Its a great privilege to be included in the list of Nottingham Unesco City of Literature Writers for Young Readers.
When I am asked how I came to be a writer, I have to say that I don't know because I seem always to have been writing stories, or poems, or plays, and not all of them for children. For instance, the ‘100 stories for Haitia’ book below is for young adults and older readers and a lot of my poetry is for young adults and older readers, too. The first stories I wrote were for BBC radio and they were for the same age range.
I didn’t begin writing for children until I wrote a picture book, MATTHEW AND HIS MAGIC KITE and then when my own two sons went to Comprehensive school, I wanted them to know what life was like when I was a child, so I wrote ‘PRIVATE-KEEP OUT’ which is partly based on my own life.
As a child, I used to tell my sister bedtime stories - not always a good thing for her because I kept killing off her favourite characters - and, sadly, when I was sent to an Open Air School, (my second book, Knock and Wait is about that time in my life), which was a bit like a hospital and a school combined and I was given the job of telling stories to the girls there, I did the very same thing and got into terrible trouble.
Writing and reading have always been two of the most important and necessary things in my life.
I always tell others who want to write how great that is and how they should not only write on their own but also get together with other people who feel the same and have fun whilst they devel op as a writer.
This photo was taken at a commemoration event for Nottinghamshire writer, Alan Sillitoe.
I’m on the left, my friend, childrens’ writer, Helena Pielichaty is on the right and in the middle is the then Sherriff of Nottingham - a woman!