Metaphrog in action at Northfield Academy
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.
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.
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.
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.
Republic of Ireland
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.
Liz Brownlee's love of animals and fascinating facts about them form the basis of her ‘poetry plus science’ readings and workshops, and her book, Animal Magic. Stimulating visuals, giant magnetic poetry, puzzles and posters also help inspire and enthuse children. Liz (who comes with her assistance dog, Lola) would feel privileged to be a patron around Bristol or the Chew Valley.
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.
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.
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.
A Huw Powell session at Writhlington School