrepressible animal lover. Her Foxcraft series debuted in fall 2015 with The Taken. The second book in the series, The Elders, was released in fall 2016. The Mage, the final book of Foxcraft, is out in 2017

Inbali is one of the team of authors behind the New York Times bestselling Survivors series, who write under the pseudonym Erin Hunter. Her first book, The Tygrine Cat, won the 2008 Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year Award in the UK.

Savita Kalhan

was born in India, but now lives in the UK and studied at the University of Wales.

She has travelled extensively, and lived in the Middle East for several years, where she taught English. Her first novel The Long Weekend was published to wide acclaim.

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay MBE is a Scottish poet and novelist. She is the third modern Makar, the Scottish poet laureate.

Initially harbouring ambitions to be an actress, she decided to concentrate on writing after Alasdair Gray, a Scottish artist and writer, read her poetry and told her that writing was what she should be doing. She studied English at the University of Stirling and her first book of poetry, the partially autobiographical The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award. Her other awards include the 1994 Somerset Maugham Award for Other Lovers, and the Guardian Fiction Prize.

Patrice Lawrence

Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton, Sussex, and was brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian family, her mother having come to England from Trinidad to train as a psychiatric nurse. Lawrence has an MA in Writing for Film and TV, and was mentored by the BBC as a prospective comedy writer. Her first story to be published was "Duck, Duck, Goose", which was included in The Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology (Penguin Books, 2006).

It was while attending an Arvon Foundation crime writing course led by Dreda Say Mitchell and Frances Fyfield that Lawrence had the idea for her debut young adults' novel, Orangeboy. Orangeboy won The Bookseller′s YA Book Prize 2017, the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Older Children 2017, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Children's Book Award.

Karin Littlewood

Karin Littlewood lives and works in London. Originally from Yorkshire, she studied graphic design at Northumbria University, followed by an MA at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she specialised in illustration.

She has produced work for numerous newspapers and magazines, design and packaging companies and has illustrated over forty children's books published in the UK and worldwide.

Antony Lishak

After more than fifteen years as a primary school teacher in Haringey and Barnet, Antony finally swapped the company of a room full of children for his PC and a vat full of coffee. Ironically he now spends practically as many days in schools as he would as a teacher and manages to visit over one hundred and fifty a year.

He is the author of both picture books and junior novels and has written for both trade and educational lists. Recently he has written titles for both Pearson Education and Nelson Thornes. In 2014 he published his historical novel, Stars, set in Warsaw during the time of the Nazi occupation in WWII.

Antony grew up in North London. He is married with three children.

Paul Magrs

Magrs is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction works. Magrs' first three novels, Marked for Life, Does It Show? (1997) and Could It Be Magic? (1998), share characters, a magical realist tone and a setting: the fictional Phoenix Court council estate in Newton Aycliffe.

Magrs' first children's book, Strange Boy (2002), prompted controversy due to homosexual content involving its 10-year-old protagonist and a 14-year-old neighbour. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals supported libraries' purchase of Strange Boy, as did representatives of Stonewall and other gay rights organizations.

Magrs has written several novels, short stories and audio dramas relating to Doctor Who, many of which also feature his character Iris Wildthyme. Magrs has also written licensed Doctor Who fiction without Wildthyme, including the 2007 novel, Sick Building, (which made the shortlist for the Doncaster Book Award).

Magrs' current ongoing novel series is The Adventures of Brenda and Effie, starring Brenda, the Bride of Frankenstein, who has now retired and runs a B&B in Whitby. She and her friend Effie, a local white witch, investigate spooky goings-on in the town.

Bridget Marzo

Bridget Marzo is an artist-author of over 20 internationally-published picture books, and novelty books, working directly with French and US publishers (formerly as Bridget Strevens Marzo) as well as most recently in the UK with the Tate. Known for her warm characters and interactive invention, she loves inspiring children. Her latest UK picture book, Tiz and Ott's Big Draw has been a springboard for drawing events in museums, at the South Ken Kids Festival, the China Bookworm festival in Beijing and in schools in the UK and abroad.

From her state school in Essex, she got into King’s, Cambridge to study English but changed promptly to Chinese and Art History and ran life classes in the college. After graduating she move to Paris where her mother's Catalan family (refugees from the Spanish Civil War) were based. Based in France for 3 decades, she financed her early years at the Beaux-Arts by teaching classes of bilingual children, copying old paintings and translating art books. She wrote and illustrated her first picture books in the 1990s and and later taught children's book illustration and 2-D design at Parsons Paris. Moving to East London in 2011, Bridget happily shortened her name - and lengthened the time she spends in a shared studio.

Irfan Master

Irfan Master is the author of, A Beautiful Lie, which was published by Bloomsbury and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and Branford Boase Award for debut authors.

Recently he has been published in an anthology of original and diverse stories, Lost and Found on the theme of home by Leicestershire writers (Dhalia Publishing, 2016), a story for a graphic novel anthology, This Side, That Side about Partition (Yoda Press), a radio play, For the Love of Something commissioned by Leicester University and a short story, Once Upon a Time for Booktrust that was adapted into a touring show, aimed at Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Somali families; the tour visited prisons, libraries and community centres to encourage and celebrate storytelling.

Jonathan Mayhew

Jon Mayhew is a man with a dark imagination, who has always loved writing and storytelling. An English teacher (to children and teenagers) for 20 years, he now works as a specialist teacher for children with autism. He has four children himself and, when neither teaching nor writing, he plays in ceilidh bands and runs marathons. Jon lives between the ancient cities of Chester and Liverpool. Jon's debut novel, Mortlock, was shortlisted for the 2011 Waterstone's Children's Book Prize and longlisted for the 2011 Branford Boase Award.

Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre is a British-American illustrator and writer of children's books and comics. She graduated in 1999 from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Russian and a minor degree in History of Art and earned her Master's Degree in Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts in 2007. She works with other artists in The Fleece Station studio in Deptford, South London.

McIntyre was awarded the Sheffield Children's Book award for Best Picture Book and Overall Winner for her illustrations in the book Morris the Mankiest Monster in 2010, which also won the Bishop's Stortford Picture Book Award 2010. Her book Oliver and the Seawigs with Philip Reeve won the UKLA Book Award in 2015 in the age 7–11 category and their Pugs of the Frozen North won the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award in 2016.[4] She also won the Leeds Graphic Novel Award 2011 for Vern and Lettuce, which ran originally as a weekly comic strip in The DFC and in The Guardian newspaper.

Her projects include designing Monsterville at Discover Children's Story Centre in Stratford, London and participation in its online StoryCloud project. She curated The Comics Big-Top of Awesome at the 2012 Pop Up Festival in London. In 2015 she began spearheading the #Pictures Mean Business Campaign, demanding greater prominence and credit for book illustrators.For her campaign efforts, The Bookseller magazine listed her as one of their 2016 Rising Stars.

Michaela Morgan

Born in Manchester, she left in order to misspend her youth in more exotic locations. She now splits her time between Brighton (where sadly she has yet to fulfil her potential as a rollerblader), keeping warm on the Cote d’Azur, and Zumba sessions in Rutland.

She was educated at the Universities of Warwick (BA Hons English), Leicester (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) and Cambridge (Further Studies in Education). Michaela has taught a wide age range, from bright-eyed infants to jaded fraudsters. She was a writer in residence in prisons and has run many workshops for children and adults.

A popular speaker at national and international conferences, her work includes a British Council sponsored trip to South Africa to give talks and run workshops with teachers in townships. She has also visited schools in the USA, France, Switzerland and Spain.

Linda Newbery

Linda Newbery's Set in Stone won the Costa children's prize, and she has twice been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, for The Shell House and Sisterland. Her first novel for adults, Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon, was a Radio 2 Book Club choice, and she is currently working on a second. Together with Adele Geras and Celia Rees she hosts Writers Review, a weekly review blog.

Korky Paul

is a British illustrator of children's books. He was born and raised in Rhodesia but now lives in Oxford, UK.

His work, characteristically executed with bright watercolour paint and pen and ink, is recognisable by an anarchic yet detailed style and for its "wild characterisation".

Jeff Perks

Jeff Perks is an artist who lives in Derbyshire, UK. He specialises in paintings, prints - primarily linocuts and cardboard cuts - and sculptures - using wood, metal, clay and stone.

He was a mature student at the National Film and Television school leaving to become a freelance Producer/Director at both the BBC where he made arts programmes for Arena and Omnibus and the new Channel Four, including films about artists, cartoonists, punk bands and women comediennes. His painting and sculpture has been exhibited at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Liverpool Blue Coat Gallery and Bristol Arnolfini Gallery.

Chris Priestley

Chris Priestley grew up in Wales and Gibraltar, where as a nine-year-old, he won a medal in a local newspaper’s story-writing competition. In 1976, after spending his teens in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he left to study illustration at Manchester Polytechnic, leaving in 1980 to freelance in London. He worked as an illustrator for a wide range of clients and his work appeared regularly in The Times, The Listener and The Observer. He also worked briefly as a poster designer for the Royal Court Theatre and others.

He has produced several strip cartoons - ‘Bestiary’ for The Independent on Sunday (with Chris Riddell), ‘Babel’ for The Observer, ‘7:30 for 8:0’ for The Independent and ‘Payne’s Grey’ for the New Statesman. From 1990 to 1996 he was a weekly cartoonist on The Economist and from 1996 to 1998 a daily cartoonist on The Independent. His paintings have been widely exhibited, most recently at the Eastern Open and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, both in 2013.

In 2000 he published his first children's book Dog Magic. In 2004, Death and the Arrow was shortlisted for an Edgar Award[4] in the US and in 2006, Redwulf's Curse won the Lancashire Fantastic Book Award. Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth won the Dracula Society Children of the Night Award in 2009 and Mister Creecher won the BASH (Book Award St Helens) in 2012.

Chris Priestley has also written for radio, contributing two stories to the BBC Radio 2 It’s Grimm Up North collection of Brothers Grimm updates, transmitted on Christmas Eve 2012.

Saviour Pirotta

Saviour Pirotta is a British writer of Maltese heritage. He has written children's books, plays and short stories for adults. He is mostly known for the bestselling The Orchard Book of First Greek Myths and the Ancient Greek Mysteries Series for Bloomsbury.

The author is now a British citizen and lives in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. He is very much committed to empowering children to write and still performs workshops and story-making sessions in schools around the UK. He is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the SCBWI and the Scattered Authors' Society.

Susan Price

Susan Price is an English author of children's and young adult novels. She has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize for British children's books

Many of Susan Price's works are fantasy, from science fiction to ghost stories; some are historical novels; others are about animals or everyday life. Many of her short stories are re-tellings of tales from folklore. Her first Ghost World novel, The Ghost Drum (1987), is an original fairy tale using elements from Russian history and Russian folklore. She won the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association.

In The Sterkarm Handshake (1998) and its sequel A Sterkarm Kiss (2003), time travel brings together a young anthropologist from 21st century Britain and a young warrior from 16th century Scotland. They become lovers and she sides with his border clan in conflict with a 21st-century corporation. For the first book, Price won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

Jane Ray

Jane began her career designing greetings cards, book jackets and posters. Gradually however she moved towards children’s book illustration, specialising in fairy tales, mythology and folk tales, which she finds endlessly fascinating. Jane finds writing as absorbing as illustration. `Can You Catch a Mermaid?`, `The Apple Pip Princess` and `The Dolls House Fairy` all published by Orchard Books, were followed by `Ahmed and the Feather Girl.` published by Frances Lincoln in 2010.

Her work frequently takes her into schools where she finds the thoughts and responses of children invaluable and stimulating. Recently she has created 200 mythical beasts in a London Primary school, worked with the Pop-Up Festival, and painted murals for Enfield Children’s Library, working with local children. She is also Artist in Residence at The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. Jane frequently exhibits her work with The Illustration Cupboard and Primavera, Cambridge and is the IBBY UK Illustration Nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award 2018.

Celia Rees

Celia became a teacher after leaving university and taught English in comprehensive schools in Coventry for sixteen years and this is when she began to write.

She has written over twenty books for teenagers and her books have been translated into 28 languages. She has been short listed for the Guardian, Whitbread (now Costa) and W.H. Smith Children’s Book Awards. She is a regular tutor for the Arvon Foundation. She has been Chair of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group and is currently on the Society of Authors’ Management Committee.

Chris Riddell

is a British illustrator and writer of children's books and a political cartoonist for the Observer. He has won two Kate Greenaway Medals, the British librarians' annual award for the best-illustrated children's book, and two of his works were commended runners-up.

Books that he wrote or illustrated have won three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes and have been silver or bronze runners-up four times. On 9 June 2015 he was appointed the UK Children's Laureate.

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is an English children's novelist and poet, the author of 140 books. He served as Children's Laureate from June 2007 to June 2009. He has been a TV presenter and a political columnist.

Rosen played a key role in opening up children's access to poetry: both through his own writing and with important anthologies such as Culture Shock. He was one of the first poets to make visits to schools throughout the UK and further afield in Australia, Canada and Singapore. His tours continue to enthuse and engage school children about poetry in the present.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt, written by Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, won the overall Nestlé Smarties Book Prize in 1989 and also won the 0-5 years category. The publisher, Walker Books, celebrated the Work's 25th anniversary in 2014 by breaking a Guinness World Record for the 'Largest Reading Lesson'.

He was formerly a Visiting Professor of Children's Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, where he taught Children's Literature. Since September 2014 he has been at Goldsmiths, University of London as Professor of Children's Literature in the Department of Educational Studies teaching an MA in children's literature. He is also a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children across the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres.

Lawrence Schimel

Lawrence Schimel was born in New York City and has lived in Madrid, Spain for nearly two decades. Writing in both Spanish and English, he has published over 100 books as author or anthologist, for both young readers and adults. His picture books have been chosen for the White Ravens and by IBBY for Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities (twice), among other honors.

He is also a prolific literary translator, recently of the award-winning middle grade novels The Wild Book by Mexican writer Juan Villoro and The Treasure of Barracuda by Spanish author Llanos Campos.

Nick Sharratt

Nick Sharratt (born in London, 1962)[1] is a British illustrator and author of children's books, and was chosen to be the Official Illustrator for World Book Day 2006. Sharratt has illustrated around 200 books, including over 40 books[3] by award-winning author Jacqueline Wilson, among them The Lottie Project, Little Darlings and The Story of Tracy Beaker which was the most borrowed library book in the UK for the first decade of this century. The books on which they have collaborated have sold more than 30 million copies in the UK and sales of picture books illustrated by Nick exceed 9 million.

John Shelley

John studied illustration in Manchester and debuted in London before living in Japan for over 20 years, seeking the connection between Ukiyo-e and Ultraman. In Tokyo he worked on illustration for a wide variety of clients from advertising to editorial, and children's books for publishers in East and West. Now John is once more based in the UK.

Most of his work is based around pen and ink drawing, either coloured traditionally in watercolour, or adapted digitally. He is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and Society of Authors (SOA).

Piers Torday

Piers began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His bestselling first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as numerous other awards. His second book, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. The third book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond, was published in 2015 to critical acclaim. His next book for children, There May Be A Castle, was nominated for the Carnegie medal and was listed by The Times as a children’s book of the year.

Piers has recently adapted John Masefield’s The Box of Delights for the stage and the world stage premiere will appear between December 2017 and January 2018.

Colin West

Colin West was born in 1951 and studied Graphic Design at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, and Illustration at the Royal College of Art, London.

Shortly after graduating in 1975, his first book, a collection of nonsense verse was published. Since then he has written over sixty more children's books, and aims to continue till he runs out of ideas!

Alex Wheatle

Alex Wheatle is an award-winning novelist who received an MBE in 2008. He has been hailed as “The Brixton Bard”, a nickname from his DJ days as a founding member of the Crucial Rocker sound system. He has spent time in prison for his involvement in the 1981 Brixton Riots. His latest novel, Brenton Brown, is the long-awaited sequel to his acclaimed debut Brixton Rock.

Now a successful writer with seven books published and an MBE to his name, Alex hopes that these early experiences will help him encourage a younger generation. He makes at least ten prison visits every year and regularly gives talks at schools all over the UK and sometimes abroad. He feels that it is important for young people to see that success is available to everyone – not just in writing but in any profession. Alex was awarded his MBE in 2008 for services to literature and largely as a result of his work supporting young people, particularly those from poor or unstable backgrounds.

Jane Yolen

is an American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and children's books. She has produced more than 280 books, of which the best known is The Devil's Arithmetic, a Holocaust novella. She has won numerous awards including the 1987 Special World Fantasy Award, a 1999 Nebula for Lost Girls, and the 2009 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Dr Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah was born and raised in Birmingham, England. He cannot remember a time when he was not creating poetry but this had nothing to do with school where poetry meant very little to him, in fact he had finished full time education at the age of 13. His poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls ‘street politics’.

His first book of poetry for children called Talking Turkeys had to go into an emergency reprint after just 6 weeks, no one could foresee how popular the book would be, it went to the top of the children’s book list and stayed there for months. At first he was not keen on publishing a book for children believing that there was just poetry, not children’s poetry or adult’s poetry, but he was soon convinced that young people did appreciate the fact that he was not afraid to write about the real world where there are bullies, guns, racism and war.