Metaphrog, ongoing patrons at Northfield Academy
It is really important to keep the website as up-to-date as possible, so that schools are not contacting authors who are already involved with the initiative. If you are a school that has approached a writer, or a writer that has been approached, even if nothing has been confirmed, please let us know via the 'Contact us' box. Thanks.
Beverly Clarke is a #TechWomen100 award winner. A former teacher and leader of computing at national level, she currently works as an author, education consultant, coach, mentor, ambassador and trustee. She has also been a Computer Weekly longlist nominee for Most Influential Women in UK Tech. Passionate about technology and the impact it is having upon all our lives, she created and published two books in The Digital Adventures of Ava and Chip series, with more to come! The series seeks to make understanding technology easy for children (and adults too!). Along with encouraging more girls and people from underrepresented groups into #STEM careers, Beverly has also written extensively for educators. Beverly seeks to be a patron for a school which is committed to developing STEM education, ideally in the South West.
Alan MacDonald has written over a hundred books for children ranging from picture books to longer fiction. He's best known for the popular 'Dirty Bertie' series with award winning illustrator, David Roberts. He has also worked as a scriptwriter on many children's TV series including 'Horrid Henry' on CITV. Alan has visited primary schools all over the UK, working with all ages and combining storytelling with occasional cartoons. He has performed at major book festivals including Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Bath and Hamburg. In the past he has been a Patron of Reading at two very different schools in Sheffield and Shropshire. Alan would love to link up with a primary school in the East Midlands or somewhere within an hour of Nottingham.
Ally Sherrick is an award-winning author of stories full of history, mystery and adventure. BLACK POWDER, her debut novel set at the time of the Gunpowder Plot, won the Historical Association’s Young Quills Award. Her latest story - VITA AND THE GLADIATOR – is a high-stakes tale set in the arena in Roman London. She has given author talks and workshops at schools and festival events across the UK. She’s a member of CWISL (Children’s Writers and Illustrators for Stories and Literacy) and The Time Tunnellers, a group of authors encouraging young people to dig for the story in history. A former Patron of Reading for a local primary school, Ally would love to work with a school within an hour’s travel of her home in Surrey.
Sarah Hagger-Holt is an award-winning author of warm-hearted stories of family and friendship for 10-13-year-olds. Her middle grade books centre LGBTQ+ and other diverse families and explore sensitive issues in an engaging and accessible way. Her time-travel adventure series for younger readers, the Hideaway Hotel books, will be published in mid 2023. She loves spending time in schools helping children find books that they love, get excited about reading and their own potential to create amazing stories. These visits are often a springboard for conversations about wider issues, such as bullying, healthy friendships, inclusion and diversity. She lives in Hertfordshire, and would be interested in being a reading patron for a school in London, Hertfordshire or anywhere in the South East.
Ray Douglas is a children's author, poet and illustrator based in the North West of England. His popular books aim to put a smile on a face, a laugh in the air and a thought in a mind. Ray has written and illustrated four books to date, two collections of rhymes and two picture books. Ray loves to visit schools, libraries and other groups in order to provide fun, interactive and uplifting workshops, sessions and performances which encourage confidence, inspire creativity and, of course, promote reading for pleasure.
Sophie Kirtley is a prize-winning poet and author. Her best-selling debut novel The Wild Way Home was Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month and, along with her second book The Way to Impossible Island, has been shortlisted for numerous awards. Sophie grew up in Northern Ireland and nowadays she lives in Wiltshire. Sophie loves reading, writing and inspiring others to be creative too – she has oodles of experience in working with children and has led events for Booktrust, National Literacy Trust and the Arts’ Council as well as at literary festivals across the country. Sophie would LOVE to be a Patron of Reading - she can't wait to get kids all fired up about books and ready to unleash their own story superpowers!
Brian Frederick is an award winning children’s author from Northern Ireland, now living in Bristol. He has published four books in the Siggy the Sausage Dog series, with more to come soon. Brian's stories entertain children and teach them the value of kindness above all, while encouraging reading with fast paced adventures. When he performs the stories at schools he always involves the children in the performance, and then presents a competition with a creative writing task and super prizes. Brian loves visiting schools as an author, and, whether he visits individual classes or reads to whole assemblies, the children are always excited about Siggy and really enjoy the visits and are eager for his return with the next adventure.
Ann Bryant is a children’s author and music educationalist with over 125 books published, including picture books, chapter books, series and stand-alone fiction for the whole primary age range. She has enjoyed two previous patronages, each for three years, and injects a big buzzy element of music, drama, fun word-play and rappetry (a mixture of poetry and rap) into her sessions. Boogie Bugs pervade her work with Reception, while ‘Peter and the Timber Wolf’ is a favourite with KS1 and breaking the codes in her recent book ‘Code Breaker’ is great fun with KS2. ‘The Dragon’s Tale’ which is accompanied by Beethoven’s 5th symphony is popular all round. Ann is experienced at presentation and workshops, including with parents and teachers, and would love to be Patron of Reading for a school or schools in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Essex or London. She offers both virtual and actual visits.
Dan Worsley is a children’s author and performance storyteller based in the North West of England. Dan has written six children’s books and uses his stories to promote reading for pleasure, as well as exciting and enthusing children about creative writing. He’s visited hundreds of schools and loves nothing more than delivering his writing workshops, author assemblies and storytelling performances. Dan takes great pride in the fact that when he leaves at the end of a school event, the book buzz remains.
Justin Somper is the award-winning author of eight novels for young people, all with a focus on high-octane fantasy adventure, driven by strong, complex characters. His writing, talks and workshops are particularly well suited to students in Years 5, 6, 7 and 8. Justin’s VAMPIRATES sequence, published in 35 countries and 25 languages, comprises six main novels to date. Based in North London, Justin enjoys visiting primary and secondary schools throughout the UK and beyond. Justin is highly experienced in delivering interactive and inspiring talks and creative writing workshops. A recent host commented, “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the session and it was fab to see students reading in the dinner hall and reluctant to put their books away – even for PE!” Justin would be delighted to be Patron of Reading for an enthusiastic school anywhere in the UK, and is happy to work flexibly – combining physical visits with Zoom etc.
Alex Cotter is the debut author of the middle grade novel, ‘The House on the Edge’, published by Nosy Crow and a WH Smith Travel Children’s Book of the Month. A second book is soon to be published in 2022. She has also previously written Carnegie nominated teen novels (as Alex Campbell). Alongside writing books, Alex also works in communications and copywriting. Alex has lots of experience running interactive workshops for both primary and secondary schools and is passionate about bringing the excitement of stories to even the most reluctant reader!
Sarah Isaacs wrote her first poem at the age of 6 and hasn’t stopped writing since! She has visited schools since 2018 and before that, had over 20 years of experience working with children. Her first two bestselling picture books are Derek the Alien and the Orange Jelly Planet followed by Derek the Alien and the Raspberry Milkshake Sky. These are rhyming picture books about a friendly little alien who particularly loves jelly! Her latest book is A Bucket Full of Bogies (and other horrid rhymes) For Kids Who Hate Poetry. Sarah’s author visits are creative, interactive and inspiring. Working with schools across the country her passion is to promote reading and motivate children. After her first book was published, Sarah received a letter from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sending their best wishes after receiving a copy.
Rick Broadbent is a sports writer for The Times and an award-winning author. His books include working with Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and Paralympic star Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson on their autobiographies, as well as writing about football, boxing and motorsport. He has been shortlisted three times for the prestigious William Hill Book Prize and has been a winner at the British Sports Book of the Year awards. Rick is passionate about literacy and set up www.presspackers.com to help teachers and engage children in writing and reading for pleasure, using sport and journalism as the carrots. He provides interactive workshops to get children working as sports journalists and his first children's book 'Sports Legends' is published by Walker Books in June. This uses stories of people Rick has met, from major stars such as Serena Williams, Lionel Messi and Usain Bolt to lesser-known inspirations, to provide tips on facing fears and developing confidence and a growth mindset.
Anywhere in the UK
Gareth Baker has been a Patron of Reading since 2016, working with a number of schools across the East Midlands, and working with children his whole adult life. He had written 12 books ranging from a picture books suitable for EYFS to time travel adventures for Year 6. His past as a teacher gives you peace of mind that he can communicate well, engage with children and staff and deliver what schools need to help them promote Reading for Pleasure. Since being a PoR, he has published books with schools, run numerous competitions, donated books, worked with parents and played an active part in the school community. Gareth is also a storyteller, provides writing workshops for adults and is a regular on the book festival scene. He is a member of NAWE and a Literacy Trust Digital Champion.
Heather Kate Molloy is an author and storyteller who specialises in working with children and young people with additional support needs and learning disabilities. She is also the Programme Lead for a multi-sensory storytelling project with the organisation PAMIS which provides support to people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Published by Ayton Publishing in 2019, her first children’s book ‘The Creatures That Live In The Forest Behind My House’ is a delightful collection of stories and poems that promote the importance of kindness and the acceptance of difference. Heather recently took her book and workshops for children as well as parents and teachers to Tunisia where a school principal commented on the ‘power and magic’ of her storytelling.
James Carter is an award-winning children’s poet, non-fiction writer and musician. An ambassador for National Poetry Day, he travels all over the UK and abroad with his melodica (that’s Steve) to give very lively, action-packed poetry/music performances and workshops. His latest verse non-fiction series for KS1 & 2 (Little Tiger Press) is translated into eight languages. James is a former lecturer in Creative Writing/Children’s Literature - and in the last 18 years he has visited over 1300 primary schools and conducted over 30 residencies; he’s also performed at various prestigious festivals including Cheltenham, Hay and Edinburgh. In one school in Cheltenham an Ofsted inspector gave him an ‘Outstanding!’.
Ian MacDonald specialises in writing reluctant reader series for boys especially. He has written for OUP’S Project X and is a recommended author on the School Library Association’s Boys into Books listing (2007). Previously a primary deputy head, Ian now works regularly in schools, inspiring and equipping young writers in the classroom. ‘I would highly recommend working with Ian to foster reading and writing for pleasure’ (Gail Beale, Deputy Head, Bexley).
Anita Loughrey is the author of many traditionally published children’s books that are sold worldwide and in a multitude of languages. She loves reading and writing and can usually be found with her head in a book, or with a pen in her hand scribbling away her next adventure. She runs creative writing workshops for children at her local libraries in West Berkshire and regularly does book-related school visits throughout the UK. She is passionate about inspiring children to read for pleasure and to create their own stories for others to read, which she achieves through a wide range of fun activities and workshops.
Anna Jarvis is a graphic designer and illustrator. She started out designing CD albums many years ago (if anyone can remember those?) and has created all sorts of graphics from brochures to brands to books. A few years ago she fell into illustration and worked with author Elke Barber on two books helping children come to terms with the sudden loss of someone close. The first one, 'Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute?' got Anna nominated for a Kate Greenaway CILIP medal. She's currently working on her own picture book about a little girl's obsession with the colour pink and enjoys thinking up new ideas for stories. She loves developing new characters, getting children thinking creatively, drinking coffee and playing the violin.
Laura Mucha worked as a face painter, studied flying trapeze, philosophy and psychology, and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer for an international law firm. Now she spends her time writing and performing poetry, non-fiction and fiction for children and adults. In 2016, she won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize, and this year, Poetry Ireland featured her as one of eight poets displayed on the Dublin overground. Her poems have been illustrated by Chris Riddell and performed by Helena Bonham Carter. Her debut non-fiction book for adults, Love, Factually, will be published early next year, with her debut picture book, Rita’s Rabbit, also due to be published soon. Laura has performed at schools, festivals, theatres and on BBC radio and would love, love, LOVE to be a patron at a primary or secondary school. She lives in London but likes staring out of train windows, so could be tempted to travel to most places.
Steve Skidmore is in great demand across the world for his inspirational and high-energy performances and masterclasses. With writing partner, Steve Barlow, he has written over 230 titles and as an ex-teacher understands what schools need to make the Patron of Reading scheme successful. He is willing to travel anywhere to engage and enthuse students and staff and promote the love and importance of reading.
Damian Harvey is the author of around 80 books for Primary School aged children. He has visited hundreds of schools around great Britain (and abroad) where he leads writing workshops and gives lively interactive performance sessions designed to get children from Nursery to Year 6 excited about books and reading.
Alec Williams is a storyteller and speaker with a mission to get more children reading! With a background in children’s books, libraries and literacy, Alec works all over the UK and overseas, enthusing both primary and secondary audiences with a unique blend of three ingredients – high-octane storytelling; join-in poetry; and dramatic ‘tasters’ of contemporary fiction – so there’s scope for different session each time! His sessions are enjoyed by students (‘you made us feel like there was magic in the air’), teachers (‘You were a huge hit!’) and parents (‘I left on a complete high’).
Republic of Ireland
E.R. Murray is a writer of children’s and young adult fiction. She lives in West Cork where she grows her own vegetables, catches her own fish and lives for adventure. Her middle grade debut The Book of Learning – Nine Lives Trilogy 1 was the 2016 Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read for Children. Caramel Hearts is her first young adult title, a gritty coming of age tale with real cake recipes throughout. Elizabeth believes everyone has great stories to tell and provides interactive talks and workshops that encourage a love of books, words and reading. Elizabeth is available as a patron in Cork/Cork County.
Jack Meggitt-Phillips is the bestselling author of The Beast and the Bethany – a children’s book about a young 500-year-old, a carnivorous beast, and a child who’s going to be eaten. He is often found lurking in people’s attics, wearing questionable waistcoats, and wailing about the villainy of the beast. He lives in London and has received a lifetime ban from Wintloria Island. As a Patron of Reading, Jack organises visits, exchanges letters with classes, and helps foster a lifelong love for reading by working closely with schools.
Sally Pomme Clayton is a pioneering writer and storyteller. She has published 14 children’s books - recently: 'The Phoenix of Persia' (Tiny Owl Books 2019) nominated for the Greenaway Award 2020 and UKLA award 2020; 'The King with Dirty Feet' (Otter-Barry Books 2018) winner of The Oxford Book Award best picture book 2019. Many of her books focus on female heroines. She has been at the forefront of storytelling across the UK, founding 'The Company of Storytellers' with Ben Haggarty and Hugh Lupton in 1985, spearheading the art form. She creates magical spoken word performances, bringing fairy tales and forgotten myths to new life. She performs stories for schools, museums, festivals and theatres, and would love to be patron at a school in South London.
Jane Porter is a picture book author and illustrator based in London. As keen library-visitor since early childhood, she would love to help share the love of reading in schools, and has lots of experience of working with children from nursery age upwards. Jane's picture books include 'Pink Lion', 'King Otter' and 'The Boy Who Loved Everyone', which deal in a playful way with themes of identity, kindness and friendship, and she has also illustrated two books with author Paul Stewart - 'Wings!' and 'Brian The Brave', which won the 2020 Derby Children's Picture Book Award. A non-fiction picture book - 'So You Want To Be An Owl' - is due for publication later this summer. When not working, Jane volunteers in river conservation and is learning to play the Irish fiddle.
Jessica Spanyol is an award-winning author/illustrator of numerous picture books, including Carlo Loves Reading, Go Bugs Go and Clive Is A Nurse. Her most current book series, about the characters Clive and Rosa, celebrates diversity, promotes learning through play and challenges gender stereotypes. Jessica lives and works in East London and has a great deal of experience running workshops in schools. She specialises in Early Years and Key Stage One. Jessica is passionate about the power of creativity as a way into reading and would love to be a patron somewhere in London.
Jion Sheibani is a self-taught illustrator who studied English Literature at Oxford. She grew up in Brighton but now lives in Paris with her husband and two children. She works in a hut in the garden and loves collecting old French magazines and collaging them into her pictures. She mainly uses ink and watercolour and sometimes a bit of digital magic. When she’s not writing and illustrating stories, she is running her English language schools for children or stuffing her face with French pastries. Jion also plays the violin and likes to use it at events to bring her stories to life. Her debut picture book, Lily & The Polar Bears, has just been published by Faber and is about some polar bear refugees who come to live in a seaside town. Jion would love to be a patron in the London or Brighton area.
Philip Womack is the author of seven novels for children, which draw their inspiration from legends and myths. 'The Darkening Path' trilogy was critically acclaimed, and The Double Axe, his re-imagining of the Minotaur story, was a Telegraph Book of the Year in 2016. His next, The Arrow of Apollo, is also set in legendary times. Philip has been Writer in Residence at Summer Fields school, Patron of Reading at the John Roan, and has worked with First Story in many London schools. He loves meeting pupils, doing creative writing exercises, and encouraging a culture of reading and literature. He'd be very happy to be a patron in London or the South East.
Neal Zetter is a hugely experienced, award-winning author/poet, entertainer and educator running in-person and virtual fun poetry writing and performance workshops for all ages and abilities. He has been visiting schools most days since 2005 and published eleven poetry books to date. Many of his books have been nominated for or won awards, and been commended by e.g. Reading Agency, the BookTrust. His latest, 'Scared?' and 'The Universal Zoo', are published by Troika and Otter-Barry respectively. His next book, 'The Shape of Rainbows' is due Jan 2024, again from Otter-Barry.
Elli Woollard writes rhyming picture books, poems, and stories told in verse for new readers. Her debut picture book, The Giant of Jum, is a twist on Jack and the Beanstalk, and contains a giant, some children, and a LOT of cake. Other picture books include The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight and Troll Stroll, while her Swashbuckle Lil books aimed at 5-8 year-olds feature a schoolgirl who is secretly a pirate. For the past year she has been Patron of Reading at a primary school in southwest London, where she has enjoyed taking assemblies and working with individual classes. She has also done events in schools around the country, and at the Hay and Edinburgh festivals. Elli would love to be a Patron of Reading in another primary school in or around London.
Rachel Sambrooks is a performance poet, storyteller and writer. Her first collection of poems ‘The Strangest Sandwich in the World and other silly stuff’ was longlisted for the CLiPPA Award. She has worked as artist in residence for Apples and Snakes, in libraries, schools and theatres as well as community settings. She writes both gritty YA and humorous children's fiction, as well as performance poetry and comedy for kids. Rachel has a variety of skills, including poetry, prose and scriptwriting for theatre and radio. She loves to inspire inclusivity, creative writing, bring performance and interaction into everything she does, build confidence and most of all have a lot of fun doing it. She is based in South West London and would love to work with a school in the London or South East region.
Jo Franklin was born reading sometime in the last century. As a child, she loved making up stories. Unfortunately no one could read her writing, so she couldn’t become an internationally published author until she got a computer. Jo writes funny, feel good stories for 7-11 year-olds. She likes to write about children who are not normally centre-stage like tomboys, geeks and misfits. Her first book to be published in the UK is Help I’m an Alien and there are two more titles in the series to follow. She would love to be a patron in London or the South East as she loves to meet her readers to talk about aliens, brains and what it is like to have two best friends.
Emma Trevayne is the author of several science fiction and fantasy novels for children and teens, including Coda and The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden. She is also co-author of The Cabinet of Curiosities, 36 Tales Brief and Sinister, an anthology of short, shiver-inducing adventures. She has visited schools across the US and the UK, where her talks and workshops often focus on writing short stories. She would love to be a Patron of Reading at a school anywhere in London.
Marcus Alexander is the Puffin author of the Keeper of the Realms trilogy, a fantasy adventure series. After several incident-filled years of travelling the world Marcus Alexander decided to pack in all serious attempts at reaching maturity and instead embraced the more suitable world of parchment scribbling for a living. Marcus has recently sent a book into space as part of the work he did as a patron for a primary school and always ensures his school events are lively and keeps the pupils on their toes (literally, as he can often be seen doing acrobatics as part of his talk!).
Aby King is passionate about History, Geography, Art and Drama and has managed to bring all of her affection into her first children’s series, The Adventures of a Royal Dog, which is all about Lupo, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s pet. She is fun, bubbly and engaging. Her workshops for children are designed to encourage them to write and read stories, develop their imagination and present their incredible creations to the rest of the class/school. She would love to be a patron at a school in London.
Faiz Kermani is an award-winning author who writes funny children’s books. He has been lucky to have worked on literacy and reading projects with teachers and educators in the UK, France, Switzerland and the US. His books have been translated into French, Spanish, German and Russian. He would be delighted to be a patron at a school in London.
Caroline Green’s debut novel, Dark Ride, won the Waverton Good Read Award and the RONA Young Adult Novel of the Year. Her second, Cracks was nominated for eight awards and highlighted as a children’s book of the year on Radio Four’s Open Book. Her latest title is called Hold Your Breath. Caroline is currently the Writer in Residence at East Barnet School and she would love to be a patron somewhere in North London.
Liz de Jager writes novels for teens and older readers, focusing on adventure, action, urban gritty fantasy with a smattering of romance. As a huge geek, Liz has an interest in pop culture, comics, movies and music and she's keen to spread how much fun reading and writing is across the board. The first two books of her YA trilogy, Banished and Vowed are out now.
Natasha Farrant, a Queen of Teen Nominee, is the author of Branford Boase nominated YA novel The Things We Did For Love, and of the Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series for girls from 9-14. She runs creative writing events in which children write and perform their own screenplays. She has worked in children’s publishing for twenty years and would love to be patron at a London secondary school.
Caroline Clough is an animal behaviourist as well as an award-winning author, and can bring to life a wide range of topics with her performance skills. She loves visiting schools, and her novels, Red Fever and Black Tide, are the source of some great creative adventures with the pupils. She is happy to talk to any age group and would feel privileged to be a patron in South West London.
Sarah Naughton's debut novel, The Hanged Man Rises, is a supernatural thriller for the over 12s set in the slums of Victorian London. Her second book, The Blood List, has recently been published. Sarah enjoys visiting schools and libraries and giving them a taste of slum life in Victorian times, including a grisly game of Victorian 'It's a Knockout'. She would like to be Patron of Reading in a London school.
South East and East of England
Anita Lehmann is an award-winning author whose picture books touch on emotions and social issues in a light-hearted, accessible way. She is particularly fond of exploring anger via her story The Red Hot Fireball in lively workshops aimed at KS1 and nurseries. Anita also works at Cambridgeshire libraries where she sometimes reads at story time. Anita's books are published internationally, both in Switzerland and the UK, and some are multilingual (English, French and German). One of the things she'd love to do as a Patron of Reading is to share her love of languages, and to explore sounds and stories from different cultures with the children. Her most recent picture book, Slobber Slobber Kiss Kiss, was shortlisted for the German Jugendliteraturpreis 2020.
Debra Edwards, a former teacher, writes fantasy novels for children aged 7-12. She loves working with children in reading and writing workshops; acting out silly stories, creating credible characters, discussing story worlds. Having completed over 110 school visits, she is now looking to be partnered with a local school in her home county of Norfolk or a nearby. As a volunteer for The Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators, she runs the Central East region for aspiring authors and illustrators. Debra loves travelling to other countries, but not flying. She lives in the hope that someone will develop a human teleporter very soon.
Gillian McClure is an award-winning author and illustrator of over 25 picture books who has had many years’ experience of giving inspirational workshops to all ages in Primary schools. She encourages pupils to read for pleasure and also to create their own stories using illustration as a way into writing. With younger pupils, she has puppets characters to help engage their imagination and bring about a leap of believing. Gillian lives in Cambridge and would like to be a patron in a local school or one within an hour’s drive.
Aaron Blecha is an artist and author with over 15 years experience illustrating children’s books and designing fun and funny characters for animation. He was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin but now lives with his family in Brighton, UK. His interactive art exhibition titled Aliens, Zombies & Monsters! with vibrant life-sized characters is currently touring around museums in the UK.
Simon Russell is a Brighton-based artist and designer with three decades' experience of producing cartoons and illustrations for books, comics and magazines. He is the Managing Editor of an online comic anthology (acesweekly.co.uk) and designer of books for Ralph Steadman and The Cartoon Museum. Simon loves to visit schools and draw live as children invent stories as part of the Little Green Pig charity's storytelling projects and his varied personal comics, while not child-focused, are rarely more intense than a PG-13 rating. He has organised three family-friendly comics event in Brighton under the title ComicPopUp, His current comic is Once Upon Again: The Marriage of Njord & Skadi.
Wendy Duncan is a storyteller and author who writes and publishes stories using a Japanese storytelling format called Kamishibai, which translates as paper theatre. Wendy performs her Kamishibai stories in nurseries, schools and libraries. Wendy has over 25 years experience teaching and working with children in the UK and Japan, and would love to be a Patron in Bedfordshire or Buckinghamshire.
Nikki Sheehan writes thoughtful, well-written and slightly eccentric books and poems for young people aged 9 to 19 and beyond. She believes fervently in ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes to creativity, and she has helped thousands of children to take ownership of their own imaginations and produce incredible work. Nikki has worked in schools in the UK and abroad and, as well as speaking to classes, has delivered workshops and CPD to teachers and librarians. Nikki hopes, one day, to be as creative as the children she works with.
Sue Wickstead is a trained teacher and has written four children’s story books to date, which have all received 5-star awards from ‘Readers Favourite’. She was initially involved in a playbus charity and left full-time teaching to write the photographic history book about the playbus itself. This led to many questions from the children that she met asking what the playbus did and how was it different to any other ordinary bus. In turn, this led to telling stories and eventually the fictional tale was written. JJK261 was the real bus and gave the bus the name Jay-Jay. She has visited many schools across Sussex and Surrey and would love to become a patron in the area.
Katie Dale is an actress as well as an award-winning author. She writes both gritty YA and humorous children's fiction, and loves to bring an element of performance to her school visits. Her rhyming Fairy Tale Twists series are especially popular with primary schools- and the kids love her (optional) fairytale costumes! She would love to be a Patron of Reading for a school in or around Cambridge.
Miriam Moss is an award-winning writer of picture books, poetry and short stories, who has wide experience of working creatively with children providing inspiring, interactive picture books sessions throughout the UK and abroad. She also gives talks, takes part in discussions and leads writing workshops for young people and adults involving her recent novel, GIRL ON A PLANE, which is based on her own experience of being hijacked in the Middle East, aged 15, while flying back to school in the UK on her own.
Matt Brown is the author of the Compton Valance series about a boy who accidentally creates a time machine. His books have been described as “hilarious”, “better than Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “the most weirdest I have ever read”. His live sessions and workshops have inspired hundreds of 8-12 year olds and he would love to be your Patron of Reading. He lives in Buckinghamshire and is writing this in the third person.
Steve Feasey is an internationally bestselling and award nominated author of novels for young adults and teens. Passionate about reading, Steve believes it gave him the means to overcome an underprivileged and poorly educated upbringing on a housing estate in Hertfordshire. An ardent advocate of libraries and ‘all things book’, Steve would prefer to be a patron at a school in Hertfordshire.
Daisy White is an author and a literary entrepreneur. She published her first book in 2012, and set up a pop up bookshop in a market stall to sell it. The venture was so successful she won a business innovation award in 2013, was invited to Downing Street, and signed a three book deal with US publisher Melange Books. Daisy writes YA fiction and is happy to talk writing and reading with children of all ages. Her own children (5 and 7) are both avid readers (especially by torchlight after lights out!).
South West, West Midlands and Wales
Matt Oldfield is the author of Johnny Ball: Accidental Football Genius and Unbelievable Football (Winner of the 2020 Children's Sports Book of the Year), as well as the co-author of the bestselling Ultimate Football Heroes series. In association with his books, Matt works with schools and organisations such as The National Literacy Trust and The National Football Museum to deliver football-based literacy workshops. He lives in Bristol and would love to work with primary or secondary schools in the south of England, including Hampshire and London.
Naomi Jones is the picture book author of The Perfect Fit and she has three more picture books being published this year - One More Try, The Odd Fish and How To Catch A Rainbow. Naomi's books are currently published in twelve languages around the world. Naomi has a background in Children's Publishing and also works as a freelance editor and mentor. She is really passionate about working with children and sharing her love of reading, and would love to be a patron in Cornwall.
Colin Croad has been a student of history for the best part of fifty years and a counsellor for over twenty years. A few years ago, his wife encouraged him to combine his love of history with his love of writing poetry to produce his first history poetry book. Since then, Colin has written over ten books which cover a whole range of historical eras, including the Romans, the Tudors, the Middle Ages and both World Wars. All his books are offered as a free PDF to any school that wants them in the hope that this new and exciting way history is presented will help students see how interesting and important history really is. The responses from teachers and pupils across the country has been incredible, and Colin enjoys nothing more than having invitations from schools to pop in and discuss the books, and history and poetry, in general. He's keen to be a patron in Hampshire or the surrounding area.
Sarah Griffiths is a children’s author and experienced primary school teacher. Sarah writes rhyming stories for 3-11 year olds filled with magic and adventure and holds author visits at schools, nurseries and libraries. Stories are brought to life with special props and a storytelling performance. Alongside Sarah’s stories, she teaches self-esteem and well-being workshops, which awaken children to the power of their mind and promote a positive approach to life. Sarah is writing a series of 7 stories that focus on self-belief, reaching our dreams and learning about our limitless potential. Sarah teaches creative, poetry and story writing workshops which give children the freedom to write with confidence and express their creativity. She would love to be a patron in the Shropshire area.
Frances Stickley is an internationally published picture-book author with a background in children’s literacy, reading recovery and teaching, including five years of experience teaching teenagers outside of mainstream education. Published by Nosy Crow, Simon & Schuster, Walker and Andersen, Frances has been an Author in Residence for Inspire: Nottinghamshire Libraries and enjoys performing at Newark book Festival and Gloworm, amongst others, but she is always at her happiest in a classroom, talking about stories, writing, rhyming and characterisation. Frances’ use of story mapping, props, story sacks and other hands-on activities enables access for primary school children across all levels of literacy confidence to promote a love for stories and storytelling. She'd love to be a patron in the Midlands.
Michelle Briscombe lives in South Wales. Her first children’s book, Silent Mountain, The Adventures of Jack Jupiter, published by Candy Jar, was nominated for a Tir Na Nog Award in 2014 and used by the Welsh Books Council for its Bookslam Competition. Released in April 2016, The House on March Lane, is her ghostly, second children's book. Michelle is a recipient of a Literature Wales writer’s bursary. She has worked in primary education for the last sixteen years and has a wealth of knowledge and ideas that will engage, excite and enthral children across KS2. She would like to be a patron in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Geoff Hill has been a primary school teacher for over 20 years, but also has experience in primary and secondary schools as a visiting author. In 2015, he published Draugr, a Viking Ghost Story aimed at readers aged 10+. Since then, he has added three more books to the series – Bäckahäst, Huldra and Waelcyrie – and is currently working on a fifth. He’d love to hear from schools in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
Joffre White, the author of the hugely successful 'Frog' fantasy adventure series and the futuristic dystopian YA novel Earthland, is a member of the National Association of Writers in Education. With over 650 professional appearances, he actively promotes the importance of school libraries, reading, literacy and creative writing by visiting primary and secondary schools, colleges, libraries and events in the UK and delivering his acclaimed, interactive, motivational and inspiring sessions designed to excite and energise young people’s imagination and interest in the power of words. Joffre is available to be a Patron of Reading anywhere in the south of England.
Jon Blake is the author of over 60 titles for children and young adults. He has been shortlisted for the Children's Book Award, the Laugh Out Loud Awards and the Writers Guild Best Children's TV Script; he is also a BBC Talent award winner. Jon wrote Axel Scheffler's first picture book, the 200,000 selling “You're A Hero Daley B”; other successes include “One Girl School” and “Thimble Monkey Superstar”. A trained teacher, Jon has worked with almost every group imaginable and is keen to be a patron in the Cardiff area.
Ben Davis is a former stand-up comedian who writes funny books for older children and teenagers. His The Private Blog of Joe Cowley series has been hailed as a Wimpy Kid for an older generation. He has visited schools all over the country and given talks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and others.
Dan Metcalf is the author of The Lottie Lipton Adventures from Bloomsbury Publishing. He lives in Devon with his wife and two sons, where he hides away in his office for a lot of the time 'making stuff up'. Occasionally his family let him out and he enjoys nothing more than going to schools and talking to students. He has run creative writing classes in the community and at festivals up and down the UK. He has so far refused to grow up.
Jan Dean is a poet who has also written fiction for children and teenagers and plays for puppet theatre. She is a poet-in-schools and a National Poetry Day Ambassador. Not only does she love reading books (and writing them), she also enjoys making them and is happy to share the simpler book making skills with children and teachers. She lives in East Devon, so a school in East Devon or West Dorset would be brilliant.
Jean Atkin is an award-winning poet and experienced educator. Her poetry collection Not Lost Since Last Time is published by Oversteps Books and she has also published The Crow House, a darkly mysterious novel for 9-12s. Jean has worked in both England and Scotland and been a poet in residence in libraries, schools, gardens, museums, festivals, farms - even on a beach. She’s also a tutor and guest reader for Arvon. She enormously enjoys working with young people of all ages and runs workshops noted for their warmth, energy and invention. She would love to be your Patron of Reading.
East Midlands, North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber
Matthew Drzymala is the author of the humorous book series, The Bumpkinton Tales, are suitable for readers aged 11 and up. He's an experienced school and college author workshop presenter, having visited schools with his ever-changing workshops across the North West of England (and he's dipped his toe into Yorkshire too). From fun and interactive workshops for the youngest pupils to creative GCSE focused ones for the older ones, Matthew brings his experience as a writer to engage and excite pupils of all ages. When he's not writing books he's a full-time freelance copywriter, which means his passion for writing, whether it's for books or business, never ends.
Sophie Garner is an author, professional singer, vocal coach and wellbeing music specialist. She has taught her unique approach to songwriting to 4,000+ students in primary and secondary schools over the past 17 years. Her two books 'The Creative Songwriting Journal' and 'If You Can't Say it Sing it!' provide children with a toolkit to support children's wellbeing, helping them to express and understand their emotions and build confidence. She was the very first artist to play the main stage at London's O2 Arena and has released 4 studio albums as well as writing for film and coaching for ITV's The Voice Kids. Sophie's books, workshops and teacher training are all underpinned by many years of teaching, research and a Masters Degree in her subject of expertise: singing and wellbeing. Her work is having an incredible positive impact in schools across the UK. She's keen to be a patron in the East Midlands.
Susanne T Schroder is an author, illustrator and pedagog (educated in Denmark). She has written, illustrated, translated and directed content for books and songs. She has also published several of her own books, which she draws on when doing talks and workshops in primary schools. Susanne’s background in how children engage in reading and understand the world around them is one of the main driving forces behind her work. Her author talks focus on where she finds her inspiration; how her ideas have evolved; and on how she edits her work. Her workshops focus on two things - creative writing and understanding our place in space. The space workshops are based on Susanne's own works. She would love to be a patron in North West England.
Gill McLean is an author, illustrator, designer and publisher of children's books. She has written and illustrated many titles with publishers such as Harper Collins, QED and Parragon. As an in-house designer for Templar Publishing, she designed everything from picture books to pop-ups. As one half of Monkey Island Publishing, Gill has also worked on a project for the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust, writing and illustrating material for the Key Stage One Young Leaders Programme. Gill specializes in children’s book creation from first scribbles to print and has first hand experience of every part of the process. Gill was brought up in rural Lancashire and now lives in the Yorkshire Dales. She would love to be a patron of reading in North East England, Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Malcolm J. Hogan first found success as a singer songwriter winning several competitions and writing for other artists. He has written scripts for stage and radio and has worked with youth groups delivering workshops on sketch writing and performance. Malcolm has just released his first children’s picture book entitled ‘Granny Norbag And The Naughty Pirates’. Aimed primarily at KS1 and lower KS2 the tale has a strong message of promoting reading - something Malcolm feels very passionate about. Malcolm has taught for 13 years across all age ranges in Primary/Early Years and more recently with SEN and EAL children. He can’t wait to hear from schools in South Yorkshire and the surrounding area.
Paul Jenkins is a former classroom teacher turned author and performance poet who is often referred to simply as ‘That man in the silly waistcoat’ - and that’s just by the school staff. Paul’s first book, ‘Requires Improvement’, was a semi-autobiographical novel about the life of a secondary drama teacher, before he then turned his hand to writing and performing poetry for schools. Paul's latest work ‘Wibbly Wobbly Words’ contains poems about space, dinosaurs, mummified Mums, tummy rumbles, Lego, Minecraft and glittery knights that ride rainbow unicorns - it’s all there! Paul’s school workshops were developed alongside the National Literacy Trust to encourage free writing among children and make them understand why being a good writer and reader is such an awesome thing to do.
Steve Weatherill is an author/illustrator and cartoonist best known for the Goz series. Revised editions of Baby Goz and Count on Goz have just been published. He has visited over a 1,000 schools and libraries in Britain and Ireland with his early learning road show. He now lives near Scarborough in North Yorkshire.
Margaret (Margi) McAllister lives in West Northumberland and his written oodles of books, including animal stories – Fawn, A Home For Teasel, Archie's War, to name a few, and lots of the Oxford Treetops books. For younger children she’s done Fifteen Things Not To Do With A Baby and Fifteen Things Not To Do With A Granny. As Poppy Harris, she wrote the HAMMY THE WONDER HAMSTER series. She helps with children’s activities at Hexham Abbey, which may involve dressing up as a monk or telling stories, sometimes at the same time. She loves reading, having fun with words, and helping other people to do the same.
Ian Billings was born at a very young age. He is an ex-juggler, a pantomime writer (fifty productions!), an actor, TV extra, a theatre technician, a university lecturer, a model and a general dabbler in many areas. He has written episodes of BBC TV's ChuckleVision and his stage plays and pantomimes have been performed around the UK and on a ferry to Spain. He has a Masters Degree from Birmingham University and two goldfish from Petworld. He is five feet and seven inches in length and avoids cheese. He was described by one young audience member as "the most imaginative adult I've ever met!". Ian has recently edited an anthology of children's poems for Save the Children called "Born to Giggle!" and his latest book is "Billy Plonka and the Grot Laboratory"
Craig Bradley (aka That Poetry Bloke) has been a professional children's poet since 2003. He has visited over 1,500 schools and libraries and performed over 5,000 times including many children's and literary festivals. Craig has appeared on CBeebies and worked alongside television favourites such as Mr Bloom, Mr Maker, Mr Tumble, Rastamouse and Dick and Dom! He has performed all over the UK, Europe and the Far East, bringing his unique brand of comedy, word play and fun to the world of poetry.
Pippa Pixley is a writer and illustrator of children’s picture books. Her aim is to inspire a love of words, a love of language, a love of books and a love of pictures, and to take children and their teachers on magical adventures through story, movement, music and mark-making. She has produced over 30 books commissioned by publishers, schools, galleries, museums and arts organisations including a pop-up version of The Princess and the Pea. She is currently working on two really exciting books and would love to be a patron in the Peak district.
Gill Jepson writes fantasy novels set in and around the beautiful Furness Abbey. The books are packed with history, legends and stories and her characters find themselves travelling through time. She visits many schools throughout Cumbria and provides workshops and creative writing sessions and has run various writing projects in Furness. She would welcome the chance to become your patron and has a wealth of experience to draw upon.
Daniel Blythe is the author of 17 books including three of the official Doctor Who novels and the internationally acclaimed Shadow Runners/ Shadow Breakers. He has also written books for reluctant and dyslexic readers, published by Badger Learning (latest is New Dawn, out September 2015). Daniel's non-fiction includes X Marks The Box and Famous Robots and Cyborgs (as Dan Roberts). He has been working in schools since 2007 and has done 1-day and 2-day visits in over 300 primary and secondary schools.
John Brewster is a writer and writing tutor living in Fife, working in English and Scots. His poetry and short stories have won various awards and have been published in a range of books and magazines. He is a Scots Patron of Reading, previously working with Waid Academy in Fife and her satellite primaries, and is also a qualified teacher in RE and English, with a First in Divinity from St Andrews University. He employs his skills as a writer and teacher to develop innovative projects that explore the relationship between our words and our ways of doing, feeling and thinking. He believes we all have a tale to tell, so his work is to help people discover their own story. As a Patron of Reading, he would like to explore this with other schools in Scotland.
Janey Louise Jones writes the Princess Poppy series, which has recently been refreshed for our changing times. Poppy is now a junior activist and conservationist. She's the same dauntless and inspiring character, full of original ideas and compassion, but her concerns are wildlife, bees, flowers, plastic waste, mindfulness and refugees in crisis. She's been eventing in schools for fifteen years and is experienced in adapting to all ages and levels of ability.As well as bringing environmental issues about our precious planet into school events, Janey can run creative writing workshops for older pupils too, and she combines her love of literature with her concern for the environment in inventive ways, including games, sensory story telling and quizzes. She'd love to be a patron in Scotland.
Laura Lam is the author of the award-winning young adult Micah Grey series (Pantomime, Shadowplay, Masquerade), as well as near-future thrillers False Hearts & Shattered Minds, aimed at adults. Upcoming projects include Seven Devils, co-written with Elizabeth May, which is pitched as a crossover Mad Max: Fury Road in space. Laura has conducted dozens of workshops at schools throughout Scotland and was previously a Patron of Reading at Kemnay Academy. Additionally, she is a Lecturer on the MA Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University, where she mentors students and lectures on various aspects of craft, with a particular focus on young adult, science fiction, and fantasy.
Martin Stewart is a former English teacher and the author of Riverkeep, published in April 2016 by Penguin. An entertaining presenter, his range of workshops―tailored to the BGE and the senior phase―explore the writing process in a manner designed to both encourage students to pursue creative ambition, and take responsibility for developing their own work. His second book, The Sacrifice Box, was released in 2017. He would love to be a Patron of Reading for a school in Scotland.
Victoria Williamson writes both contemporary issue and fantasy books for children and young adults, and her novel The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle is an uplifting tale of friendship between twelve year old Syrian refugee Reema and Glaswegian school bully Caylin. As a former primary school teacher who has taught in the UK, Africa and China, Victoria has many years of international classroom experience, and has delivered a wide range of activity-based book talks and festival sessions in Scotland and beyond. Victoria would love to help children develop their love of reading by being patron at a school in central Scotland.
Lea Taylor is a storyteller and writer. Her inputs are fun, imaginative, energetic, engaging, often participatory, but never, never, dull. With ten years freelance storytelling (the last 2 years focusing on school residencies), she brings a wealth of skills to any session or project. Lea would love to be a patron in Midlothian, Edinburgh or East Lothian.
Stuart McHardy has had over 30 books published reflecting his various roles as writer, poet, lecturer on history and folklore, storyteller and musician. Writing in both English and Scots, Stuart draws heavily on the storytelling traditions of Scotland. Having also been a journalist and broadcaster, for more than twenty years he has been bringing a truly unique approach to working in schools.
Cynthia Rogerson is a prizewinning novelist and short story writer, and her work has been translated into eight languages and adapted as a BBC Woman's Hour series. Program Director of Moniack Mhor Writers Centre, she has also worked extensively in primary schools, secondary schools, and universities. She would love to be a patron at a school in Scotland.
Philip Caveney (AKA Danny Weston) writes exciting fiction for readers aged 9 and up and has published more than 40 books over his career. His recent novel The Piper (written as Danny Weston) won the Scottish Children’s Book Award 2016. He is available for talks, readings and fiction writing workshops. He is keen to be a patron in Edinburgh.
Linda Sarah wanted to be a firefighter, but being massively short-sighted and claustrophobic, ended up inventing stuff with words and pictures instead. Children's books include: MI AND MUSEUM CITY and ON SUDDEN HILL, with more to follow soon. She loves spending time with young people (who always amaze her with their completely superior imaginations and ability to create marvels, often from little). As a patron, she would relish the possibility of being able to encourage young people to make their most brilliant and expressive creations, whether with words, pictures, or both. Or even something completely different! Apart from getting to think up ideas and doodle daily, working with young people is very much a favourite thing. She also loves pigeons...and plays accordion.
Paul Murdoch writes adventure novels for children 9-12. He has visited schools all over the world and is recently back from a cross-cultural visit to Indonesia. His latest book - Talisman - is the first in a seven-part fantasy adventure set in Scotland and in the magical world of Denthan. Paul also wrote the children's eco-thriller Windscape under the pen-name Sam Wilding, which was nominated for the Grampian Children's Book Award. His school visits are very interactive, cross-cultural and cross-curricular. He is interested in becoming a patron of reading in the west of Scotland.
Mary Turner Thomson is an author, trainer and motivational speaker from Edinburgh. She works regularly with primary and senior schools running interactive life skills and creativity workshops to create characters, write stories, illustrate and even publish books (which the schools can then sell to raise funds). She would love to be a Patron of Reading at a school in Scotland.
Ian Leith is a storyteller and author. He works regularly with schools, telling stories and running interactive workshops on folk tales and Scottish history. His latest book, Grannies and Other Folk, is a collection of folk tale based stories with illustrations by the pupils of Canisbay Primary School in Caithness.
John Rice is a poet, storyteller whose 13 books include Bears Don’t Like Bananas for children, an anthology of Scottish poems for secondary students and The Dream of Night Fishers for adults. John works in primary, secondary and special schools teaching creative writing and performance. John is very happy to be a patron in Scotland or the North West of England.
Useful links to children's authors
There is a possibility that some of the authors listed on these sites may not be willing or able to become patrons, which needs to be taken into account when approaching them. It is generally quicker and easier to contact a potential patron directly, or via this website, rather than through an agency.
A Huw Powell session at Writhlington School