Thursday 29 August 2013

Writers' Bursaries & Fellowships for International Writers

Charles Pick South Asian Fellowship

Deadline 31st January 2014 at 12:00pm GMT

Award £10,000

The Charles Pick South Asian Fellowship is a six-month residential creative writing fellowship with an award of £10,000. The fellowship began in October 2002.

The Charles Pick South Asian Fellowship seeks to encourage the spirit of writing by giving support to the work of a new and, as yet, unpublished writer of fictional or non-fictional prose based in South Asia. The writer should be from South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Burma/Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), but does not need to be domiciled there.

Application forms must be submitted with an original typescript of 2,500 words. All applicants must provide a reference from an editor, agent or accredited teacher of creative writing.

All application forms and full details are available at:


The David T. K. Wong Fellowship

Deadline 13th January 2013

Award £26, 000

A year-long residential fellowship with an award of £26,000. Applications will be considered from established published as well as unpublished writers of any age and any nationality and will be awarded to a writer planning to produce a work of prose fiction in English which deals seriously with some aspect of life in the Far East.

Applicants must submit 2,500 words of unpublished work which they plan to undertake during the fellowship. Application fee is £10.00.

All application forms and full details are available at:


Please contact the organisers directly, thank you!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Exclusive Interview with Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, creators of 'Oliver and the Seawigs'

What inspired your collaboration on ‘Oliver and the Seawigs’?

PR: Sarah McIntyre is one of my favourite illustrators, and also one of my favourite people. We met at the Edinburgh International Book Festival three years ago, and started talking about books and drawings and swapping ideas, and eventually we just had to start writing books together.

SM: We first wrote a four-page comic for The Phoenix Comic. We did swapsies: I wrote it and Philip drew it, but we tossed it back and forth several times and we were both able to pitch in with words or pictures when something was needed. We wanted to do something longer together, maybe a sea story, and I was talking with him about going to a meeting of the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group (CWIG). I hate acronyms and always try to turn them into real words, and the word ‘Seawig’ set off a whole flow of ideas. 

Are your characters inspired by people you know?

PR: Not usually, but when I was growing up, my parents used to pack me and my sister into their camper van and go exploring all the wildest and wettest parts of Britain in the school holidays, so I can sympathise with Oliver ...

SM: And Iris the mermaid is short-sighted with a big bum, which of course is nothing like me. I wanted to be a mermaid when I was little and actually believed I could breathe underwater. So yeah, Iris is my avatar, really.

How do you create an illustrated novel – do the pictures come first or the words, or do they both play a part in creating the story as you go along?

PR: Oliver and the Seawigs isn't the usual sort of illustrated book where a writer writes something and then an illustrator illustrates it. Sarah was involved right from the start. The words are mine, but at least half of the ideas are hers.

SM: Philip was nice; if I made a mistake in the drawings, he’d tinker with the text so I wouldn’t have to redraw everything. For example, there’s one scene where an island giant emerges from the sea with a silly looking narwal on its head. And the text said the giant’s head was bare. But Philip thought, why would we want to get rid of a perfectly good narwal? And he wrote it into the story. 

If you could go back in time and explore anywhere, where would you choose and why?

SM: I’d have to get laser eye surgery first; if I went back very far in time I’d be completely blind and lost. And I think I’d also want to be a man, so I could do more things without getting burned as a witch or something. I think I’d hang out with the explorer James Cook and get a job as an artist on one of his sea voyages, drawing all the flora and fauna we discover. I once interviewed for a job as a rigger on the Cutty Sark, so I could train and get work fixing up masted ships around the world. But someone else got the job and they hired me instead as Ship’s Illustrator, and the Cutty Sark doesn’t go anywhere.

Or I’d even quite like to go just to the 1970s in Britain; it would have been fun to have been school friends with Philip and seen all these telly shows he’s always going on about. We had very different childhoods.

PR: the great thing about is having an imagination is that you don't need to go back in time and put up with all the witch-burning and lack of medicine and stuff. So I'm always exploring somewhere - Ancient Rome or Victorian London or the Gobi Desert - but I do it through books, from the comfort of my sofa. And I do still spend a lot of time in the 1970s and early '80s - those growing-up years are where most of ideas and influences still come from. It would have been fun if McIntyre had been there!

What were your favourite books as a child?

PR: Too many to list, really, but my favourites were all fantasy (like
The Lord of the Rings) or historical (like The Eagle of the Ninth) or funny ones (the Asterix books, and the Molesworth books by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (a great author/illustrator partnership!).

SM: Lots!
The Twenty-one Balloons by William Pène du Bois, Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Runaway Robot by Lester del Ray, No Coins Please by Gordon Korman, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  

What are your future literary ambitions?

PR: I've really enjoyed working with Sarah on
Oliver and the Seawigs. It's a real change of pace and approach after my longer, more YA-ish novels, and in many ways, it feels like a fresh start. So I hope there will be many more books like this, and that we'll build on the style we've developed and experiment with it. The next book will take us to outer space, the one after that to the frozen north (we think), and after that, who knows?

SM: I’d like to keep writing bonkers stories with my best friends, swanning around the world in awesome costumes, experimenting with new kinds of projects, and getting enough time to make silly drawings that aren’t for any project, just for me. I’d also like a full-time PA to deal with all the e-mails and things that keep me from drawing and writing stories.  

Do you have any top tips for budding writers and artists?

PR: I HATE writers' tips, and all those lists of rules for writing. Why are people so keen on rules? Writing should be about breaking rules and writing whatever you want to. The best way to learn is by reading a lot, and thinking about what makes your favourite stories work. It's quite a slow process, but if you keep reading and writing, it will come.

SM: If you particularly want to make books, don’t just study how to make pictures … make books! Make lots of books, make books quickly, don’t always be a perfectionist about them; the more books you make, the better you will get at making books. A little photocopied book makes a great business card, and making books teaches you about all the elements of book design. You can even learn about marketing your book by taking a stack of your home-made books to an indie comics fair or artist book fair where you’ve booked a table. You’ll learn how to present your work and discover what makes people stop, look and buy your books. Get a blog where you can build up an audience who like the way you work. 

Do you have a special place you write and illustrate?

PR: I have a studio in my garden which I write in; I like the peace and quiet, and there's no internet access so I don't have that distraction.  But I can write on trains or in
cafés if I need to, I'm not too fussy.

SM: I can sketch anywhere, but I do most of my book drawing in my studio, the Fleece Station. It’s a room in old police station in Deptford that I share with comics artist Gary Northfield and graffiti knitter Lauren O’Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade). When I’m writing, it helps to go to a café and tank myself up with some coffee.

Do you have any projects in the pipeline you’d like to tell us about?

PR: We're working on some follow-ups to Oliver and the Seawigs, which will be new stories featuring new characters. The first is called Cakes in Space and is about a girl on a long space voyage where all sorts of things go wrong. There are aliens, and robots, and cakes. I've finished writing it and I'm looking forward to seeing Sarah's pictures.

SM: I’m trying not to get ahead of myself and start planning the costumes already. Artwork first. Oh, and did I tell you that I’m going to be drawing much of the book on the International Space Station? I want to test how India ink flows in zero gravity. Oxford University Press are having to stretch their budget for this, but it will TOTALLY BE WORTH IT. That’s why people need to buy lots of our books, to pay for rocket fuel. I might even record a David Bowie song in space –
Changes - and wear a different-coloured sparkly space suit for each verse.

Where can fans of your work find out more about you and your work?
PR: My website is, and I blog at I'm also on Twitter as @philipreeve1, and I have a Facebook page,

SM: I make activity sheets for every book I do, so you can download Make-Your-Own-Seawig sheets, a sheet showing you how to draw a sea monkey and several other things. I think I’m going to keep adding to it:
Twitter: @jabberworks

Can you sum up ‘Oliver and the Seawigs’ in just 3 words?

PR: No I can't!


A huge thank you to Philip and Sarah for taking time to answer our questions! Please read on for Teagan Pritchard's review of 'Oliver and the Seawigs' ...

'Oliver and the Seawigs'
By Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
Published by Oxford University Press on the 5th September 2013
RRP £8.99 (hardback)
ISBN 9780192734556
Reviewed by Teagan Pritchard, aged 9

Oliver grew up in a family of explorers but his big adventure is about to begin, along with his newly- made friends, including a short-sighted mermaid, a grumpy old albatross and a friendly island called Cliff.

Oliver goes in search of his missing parents but before he can put his plan into action to rescue them there is Stacey de Lacey to deal with and, yes she is evil! Oliver also has to deal with an army of greasy sea monkeys that keep getting in the way.

This book was very exciting and funny. The pictures and illustrations are very clear and detailed. A good read to keep you guessing ...

Highly recommended for readers aged 7+


Friday 23 August 2013

Durham Book Festival announces 2013 programme

The annual book festival returns with guests including Linwood Barclay, Simon Armitage, Lucy Worsley, Alan Johnson, Mark Watson, Rachel Joyce, Jeremy Vine and Lynda La Plante plus a specially-commissioned family show adapted from Val McDermid’s My Granny is a Pirate.

This year’s festival takes place from 12th-20th October in a selection of venues around Durham. The varied programme for 2013 includes a thrilling list of internationally known crime authors, politicians, academics, poets, and writers of all genres and styles.

The programme includes many household names from literature, politics and broadcasting, including Jeremy Vine, Lynda La Plante, Alan Johnson, Lucy Worsley and Walter Mosley.

There are also several new commissions for this year, including a new piece of work by Festival Laureate, poet Paul Muldoon; Benjamin Markovits as the first ever Investec Ashes writer-in-residence; and musician and singer Kathryn Williams with a new EP of songs inspired by Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar to celebrate 50 years since its publication.

The festival will be hosting Carina Rodney's specially-commissioned musical adaptation of Val McDermid's children’s book, My Granny is a Pirate, directed by Annie Rigby. Musicians from Sage Gateshead and a team of performers will bring the acclaimed crime author's first foray into children's literature to life at Durham Town Hall on Saturday 12 October. New Writing North is also delighted to be taking the show on the road, touring to community centres, libraries and schools across County Durham as well as to Manchester and Sheffield as part of a partnership with other book festivals in the North.

The programme launch event included an appearance by acclaimed writer David Peace, author of the Red Riding Quartet and The Damned United, who read a short extract from his new novel, Red or Dead, and also announced the shortlist for the Gordon Burn Prize, which you can read more about here.

The launch also revealed a series of exciting events scheduled for young readers and writers in this year's programme, with the Durham Book Festival Schools Day on Wednesday 2 October and the Cuckoo Shop in Framwellgate where 14-25 year-olds can blog, book advice sessions with established authors, and generally take a sideways look at the festival. The Cuckoo Shop will also host exclusive masterclasses with authors Gavin Extence, Benjamin Markovits and Matt Haig and poets John Challis and Anna Woodford so aspiring writers can learn from the best. You can find out more about the Cuckoo programme for young writers at

There are many more events – over 60 this year, including a number of free events – so have a look at the full programme and book tickets at

Durham Book Festival is produced by New Writing North for Durham County Council and supported by Durham University and Arts Council England, with sponsorship from Banks Group, Swinburne Maddison, PwC, and the University of Sunderland.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Templar Publishing's 'Paper Watch' Project - Fundraising for Breast Cancer Care

Templar Publishing 2013 Charity Initiative
Templar Publishing and top illustrators are set to doodle, design and customise Paper Watches to raise money for Breast Cancer Care ...
Templar Publishing needs your help! We have been challenged to raise £5000 for Breast cancer care and here is why ...

Raising money for breast cancer became particularly relevant for Templar when it was announced just before Christmas that Amanda Wood, Creative Director of Templar Publishing, was being treated for cancer. We are delighted to say that Mandy is responding well to treatment. We have done all manner of crazy things to raise money thus far from marathons and hikes to beard growing contests.
Our latest charity initiative brings together 8o of the country's most talented illustrators who have volunteered to design paper watches in their signature style for our Paper Watch Project auction.

Illustrators on board include:
Gemma O’Neil,
Tim Easley,
and many many more!
The Facts

The auction will take place online in late September – Date TBC
Watches will have a minimum bid of £15
All proceeds will go to Breast Cancer Care
Designs will be previewed on our social media network @templarbooks and the Templar Book Facebook page


Twitter - @templarbooks
For more information please contact –

Developing Dylan is now Online

The website for Developing Dylan, Literature Wales’ new education project, is now live and ready for you to explore.

Find out about the creative writing workshops which will be available for teachers to book from 1 September, and discover the cross art-form workshops which will get young people playing with Dylan’s world through social media, music, visual art and spoken word.

Young writers from 7 to 25 will also be able to find out about Prologue to an Adventure, the Developing Dylan international writing competition.

The website offers a sneak preview into Dylan Live, the live music and bilingual spoken word show which will bring Dylan Thomas’ 1950s New York back to life through a fusion of vinyl, jazz, beat poetry, hip hop and spoken word. Poets Martin Daws, Aneirin Karadog and Zaru Jonson, hip hop artist Ed Holden, DJ Dyl Mei and academic Huw Vaughan Williams will sample, re interpret and mix music that is quintessentially New York with Dylan Thomas’ words for a unique live experience. Coming to a student union bar near you soon…

Whether through prose, verse, music or visual art, Developing Dylan will celebrate the diverse ways in which Dylan Thomas’ poetry can be appreciated, shared and enjoyed.

Developing Dylan is funded by the Welsh Government and will form part of the official Dylan Thomas 100 Festival.

The Developing Dylan website was designed and developed by

Wednesday 21 August 2013

National Poetry Competition 2013 by The Poetry Society is now open!

The Poetry Society runs many competitions and awards, amongst them some of the most prestigious prizes for young people: the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and SLAMbassadors UK, which closes for entries on 15th September, not to mention the many challenges set by the Young Poets Network since it launched last year.

Accepting entries from entrants aged 17+, the National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious poetry prizes. Winners include established and emerging poets, and winning has proved an important career milestone for many poets who are now well known – Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy won back in 1983. Despite the name, the competition accepts entries from all over the world, and, wherever you are, it's easy to enter online.

Julia Copus, Matthew Sweeney and Jane Yeh are this year's judges, and the top prize is £5,000. The top three winners are also published in the Poetry Society's leading international journal, Poetry Review.

The deadline is 31st October and you can enter online now or download an entry form from the Poetry Society website.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Poetry Wales Editor Vacancy

Poetry Wales is seeking a new editor following the announcement that Zoë Skoulding will retire after seven years in the role. If you have a vision for one of Britain’s leading poetry magazines – its content, delivery and marketing – Poetry Wales would like to hear from you. Your first issue will be an historic one – vol. 50 no. 1, due to be published in June 2014.

Founded in 1965, Poetry Wales is a quarterly magazine with an international reputation for excellent poems, features and reviews from Wales and beyond. Emerging from a rich bilingual culture, Poetry Wales explores the diverse perspectives of Welsh poetry in English and its international relationships.

Its interest in translation, and in local and national identities in a global context, are at the forefront of some of the most exciting developments in poetry today. The magazine is open to tradition and experiment, publishing poetry from a wide range of approaches. Against this background of dynamic contrast, it offers a lively and informed critical context for the best contemporary poetry.

Deadline for applications: Saturday 31st August 2013.

For further information email:

Award-winning poet's new edition for primary schools: 'Sun Time Snow Time' by Grace Nichols

‘Sun Time Snow Time’
By Grace Nichols
Published by A&C Black
RRP £6.99 (paperback)
ISBN 9781408193006
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans

Grace Nichols' first collection of poetry for children, Come on into my Tropical Garden, was published by A&C Black in 1988. 25 years on, A&C Black is proud to re-release this together with her second collection, Give Yourself a Hug, in a new single-volume edition.

This collection is split into Sun Time – poems from Grace’s childhood in Guyana, then Snow Time – poems from the last 30 years she’s spent living in Britain. There’s a lovely contrast of Caribbean culture, and the way the poems are written in the local dialect, to the British way of life. It’s a great blend of culture, sharing in rhythm and rhyme, telling stories of chidhood and of memories, that totally absorb you.

This is a lovely collection, and one that children will have fun reading and sharing with one another.

Highly recommended for readers aged 7+

Check out the Poetry Archive's Interview with Grace Nichols!

Friday 16 August 2013

Guest Blog: Julie Berry’s Top Five Teen Reads

We invited children's author Julie Berry to write a guest blog about her top 5 teen reads - Julie accepted the invite and here is her blog ...

"Distilling a lifetime of amazing reads into a top five list makes my head swim! So many titles have shaped the genre and changed the world, and I couldn’t begin to choose the definitive five. Instead I chose to highlight the five teen titles that affected me the most because I loved them completely. They transported me. They’ve stayed in my heart ever since. I’m an author today because of how deeply these books got under my skin. 

I realize bending the assignment this way is a bit of a cheat. Sit tight; the cheating is just beginning. 

'The Witch of Blackbird Pond' by Elizabeth George Speare (1958). It’s been years since I’ve read this – hmm, time for a read down memory lane! 'All the Truth That’s in M'e might be seen as a bit of an homage to this well-beloved classic. Not that I was thinking so consciously at the time that I wrote it, but looking back, it’s clear this touchstone title influenced me. 


'Keturah and Lord Death' by Martine Leavitt (2006). This story combines impossible romance and a startling premise with lulling, homey, nostalgic storytelling. It’s masterful, and oh, what a heartthrob! This was nominated for a National Book Award in the US. It’s so well-worth hunting down and reading. 



'The Perilous Gard' by Elizabeth Marie Pope (1974). This book doesn’t have the name recognition it deserves. Castles, fairies, kidnapping, underground caverns, and horrifying rituals – it has it all. Historical fiction that’s deeply archetypal, a dual hero’s quest. Is it fantasy? Is it psychodrama? You, the reader, must decide. I love, love, love this book. 



'Beauty' by Robin McKinley (1978). (And let’s cheat and throw in 'The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown' while we’re at it.) I have numerous journal entries from my junior high years, filled with ecstatic raptures of joy at Beauty’s existence in the world. I follow Robin McKinley on Twitter. One day I hope to meet her to tell her what her books meant to me. I hope my gushing won’t annoy her.


 'The Hobbit', and 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937—1954). Do I dare call this teen literature? I think I do, whether it’s cheating or not. I re-read the entire saga every Christmas. I know its flaws like I know my own: it’s long. It’s heavy on landscape. Too many orcs to count. It’s half-written in Elvish. Women scarcely appear and only a handful do anything interesting. Nevertheless, always and forever, Tolkien’s will be the fantasy epic, and Middle-Earth will be a regular tourist stop for me."


A huge thank you to Julie for taking the time to write a blog for us, we hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Julie's new book ‘All The Truth That’s In Me’ is out at the end of August, read on to find out more about it ...


‘All The Truth That’s In Me’
By Julie Berry
Published by Templar Publishing, 31st August 2013
RRP £10.99 (hardback)
ISBN 9781848779143

Judith can’t speak. Ever since the horrifying trauma that left her best friend dead, and her without her tongue, she’s been an outsider in her community of Roswell Station. All Judith can do is silently pour out her feelings to the love of her life, the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember – even if he doesn’t know it – her childhood friend, Lucas.

But when Roswell Station is attacked, longburied secrets come to light, the cruel become kind, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence or recover her voice, even if what she has to say might change her world and the lives around her, forever.

Highly recommended for readers aged 12+

You can find out more Julie Berry and her work at
You can find out more about 'All The Truth That's In Me' at Templar Publishing's website
Follow Julie on Twitter @julieberrybooks
Like Julie's Facebook Page 
Follow Julie's blog  

Thursday 15 August 2013

Gordon Burn Prize Shortlist Announced

New Writing North are delighted to reveal the shortlist for the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize, which was announced at the launch for the 2013 Durham Book Festival. The prize was set up by Gordon’s publisher Faber & Faber, New Writing North, and the Gordon Burn Trust to celebrate books which capture the spirit and sensibility of Gordon’s writing.

Born and raised in Newcastle – his mother worked at Binns, his father was a paint-sprayer and Gordon was a regular visitor to St James’ Park football ground – Gordon Burn, who died in 2009, is known as a writer who never shied away from a controversial or complicated story. For him, no subject or character was beyond fictionalising; from Peter Sutcliffe, Alma Cogan, George Best and Bobby Charlton, to Damien Hirst, Gordon Brown and Margaret Thatcher.

Renowned novelist David Peace, author of The Damned United and the Red Riding Quartet, was at the launch to announce the eclectic and exciting shortlist. Peace is one of the judges for the prize, along with journalist Deborah Orr and novelist and broadcaster Mark Lawson.

The 2013 shortlist, which includes fiction and non-fiction, from small and big publishers alike, and authors from all over the UK, is:

How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright (Tindal Street Press)
The Footballer Who Could Fly by Duncan Hamilton (Century)
People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry (Jonathan Cape)
Pig Iron by Benjamin Myers (Blue Moose Books)
Myra, Beyond Saddleworth by Jean Rafferty (Wild Wolf Publishing)

The winner will be announced on 19th October at a special event during Durham Book Festival at 6.30pm in Durham Town Hall, with the shortlisted authors reading from their work accompanied by music from Field Music’s Dave Brewis. Tickets are on sale from 10am on Thursday 8th August. For full details of the festival, including how to buy tickets for this and all the other events, see

Please see the Gordon Burn Trust website for further details on The Gordon Burn Prize as well as information on Gordon’s work.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Open Invite to Launch of the 8th Annual Summer Exhibition at Wisbech Museum

Invite to join Atelier East for the opening of the 8th Annual Summer Exhibition at Wisbech Museum.

Not only do you get to see an exhibition of some great art, you'll also get to hear Neil Cousin perform some of his magical songs, and enjoy some yummy food and wine! It's free to attend too!

Our exhibition events are always lovely, relaxed and friendly events, and as this will be Karen Harvey's last year curating the Atelier East Summer Exhibition, and she really hopes you will come along and join in the fun!

Feel free to invite friends and family, it really is 'the more the merrier'! 

All you have to do is drop Karen an email and let her know how many people will be coming with you, and Karen will be sure to be there to give you a warm welcome!

Karen Harvey | Creative Consultancy

Monday 12 August 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary - Eighth Author Announced ...

Eleven Doctors. Eleven months. Eleven authors. Eleven stories.
A year long celebration for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!

The eighth instalment in a sensational series of stories celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is written by Alex Scarrow, author of the thrilling time-travel series TimeRiders.

Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi TV show in the world and celebrates its 50th anniversary on 23rd November 2013. To celebrate, Puffin – in partnership with BBC Worldwide – is publishing an exclusive series of eleven ebook short stories each based on one of the Eleven Doctors, priced at £1.99 and released on the 23rd of each month from January to November 2013. Each story is written by a different author, bringing together some of the most exciting names in children’s fiction, from commercial blockbusters to literary award-winners. These authors will each bring their own interpretation and reimagining of their chosen Doctor to create a unique Doctor Who adventure in their own inimitable style.

Following on from short stories by Eoin Colfer, Michael Scott, Marcus Sedgwick, Philip Reeve, Patrick Ness, Richelle Mead and Malorie Blackman, TimeRiders author Alex Scarrow has written the eighth adventure in the series, based on the Eighth Doctor played by Paul McGann. Alex Scarrow commented: ‘I am squeeing like an over-sugared toddler at the thought of being part of this project. Doctor Who is an export this country can be proud of. We OWN time travel. My small part in this project was to breathe life back into the least known, Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann. I chose him because I felt I had the most room to manoeuvre, to explore a lesser known Doctor and add flesh to his character. In my story entitled Spore, we're getting a particularly grisly tale of an intelligent virus that liquifies and absorbs any creature it infects. All in all... quite gross - liquified people an' all.'

Synposis of 'Spore': In a small town in the Nevada desert, an alien pathogen has reduced the entire population to a seething mass of black slime. When the Eighth Doctor arrives, he realises this latest threat to humanity is horrifyingly familiar – it is a virus which almost annihilated his entire race, the Time Lords ...

Alex Scarrow Bio
@AlexScarrow used to be a rock guitarist, then he became a graphic artist, then he decided to be a computer games designer. Finally, he grew up and became an author. He has written a number of successful adult thrillers and several screenplays, but it’s YA fiction that has really allowed him to really have fun with the ideas and concepts he was playing around with when designing games.  He lives in Norwich with his son, Jacob, his wife, Frances and his Jack Russell, Max.  Find out more at

Friday 9 August 2013

Design Offer with MusaGrafica

Whether you use Twitter to promote your business or brand, or just Tweet for fun, do it in style with a stylish and creative theme design that’s unique to you. If you’d like an eye-catching, professionally designed theme then visit MusaGrafica at for more details. 

Special Offer: Matching Facebook or Google+ design for just an extra £10!

Book a Poet uses MusaGrafica and highly recommends them :)

Cuckoo Quarterly 7 flies the nest

Don’t miss the latest issue of Cuckoo Quarterly, our online literary magazine for young writers, which has just gone live at The issue contains the usual mix of poetry and prose, including Lewis Brown’s poem The Wolf Who Came to the Door, which won this issue’s Cuckoo Prize. The next issue of Cuckoo Quarterly will mark the site's second birthday. Submission details will be available shortly.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Call for Submissions: Publisher and Newspaper Join Forces to Offer New Crime Competition

Publisher Harvill Secker (part of Random House) has teamed up with The Telegraph to launch a new crime competition, the main prize of which is a publication contract and a £5,000 advance. The new competition is for unpublished writers, who stand a chance to share their publishing home with outstanding crimewriting talents such as Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Fred Vargas, Stuart Neville, Karin Fossum and Arne Dahl. 

To help aspiring writers with their crime novel, The Telegraph will publish a number of masterclasses, written by a host of crime writers, on its website over the coming weeks and months. These will be accompanied by video interviews. 

Masterclasses available to view online as of today are with:
You can see full details of the competition at

Each entry costs £5 and the deadline is 30th November 2013.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

National Poetry Day 3rd October 2013

National Poetry Day is a nationwide celebration of poetry for everyone, everywhere: from assemblies, bus-queues, cafes, greengrocers, hospitals, ice-rinks to waiting-rooms, yacht clubs and zoos.
It’s a day when poetry slips off its dust-jacket and takes to the streets. It’s a chance for people to use poetry to say things that can’t be said in prose.

This year's theme is ... water and National Poetry Day is Thursday 3rd October 2013.

NPD have seized on Coleridge's great phrase - 'Water, water, everywhere' - as inspiration for this year's National Poetry Day.

Make of it what you will: there are almost as many poems on the subject as there are drops in the sea. We will be posting some of them on this site, together with ideas from you on how to turn water into lines. NPD challenge participants this year to smuggle poetry into the most unlikely places: not just in libraries and classrooms, but on fishing boats and ferries, via postcards, mobile phones and announcements on station platforms.

Check out for lots of ideas and enjoy looking round their new-look site!