In February I had the chance to attend a week-long retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre near Inverness, and I’ve rarely been so nervous before anything. The Monday-to-Saturday retreat is a big part of the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards that I won in January, but I wasn’t at all sure how I’d fare, or whether I could cope with so much untrammeled writing time.Continue reading “Highland cattle and other miracles of writing at Moniack Mhor”
If you’ve ever felt there’s no point in applying for yet another writing competition or grant opportunity, because you simply never win, that was me last summer. Yet for Christmas 2018, I received an earth-shattering phone call that I’d been chosen for a £2,000 Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, supported by Creative Scotland. I did feel that the ground had opened beneath my feet, because after trying for this award and failing five years running, I had been this close to not applying.Continue reading “On winning a New Writers Award from Scottish Book Trust”
I was not going to bypass a story pitched as THE MARTIAN for teens, and SATELLITE fills its brief fabulously: you won’t be disappointed if you come looking for realistic space-exploration science. But this book delivered lots, lots more…so much that I’m planning to read it again.
SATELLITE follows 15-year-old Leo Freeman, one of the first babies to be born and raised on a space station, after his astronaut mom was discovered to be pregnant once in orbit. Leo’s got two older friend-“siblings” from a different mom, who got together with another fellow astronaut when they were on a long-term research program in orbit, part of preparation for human colonisation-journeys to other worlds. Continue reading “Review: Nick Lake’s realistic YA science fiction SATELLITE”
I found a knife in my pocket yesterday morning. My first thought was relief: I use it for gardening, but I’d lost track of it, and I had a Sunday of planting-out and tying-up planned. My second thought was, what if I weren’t a privileged white lady? If somehow I were stopped by a nervous police officer who was predisposed to see me as trouble, I wouldn’t be carrying my gardening knife, I’d be armed. Continue reading “Police brutality in children’s fiction”
Anyone who enjoys the two David A’s – naturalist David Attenborough or author David Almond – will love FISH BOY by Chloe Daykin, self-discovery novel by means of a clever bit of magic realism, a talking mackerel. Continue reading “Review: Chloe Daykin’s MG magical realism Fish Boy”
I bet you’ll enjoy this fantastic middle grade roadtrip story even if you aren’t crazy about the movie Contact, but you’ll get even more out of it if you’re as much of a space fan as I am. Continue reading “Review: Jack Cheng’s MG contemporary See You in the Cosmos “