I grew up in Scotland where weekends were spent building dens in the woods, jumping into icy rivers, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. School came as a bit of a surprise (lots of ‘being inside’ and ‘listening’) but English lessons were great. I loved stories – reading them, writing them, listening to them – and it was back then that I discovered worlds behind wardrobes, teachers called Trunchbull and shape-shifting daemons…
I got through school, despite being branded as ‘unteachable’ and ‘prone to spasmodic outbursts of silliness’ by my headteacher, and after an English degree at Bristol University and several years as an English teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London, I am now back to hiding in tree houses and building dens – sometimes in real life, mostly in my books.
When I’m not writing, I travel the world looking for my next story (I’ve lived with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and dog-sledded in the Arctic), work as a volunteer for a reading charity called Beanstalk, and as a patron for the brilliant Grimm & Co, campaign hard for Authors4Oceans and remember the good old days when I used to dress up as a unicorn.
My 2021 World Book Day Message
Calling All Young Eco Warriors
In my UNMAPPED CHRONICLES series, our world is on the brink of chaos: storms are raging, animals and plants are nearing extinction, oceans are drying up & ice caps are melting. I wish these were imagined scenarios but they’re not. From climate change to plastic waste, overfishing to deforestation, our planet is in trouble and it needs YOU to help it… We’re far more likely to stand up and protect something though if we feel passionate about it. So, first of all, fall in love with nature:
Explore the wild
Get outside every day, even if it’s just to splash in a puddle, look at the moon or watch the clouds drift by. The wild is full of wonder and spending time in the natural world will not only inspire you to care for the planet but it’ll also make you infinitely happier.
Read about the wild
For adventure stories set in the natural world, try books by Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Katherine Rundell, Sarah Driver, Jasbinder Bilan, Gill Lewis, Nizrana Farook and Nicola Davies. For nonfiction: Jess French, Ben Garrod, Katie Daynes and Clive Gifford
Take steps to protect the natural world:
Visit Authors4Oceans.org & sign the pledge which lists simple ways you can reduce your use of plastic & help save our oceans
If you come across litter outdoors – in the park, in the woods, on the mountainside and especially on the beach – pick it up and put it in the bin
Recycle waste, donate clothes & toys to charity shops, use beeswax to wrap food, turn off lights, use bags-for-life when shopping, drink tap water
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