SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards

So… utterly unexpectedly and utterly wonderfully, this happened:

Night of the Party has been shortlisted for the SCBWI-BI Crystal Kite Award.  It’s hard to express quite how wonderful this feels. For one thing, it came as a complete shock: there were so many great books on the long list, that I absolutely hadn’t expected to make it through to this stage; not even in one of those wistful if only dreams that can’t quite be dispelled from the back of the mind.

It means so much too, that it’s a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) award. I started my writing life as a solitary creature, discovering SCBWI only after five years and three books, at a time when I was feeling very lost and disenchanted. SCBWI played a huge part in getting me out of that dip, connecting me with a wonderful crit group (Dale Mathers, Carolyn Boyes, Julian Gibbs and Sarah Dalkin) and, through the 2016 Agents’ Party, with my wonderful agent Molly Ker Hawn. And as well as all that, this group has been a source of so much advice, information, debate, challenge, enjoyment, celebration – and above all, friendship: I have truly made some of the best friends of my life here.

So, this is the best thing. And I am delighted.



Interesting Times UK Bookshop Tour

From C16th England, to First World War France, to a dystopian near-future UK, the INTERESTING TIMES tour spans countries and centuries. Black Snow Falling by Liz MacWhirter, The Goose Road by Rowena House and my own Night of the Party are diverse and different novels. At first glance about the only thing they have in common is that they’re all UK debuts published this year!

But when we came together with the idea of doing a bookshop tour, and started to discuss our books in more depth we found a common thread running through all of them.

These are all stories where big histories have an impact on individual lives: where cultural, social and political forces create constraints and challenges for the people caught up in them. In these three different worlds, our teen protagonists have to struggle to survive, to carve out a space for action, to pursue their various visions of a good future – dilemmas which, surely, resonate for us all in our own interesting times of 2018.

We were delighted to start the tour this weekend, with events at Waterstones, Argyle Street, Glasgow, and Blackwell’s, Edinburgh. Our huge thanks go to the shops for hosting us, and to Elizabeth Frattaroli and Sarah Broadley of SCBWI for chairing our discussions and for their penetrating and challenging questions!

We’re looking forward to being on the road again in 2019!



SCBWI London Book Group

I’m so pleased to have been invited to discuss Night of the Party at the SCBWI London Book Group. SCBWI’s been such a great source of support and comradeship while I’ve been writing, so this invitation really means a lot to me.

My brilliant editor at Scholastic, Linas Alsenas, will be there too, and we’ll be talking about Plot, Pace and Tension: how to keep your readers chewing those nails and turning those pages…