Thanks for visiting. This is a good place to find out a bit more about me and my books. I’ve tried to keep it simple. This page is for news, plus information about booking me for a school or festival visit, links to my biographies and to teachers notes, and for anything else I might want to pop on here from time to time (such as apologies for not posting on Facebook for 15 months).
This page is also a launching pad. At the bottom are all my book covers. A click or tap on any one will take you to a page attractively decked out with my thoughts about that book – why I wrote it, how I wrote it, what it may or may not really be about, etc.
From each book page, another click or tap will allow you to read the first chapter of the book, and, if you like, hear me read it. (That last bit can be switched off if you prefer the sound of your own voice.)
Big excitement down my end of the office as a new toad book hops out into the world. Toad Delight is aleady published in Australia and New Zealand, and will be in the UK early next year. It’s eight years since I last spent time with Limpy, Goliath and Charm, and I’m delighted to report that they haven’t changed a bit. But the world has, which is why I wrote the book.
Make website-appropriate contact with the book cover adjacent to this sentence, and be wafted away to a page rich with exclusive behind-the-scenes revelations by the author. (Sorry, that was a bit wordy. My editor doesn’t do websites. Just click for the goss.)
You may notice that all five toad books have got lovely new covers. A big thank you to Andrew Weldon for the wonderful warty illustrations, to Tony Palmer for the very stylish design, and to editor Heather Curdie for passing on my obsessive nitpicking comments to them both with such grace and diplomacy.
At the moment I’m writing some short stories, and having lots of fun with them. They’re a great change of pace between novels, and I really enjoy how you can write about serious things in a sillier way than you can in a longer story.
This new collection is called Snot Chocolate and will be out in Australia and New Zealand in November, and a few months later in countries that have recently exited the European Union. No cover yet, but watch this space.
I’ve written drafts of all the stories in the collection, but there’s still some editing to do. I’ll be doing that late at night in hotels after leaving my desk at the end of July for a six week Australian schools tour.
I visit as many schools as I can each year. Bookings are organised by the following capable and nice-to-contact agencies:
The Children’s Bookshop Speakers’ Agency
for school visits in New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland.
Phone: 0407 414 261 or 02 9481 8811
Booked Out Agency
for school visits in Victoria and the rest of Australia.
Phone: 03 9824 0177
Fax: 03 9824 0677
Mail: PO Box 580, South Yarra, VIC 3141
If your school is in the UK, my school and festival visits there are looked after by
Authors Aloud UK
Phone: +44 (0)797 608 2049
All these lovely agencies will happily give you any information you need about fees, expenses, which colour Smarties in the dressing room, etc. Festival enquiries will be warmly responded to as well.
If your school is outside Australia and the UK, please don’t be deterred. I’ve visited schools in many other countries. To start with, best to contact me direct via firstname.lastname@example.org because there'll be a few important things to discuss like airfares and who's going to pay them and travel shots and whether you're prepared to have them for me.
Please feel free to use these for all legal and nice purposes. There’s a full-length one and a short one for schools with small notice boards.
These expertly-prepared teaching aids are a boon for the busy hard-working teacher. They’re pretty useful for the lazy teacher too.
Penguin Random House are currently preparing a new website where Teachers’ Notes for all my books will live. Soon there’ll be a link from here directly to them. For now, though, the link is to my page on the old Penguin Random House site, where some but not all of my Teachers’ Notes are available. A bit of further mouse/prod work will be needed to reach them, ie click or tap on the title you want.
And here we are, at that literary patchwork-quilt of delight that is my book covers. A launching pad to a world of discovery. And, for teachers of English because I love you all, a conveniently-located example of a mixed metaphor.