June 2023

Storyboarding creative writing workshop

I am delighted to be delivering two creative writing workshops in Blackpool on July 8th for families. Inspired by the Winter Gardens, the workshop is at 11am and repeated at 1.30pm.
Storyboarding is a method used by film directors to plan out their movies using visual images. In this interactive workshop will focus on breaking down your story idea into big scene moments.
Look at storyboard examples used by Alfred Hitchcock and animators before creating your own version. Art skills aren’t important – you can use stick characters if you are not confident at drawing!
Learn about the Winter Gardens and look at old postcards and other images that depict the entertainment complex through time. Then choose one of the venues as the setting for your story. This workshop is suitable for ages ages 5 – 16years.All children under 14yrs need to be accompanied by an adult. Accompanying adults will need a chaperone ticket – these are free for those attending but not taking part in the activity. The workshops take place at External link opens in new tab or windowAunty Social on Topping Street. Tickets (£2.50 each) and more info including access details are available at External link opens in new tab or windowauntysocial.co.uk/whats-on/ Part of Handmade High Street, Blackpool Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)

Society of Authors grant

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

Author Susan Brownrigg visits Pikes Lane Primary in bolton

Author visits to schools in Bolton

As part of a project organised by Bolton Library service I have visited three more brilliant primary schools in Bolton to talk about Blackpool and my Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest book.

I have been to Pikes Lane Primary, who shared the brilliant images (left) Brandswood Primary and Oxford Grove Primary School.

Bolton Libraries found funding to cover the cost of my visits and to gift a free copy of my book for all the pupils I spoke to.

I signed so many books I need to buy some new pens!

The children I met were fab and they enjoyed looking at old postcards, trying on costumes, hearing authentic Blackpool sounds and sniffing Blackpool smells too.

It is always a pleasure to team up with Bolton Libraries and I am very grateful for their ongoing support.

Time Tunnellers news

It is my turn again on the Time Tunnellers you tube channel and blog, this month I am talking about the history of soap!
I travelled to Port Sunlight on the Wirral to record the video - which you can view HERE You can read the blog
External link opens in new tab or windowHERE

The Time Tunnellers also feature on the Society of Children's Books Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) British Isles online magazine Words & Pictures where we share PART TWO of our know how articles. This time we are giving tips on researching historical children's books.

You can read the article External link opens in new tab or windowHERE

May 2023

Blue Plaque for Audrey Mosson

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 External link opens in new tab or windowGracie 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.

Panel event this summer

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)

Panel booking info to follow.
Book your admission tickets now - External link opens in new tab or windowhttps://bit.ly/3o9gWJC

Susan gives an assembly talk at Oakdene Primary in the school hall

Assembly talk at Oakdene Primary, Rainhill

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.

School Brownrigg speaks to Year 6 at SS Peter and Paul Primary, Bolton

Author visit to SS Peter and Paul, Bolton

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.


Bookmark charity auction

I have donated a bookmark to this year's External link opens in new tab or window#BookmarkProject. Bidding starts at 6pm on Monday 8th May and lasts for 15 days. 
The Bookmark Project is the brainchild of Sharon Hattersley and 1st Burley Brownies and all money raised goes to the primary school they support in Zimbabwe - Katiyo Sacred Heart Primary School. They are currently raising money to build and equip nursery classrooms at the school.
Last year the auction raised £14,000 for the school!. 
There are around 500 bookmarks being auctioned that have been created and donated by lots of brilliant children's books illustrators and authors - as well as celebrities.
My bookmark is lot number 328.
Update: The bookmark successfully sold - thank you to the bidders.

April 2023

The history of Glass

It is my turn on the Time Tunnellers blog and Youtube Vlog again this month. This time I am looking at the history of glass! I visited the World of Glass Museum in St Helens where I learned how glass developed over time.
St Helens is world famous for its glass and was home to a number of glass manufacturing companies - some that made bottles and others that made window glass. I was especially interested to learn more about the history of Pilkingtons - who revolutionised glass making in this country as my grandfather worked for 'Pilks' as a glass carrier for many years.

You can read about the history of glass External link opens in new tab or windowHERE

You can watch my video External link opens in new tab or windowHERE


Susan Brownrigg at What's Your Story, Chorley with two children in dress up hats

What's Your Story, Chorley? festival

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.

Artwork created by children at What's Your Story, Chorley? festival

After school creative writing club

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.

February/March 2023

Uclan Bookshop launch

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.

Collage image featuring Susan's books, Team Gracie students with Susan and Jenny, Uclan Publishing cupcakes, Susan Brownrigg and Jenny Czerwonka

Susan outside Formby Library (left) signing autographs (centre) and outside Maghull Library (right.)

World Book Day 2023

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.

A copy of Kintana and the Captain's Curse book on the beach with shells, a compass, sextant, hand grenade and leather pouch.

January 2023

Tyldesley Library visit

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.

Writing Tips series

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 External link opens in new tab or windowTHIS LINK. SCBWI is the society of children's books writers and illustators.