THE COMPETITION – Students are being asked to complete a 500 word short story on the topic of Skelmersdale. The deadline is 13th October 2023, and the winner will be announced on 27th October 2023.
THE PRIZE – The winning piece will be published in the Winter 2023 Edition of About the Town Magazine, and the winner will receive a signed set of Susan’s books, which will be presented at school during a FREE one hour school visit and talk from Susan Brownrigg herself.
2nd and 3rd place runners up will be published on the About the Town website, and all submissions will be displayed in the Concourse on 18th November at the community Kiosk.
All children who submit work can also collect a free selection box on the day for their participation. Full details and T&C’s can be found on our website www.aboutthetown.co.uk
It was an absolute pleasure to take part in this year's Northern Literary Festival organised by Uclan Publishing.
The festival takes place on the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan) Campus in Preston and there was a Young Adult strand and a Kids strand.
I took part in a panel event called Dare to be Different which was hosted by Jennifer Claessen author of The October Witches. Alongside me on the panel were Laura Noakes author of Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star and Kimberly Whittam author of Quiet Storm.
We answered questions about our characters, our inspiration and our research methods.
It was also lovely to catch up with author friends and to make new ones.
Thanks to author Liz Flanagan for permission to share her photo (right) of the panel event.
I am thrilled to have been awarded a work-in-progress Foundation Grant from the The Society of Authors to enable me to finish writing my children's book about the Rainhill Trials and to carry out more exciting research!
I will be using the grant to travel on the Liverpool to Manchester railway route, study microfiche records at Liverpool's Central Library, visit Port Carlisle and research paddle steamers. I also plan to visit Chesterfield Museum, Rainhill, Beamish Living Museum and have a footplate experience on a steam train. The grant will also allow me to dedicate more time to writing and editing my book.
To find out more about the Society of Authors grant CLICK HERE
I am over the moon to announce that a heritage blue plaque for Audrey Mosson, 10th Railway Queen of Great Britain and the first female to switch on the Blackpool Illuminations has been unveiled at her former home in the resort.
As many of you will know, Audrey was the inspiration for the plot in my debut children's book Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest - a seaside mystery set in 1930s Blackpool.
I nominated Audrey for a blue plaque to Blackpool Civic Trust and jointly sponsored the plaque with her family.
The blue plaque was unveiled on May 20th, 2023 by the Mayor of Blackpool, alongside myself and Joan Humble, Chairman of the Blackpool Civic Trust with three generations of Audrey’s family watching on - including four of her grown-up children.
The plaque looks beautiful on the wall of the former Mayfair Hotel, Lonsdale Road, where Audrey lived with her family.
I hope the blue plaque will inspire young women today and that Audrey’s memory will live on for many years to come.
Thanks to Paul Humble for sharing his photographs of the unveiling ceremony below.
I am delighted to be taking part in a panel event at Uclan Publishing's NYA Kids Literary Festival in Preston this summer.
I will be joining children's book authors Laura Noakes (Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star) and Kimberly Whittam (Quiet Storm) for the Dare to be Different Panel on 22nd July 2023. The panel will be chaired by children's book author Jennifer Claessen (The October Witches)
I had a brilliant time at Oakdene Primary School in Rainhill sharing my journey to publication with year 3 to 6.
The children cheered at my successes and sighed at my disappointments, and voted for me to keep trying at each stage!
Oakdene have a set of school values and this term they have been focusing on perseverance so my talk was very apt.
I especially enjoyed hearing their motivational song about determination which was really catchy!
I also answered the children's questions about being an author and signed copies of my books.
Thanks to Friends of the Rainhill Trials for inviting me to also congratulate the winner of their poster competition. I gave the winner a signed set of my books as a prize.
I had a lovely time at SS Peter and Paul, Bolton when I was invited to speak to Year 6 as part of Bolton Library's Class of 37 Mass Observation Project.
I will be visiting four different primary schools to talk about Blackpool and my 1930s detective series which is set in the resort.
Pupils learned about the history of the illuminations, looked at original postcards, as well as smelling seaside smells and listening to sound samples.
Volunteers also dressed up as characters from my book.
Pupils were each gifted a signed copy of Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest thanks to funding secured by the library.
I have had a brilliant time at What's Your Story, Chorley? the annual festival of words. I met lots of lovely children at the two events I delivered.
On Wednesday evening I ran my workshop Step Back in Time for Stories at Chorley Library where children used maps to prompt ideas for characters and plot.
Then on Saturday, families joined me at Chorley Library for Lights Delight where I explained how the illuminations were the inspiration for my Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest book. Children looked at authentic Blackpool postcards, sniffed seaside smell cubes and tried on costumes. They then created their own Blackpool Illuminations design (below) using black card and colourful pastels.
Thank you to the volunteers, Library staff and Ebb & Flo booksellers for making me welcome.
I was flattered to be asked to run an after school creative writing club for St Wilfrid's Primary School, Standish, last term. The club ran on a Friday evening with 20 pupils from Year 2 to Year 6.
Starting with a Getting to Know You session where I spoke about my childhood, family and journey to publication then the pupils interviewed each other and wrote up what they learned about their interviewee.
In the following four weeks pupils created their main character and wrote a description about them, chose a setting for their story using maps, and created fabulous scenes using comic book art. Pupils all received a goody bag at the end of the series of workshops.
I was very impressed by all the writing created during the sessions.
I was delighted to be invited to attend the opening of the new Uclan Campus bookshop at Media Factory, Uclan, Preston. The bookshop is fabulous and filled with all the amazing books published by Uclan and will be open to students and staff.
A host of Uclan authors and illustrators were invited to the launch - with author Liz Flanagan (Wildsmith Series) cutting the ribbon. Author C.G Moore brought along his puppy dog too!
There were lovely cakes for guests and I enjoyed signing copies of my Gracie Fairshaw and Kintana books.
I enjoyed catching up with poet Dom Conlon, author Jake Hope and Gracie Fairshaw/Kintana illustrator Jenny Czerwonka as well as the students - who have nicknamed themselves Team Gracie - who are about to typeset my third Gracie Fairshaw mystery as part of their MA Publishing course.
Thanks to Uclan, Jenny Czerwonka and Team Gracie for use of their photographs.
I had not one but two library visits lined up for World Book Day! In the morning I drove over to the lovely Formby Library to deliver a Path to Publication talk with Q&A to Year 6 children from Redgate Primary. Then it was over to Maghull Library in the Meadows Centre to speak to Year 4 children from St George's Primary School who wanted my autograph! Thanks to Sefton Libraries for arranging everything and the wonderful library staff who helped with technical issues and made me feel very welcome.
I am inviting young scallywags and their Captains (responsible adults) to join me for some pirate fun at Tyldesley Library on Saturday 4th February 2023 as part of National Storytelling Week! I will be reading from my Madagascan treasure hunt adventure KINTANA AND THE CAPTAIN'S CURSE and sharing interesting facts about the amazing island and its fabulous wildlife! Examine buccaneer props including flags, spyglass, and replica flintlock, smell some stinky pirate aromas and hold a huge replica elephant's bird egg! Then make a feathery paper parrot to take home! This event is suitable for ages 5-12.
I will be in pirate costume so why not dress up too! I will also have copies of my books available to buy including her Blackpool based Gracie Fairshaw mystery series books - Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest and Gracie Fairshaw and the Trouble at the Tower at a special price of £5 each (RRP £6.99) My books are suitable for ages 7-12.
This free event takes place between 10.30 and 11.30am. Please ring the library on 01942 488497 to book your free place.
As part of the Time Tunnellers, I have contributed to a new feature for the SCBWI British Isles online magazine, Words & Pictures. Historical Know How: Part one is all about finding inspiration in the past. You can read our top tips by clicking on THIS LINK. SCBWI is the society of children's books writers and illustators.