A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian - Whew!

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

How to Get Published in Children's Fiction

This is just a heads up about a presentation I'm doing aimed at anyone with the burning desire to get published. I will talk about the lessons I've learned in the journey to becoming a published author and I'll be giving top tips on how to maximise your chances of getting published.

10am to 11am
11 April 2014
London Metropolitan Archives
Spring Arts Festival

Here's a map to the LMA:

And here's a blurb about my talk!

Written a children’s book but not sure how to get it published?
It took Candy Gourlay nine years of rejection to get published -- but it was worth it. Her first novel Tall Story won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for 13 prizes including the Waterstones Prize, the Blue Peter and the Branford Boase. Come and find out about Candy's long journey to publication and the many lessons she learned along the way. Candy will give you top tips on how to survive an adventure that is definitely not for the faint hearted. Meanwhile, Nicky Potter, publicist at Frances Lincoln, will give you an insight into the publishers point of view. Take the opportunity ask Candy and Nicky your burning questions.


I've negotiated free entry to most of the events for members of SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). The other sessions include readings, a workshop on writing for the web, authors and sessions for children. Note: Not included in the freebee are the Dragon's Ink Workshop which is £10 and the craft workshop on how to make your own homemade book which costs £15. For £15 you can also book a half hour session with a literary agent. I think there're two slots still available.

I am told the London Metropolitan Archives is an amazing place - it stores more than 100km of historical documents, letters, maps and photographs. The first document archived was written in 1067 just after the Norman invasion, a charter from William the Conqueror outlining how he was going to deal with his new possession. You can watch a video about the archive here. Sounds like it's a must-go for authors!

IMPORTANT: Please do not book on Eventbrite if you plan to take advantage of the Festival deal for SCBWI. Turn up with your SCBWI member's card and you will be welcome to attend an event as long as there are spaces. If you'd like to pre-book your place to make sure, email Maureen Roberts.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Writer's Block? Just Write Rubbish

If you can't see the video, view The Writer's Block by KickThePJ here

My charming and beautiful daughter took time off from her GCSE tower to show me this video today.

Kick the PJ is one of those YouTube stars who make fab short films that make me wish I was still young enough to spend more time with YouTube. If you like this, do go forth and subscribe.

The message is: if you're blocked, just write rubbish!

I totally agree.

You don't have to write perfect prose all the time. My friend Jane McLoughlin (who wrote the amazing At Yellow Lake), sometimes jokes that she's writing but she hasn't written the long words yet.

I know exactly what she means. Writing gets done only by writing, but the words you are laying down don't have to be right the first time.

And if you're finding it hard? Just write anything.

Then those voices whispering in your ear ... you know, the ones that say, 'You can't write!' 'Your publisher is BLIND!' 'YOU HAVE NO TALENT!' -- yup, those voices *shudder* ... well, if you just write rubbish, they will eventually get bored and go away.

And when they go away, huzzah!

The words are sure to come.

Read my previous posts:

Readers Who WriteI love LibrariesBeast QuestStory is not colour blind
The Writer is You
Whoever You Are
Dear Candy Gourlay
Letters from
Ellis Guilford School
Multicultural is about
inclusion not
Origami Fan Mail

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