Here nor there

Poetry Pie

Two of my poems have been animated for the big new series Poetry Pie, on the Cbeebies Channel.  You can see ‘Six Pots of Paint’ on 16th March 2009 and ‘When My Mum Got Her Electric Wheelchair’ on 24th March 2009.  Both at 4:55pm.  The series features a whole lot of wonderful writers including Valerie Bloom, Roger McGough and Michael Rosen. And some of the poems will be available to view on the Cbeebies webpage, www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies .

Posted February 17th, 2009

Leap-Year Stories

As a way of celebrating the UK’s 2008 National (leap) Year of Reading, Scholastic Books have brought out a book called WOW! 366. It’s aimed at 5-11 year olds and contains 240 stories, all of which were donated by contributors and are exactly 366 words long:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/WOW-366-Speedy-Stories-Words/dp/1407107984

I gave them a story. So did Michael Morpurgo, Anne Fine, Raymond Briggs, Roddy Doyle, Terry Jones, Geraldine McCaughrean, Gervase Phinn, Wendy Cope, Tom Fletcher from the band McFly…and Gordon Brown. It costs £6.99, and profits from sales go to ChildLine.

There’s also a competition to write your own story in 366 words, open to all ages with a prize of 366 books. Go to: http://www.scholastic.co.uk/wow366/comp.

You can enter online. The closing date is 31st December 2008.

Posted September 5th, 2008

People Breaking My Things

I recently led the creative writing side of a two-week-long poetry, story and percussion project at a special school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It is the tenth year in a row that I have been lucky enough to take part in this project.

This has been a very rewarding challenge for me. I have learnt much from working with the sparky, sharp-witted boys and the school’s skilful staff. So many thanks to everyone who has helped it happen over the past ten years. Now I have a young baby and am living abroad I have said it will be the last year I do the project. And I will miss it.

This year I told the younger two classes a fast-moving Russian folktale called The Iron Wolf. Meanwhile the older boys worked on an Indian love story called The Snake Prince. A lot of strong writing was done in response to the stories. Many boys managed to write honestly about difficult subjects and, what’s more, stand up in a performance to read out their poems. So fair play to them and all the parents, carers and relatives who came to the performance on the 4th April.

This was one of the poems that I liked:

PEOPLE BREAKING MY THINGS

 People breaking my Lego.

People breaking my home.

People breaking my toys.

People breaking my mum’s car.

People breaking my toy cars.

People littering in the street.

People hitting me.

People making me so angry, I can’t breathe.

But I can count to ten

and think about a boat and happy feelings

on holiday in Cyprus.

by Aedan

Posted April 17th, 2008

Visit to Greenwich

I am back in the UK for a few weeks.  Had a lot of fun with Year Six from Harbinger Primary School, out in the West Sussex woods last week.  Thanks to every one of the children for their writing, their riddles and their moments of funky dancing, to Inno Sorsy, who worked alongside me, and to the teachers who, for eleven years now, have been helping make the Harbinger Writers’ Journey a special few days.

I will be telling some of the traditional stories from my new book, THE GREAT SNAKE, at The Eden Project, in Cornwall, this coming weekend.  And I will also be storytelling at Waterstones in Greenwich on the morning of Monday 7th April.  It’s a free event, running from 11.00 to 12.30.  Age-group 6-11.  Stories followed by a creative writing workshop and book-signing session.  Come along to that if you can.

Posted March 17th, 2008

Events in the Spring

Here is news of a couple of events coming up in the UK in the spring. In March I will be launching my new book, THE GREAT SNAKE – STORIES FROM THE AMAZON. I will be telling stories from the book and signing copies at Stanfords Book Shop in Bristol (29 Corn Street, BS1 1HT) on Saturday 15th March at 2pm. And I will be telling some of the stories from the Amazon on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday (22nd & 23rd March 2008) at The Eden Project in Cornwall. You’ll find me in The Tropical Biome…

Posted December 27th, 2007

Warm Night Air

I am writing this in warm night air in Brazil. My family and I arrived yesterday (after three years in England, living in Bristol). We are going to live here now, in São Paulo, a city of almost twenty million people. It’s famous for being a place of stress, hurry, pollution and violence. But it’s also a place of music, encounters, open-hearts and surprises. So I’m glad to be back! 2007 has been a heart-warming year for me and my wife Adriana. The most heart-warming part was the birth of our son, Joey back in January.

I hope to have this site up and running before the end of the year. So, if you’re reading this in time, let me wish you bright eyes and fresh adventures in 2008.

Posted December 27th, 2007