Author Events in Libraries this Summer

This summer holiday I will be visiting libraries to talk about my new children’s series, Defenders. The books feature Saxons, Vikings, Romans, Iron Age people, ghosts and a touch of football.

You can meet me in sixteen libraries from York to Plymouth to talk reading, writing and football during July and August 2017 – and to help launch the fantastic library Summer Reading Challenge.

When I started as a professional author, ten years ago, two-thirds of my author appearances were in public libraries. Now library events are rare: perhaps 5% of what I do.

Libraries have suffered terribly in the age of austerity. And that means library users have lost out too. The sad truth is that public libraries can rarely afford to pay authors to come and speak in libraries.

But a happy truth is that libraries made me what I am. Without them I would be neither a writer or a reader. So, this summer I have committed to doing eight days in libraries. To give something back to the public library service that changed my life.

My publisher Barrington Stoke and Peters Books set up the tour.

These are the libraries I will be visiting and the dates and times I’ll be there. If you need more details please contact the library or see their website. You can also email if you need any clarification.

Everyone is welcome to come, except York which is a school event in the library. All the events are free of charge to the public, as far as I understand.

Friday 14th July, 10 a.m.
York Central Library
A launch for York’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Tuesday 189th July, 3.45 p.m.
Hoyland Library, Barnsley
Launching Barnsley’s Summer Reading Challenge with Barnsley FC.

Wednesday 26th July, 11.30 a.m.
Central Library, West Bromwich

Wednesday 26th July, 2 p.m.
Bloxwich Library, Walsall

Thursday 27th June, 11.30 a.m.
Wolverhampton Central Library

Thursday 27th July, 2 p.m.
Halesowen Library, Dudley

Friday 28th July, 12.30 p.m.          
Crewe Central Library

Friday 28th July, 2.30 p.m.            
Alsager Library

Saturday 29th July, 1 p.m.
Storyhouse with Chester Central Library

Wednesday 23rd August, 10 a.m.
Widnes Library                
Contact number: 0151 907 8383

Wednesday 23rd August, 1 p.m.
Haydock Library, St Helens

Wednesday 23rd August, 4 p.m.
Penketh Library, Warrington

Thursday 24th August, 11 a.m.                   
Eccles Library, Salford

Thursday 24th August, 2 p.m.     
Swinton Library, Salford

Wednesday 30th August, 11 a.m.
Four Greens Hub, Plymouth
Contact number: 01752 306237

Wednesday 30th August, 2 p.m.
St Budeaux Library, Plymouth
Contact number: 01752 975916

Anne Frank and Football

During July I will write a ‘live’ story that will bring together football and the story of Anne Frank.

The story is from the point of view of a thirteen-year-old girl called Lily, who is about to go on a school trip to Holland. To visit Anne Frank’s House and to watch England play Scotland in the opening game of the EURO 2017 Women’s football tournament.

To research the story, I visited the Anne Frank House with my wife and daughter (age 13, usefully). I will be writing the last two chapters live from Utrecht as England kick off against Scotland.

I started this story wanting to write an exciting thriller about a group of children going on a school trip to Holland to watch football. But I am planning that there will be a lot more to it after my visit to the Anne Frank House.

The story will be about diary writing, football and Anne Frank. It will also link into the Football Association’s four values. It will feature the events of the next three weeks on and off the pitch. That’s the live element: I will write it the day before publication so that it is as live as I can make it.

Dutch Diaries will be made up of nine chapters. Each chapter will take ten minutes to read aloud. It is aimed at school years 4 to 8, roughly. In addition, there will be at least one episode where readers will be able vote on what happens next. It will be free to download three mornings a week from 3rd to July 20th.

Thanks to the National Literacy Trust and the Football Association for commissioning Dutch Diaries, as well as the accompanying writing exercises, blog and toolkit of in-school reading and writing activities, known as Literacy with the Lionesses.

You can read the first chapter of Dutch Diaries here.

Please pass this blog on to anyone who you think will be interested in promoting reading for pleasure, supporting women’s football and continuing conversations about understanding world events from the past and the present.

Thank you for reading.

Five things you can do to get behind the Lionesses

England Women, Scotland Women and fourteen other countries will play out EURO 2017 this month and next. It is a fantastic showcase for the women’s game as it makes giant strides from the grassroots to elite football.

There are five things you can do to help add to that momentum.

One. Watch tonight’s Denmark v England match and persuade your sons and daughters to watch it too. It’s England’s last warm up game before EURO 2017 kicks off and should give everyone a taste of what’s to come. Thanks to Channel Four for showing the game on their website.

Two. Read about EURO 2017 on the BBC website and She Kicks magazine. Hopefully there will be lots of coverage in the mainstream press too.

Three. Read chapter one of my free live EURO 2017 story, Dutch Diaries, published by the National Literacy Trust and the FA. And, if you like it, read all nine chapters to your family or school assembly as the tournament develops.

Four. Collect the Panini EURO 2017 sticker collection.  Available in WHSmith and other newsagents. (Although you may see this as a colossal waste of money,  it is good news that the women’s game now has sticker albums you can find in the shops.)

Five. Check out the National Literacy Trust’s spectacular range of literacy resources to use in the lead up and during EURO 2017. Great for schools, home and libraries.

EURO 2017 kicks off on 16th July. The final is on 6th August. This is the official website.