Patron of Reading

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Patrons available

Metaphrog in action 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.

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.

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. 

Jane Elson is the dyslexic, multi-award winning author of A Room Full Of Chocolate, How To Fly With Broken Wings and Swimming To The Moon. A former actress, her sessions are interactive and fun. Jane works with children at The Moat School for dyslexia, ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome and champions reluctant readers. She has run workshops everywhere from Young Offenders institutes to ballet schools. She is based in Camden and would love to be a patron of a London school.

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.

Neal Zetter is a hugely experienced, award-winning author/poet running fun poetry writing and/or performance workshops to engage, educate and entertain any age or ability of child, teen or adult. Neal's latest poetry book, Here Come the Superheroes, targets hard to reach boys and was commended by the Reading Agency. His It's Not Fine to Sit on a Porcupine was listed as a BookTrust Children's Favourite and Bees in My Bananas, won a Wishing Shelf Award.

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.

Matt Oldfield writes football books with his older brother Tom. For children aged 7 through to 12, they tell the fascinating stories of the biggest superstars in the world, including Gareth Bale, Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez, Alexis Sanchez, Raheem Sterling and Eden Hazard. Matt is happiest when talking about football, reading and writing all day long. He would love to work with a school in the south of England, preferably Hampshire or London.

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.

Margaret Bateson-Hill is a storyteller and author of both picture books, including the prize winning Masha and the Firebird, and fiction – the Dragon Racer trilogy. She has told stories everywhere - from her local library in Brixton to schools in Moscow and Istanbul, (and even Buckingham Palace). As well as telling stories, sharing books and writing her own, Margaret has always been involved in inspiring children to write their own stories and poems. She would love to be a patron of reading in a London primary school – or Blackpool where she grew up.

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. 

Josh Lacey is the author of many books for children including the seven Dragonsitter books, the eight Grk books, Bearkeeper and The Island of Thieves. He teaches creative writing in primary schools around the country and has been the Writer in Residence at the Roald Dahl Museum. Josh lives in London, and would love to be a Patron of Reading in a school in the city.

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.

Stephen Davies writes picture books, chapter books and YA novels. He has recently returned to London after thirteen years in West Africa. Now he visits schools across the UK encouraging young writers of all abilities. He loves the sound of the Patron scheme.

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
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, librarians and parents. 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. Sue has written three other adventures for Jay-Jay as well as a spooky tale for younger readers. Sue has visited many schools across Sussex and Surrey and would love to become a patron in the area.

Rowan Coleman is an internationally bestselling and award winning author of twenty four novels for adults and teens. A passionate advocate of reading, Rowan overcame dyslexia to go on to become a successful writer, and loved going into school to talking about reading and creative writing. Rowan would prefer to be a patron at a school in Hertfordshire.

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.

Ruth Fitzgerald is the author of the 'Emily Sparkes' series, published by Little, Brown UK. Ruth grew up in South Wales, and has spent most of her adult life in Suffolk, via Brighton and Japan. Ruth finds it very difficult to be serious for more than three minutes at a time. One day she realised she was a grown-up and tried to do 'proper' jobs. In fact she tried around 23 proper jobs,  but her habit of giggling in management meetings meant she didn't get on as well as she should have. Fortunately, Ruth found that children also find it hard to be serious for more than three minutes at a time and they also hate management meetings. Since realising this she has stopped going to meetings and started writting funny stories for children. Now everyone is happy.

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
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.

Claire Fayers writes comic fantasy for 7-12 year olds. She lives in South Wales and spends much of her free time tramping around castles in the rain, looking for dragons. Her first book (The Accidental Pirates 1) was nominated for the FCBG Children’s Book Award. She loves visiting schools for fun, highly interactive workshops full of dashing heroes and dastardly villains. She would love to be a patron in South Wales.

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.

Julia Suzuki is the author of The Dragor Series for children (7-12) - the story of a young dragon that triumphs over adversity. Her novel won the British Arts Council award in 2013. Julia has a degree in Creative Writing and has visited many leading schools nationwide to inspire and teach. Julia is currently looking for a Patron of Reading role in the Midlands area, ideally within an hour or so from her home in Lichfield.

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.

Sue Purkiss has written several books for 7-10 year olds- the last of these, Emily's Surprising Voyage, an adventure set on Brunel's ship, the SS Great Britain, was long-listed for the Carnegie. She also has a story in the recent anthology about significant women from British history, Daughters of Time. She would love to share her enthusiasm and become a patron in Somerset or Bristol.

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. 

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
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. His two volumes of ‘Poems from Villagetown’ books were themed around his home town of Ramsbottom. 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.

Matt Goodfellow is a poet and primary school teacher from Manchester. He is a National Poetry Day Ambassador for the Forward Arts Foundation. His acclaimed debut collection, ‘Carry Me Away’, was released in 2016 and his most recent collections are ‘The Same Inside’, written with Liz Brownlee and Roger Stevens, and ‘Chicken on the Roof’. He still spends two days a week working as a primary school teacher; on the other days he tours the UK, visiting schools, libraries and festivals to deliver high-energy, fun-filled poetry performances and workshops.

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. Ian began performing stand-up comedy for kids at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and now tours theatres and schools across the world. 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.

Martin Griffin is an award-winning author of books for young people. He won The Times/Chicken House Children's Book Award with his debut novel, The Poison Boy (written as Fletcher Moss), a gripping fantasy tale of feuds, plots and disguises. His second novel, Lifers, is a super-dark prison-break adventure set in Manchester. He is a teacher of twenty years' experience who is passionate about fostering creativity and reading in young people.

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.

Steve Way used to be a teacher but he escaped. A condition of his early release was to use his teaching experience and pieces from his book “Crazy Ideas” to offer writing workshops particularly aimed at reluctant writers around the UK and abroad. He also writes and presents maths-based and science-based stories, sketches and poems from the “Using Stories” series published by Hopscotch.

Amber Tesia is the award winning author of Screaming Snowflakes, the sequel of which is slated for release next year. Her work has been showcased at The Octagon Theatre and she is currently working hard on the screenplay adaptation and nine novellas. A self confessed bibliophile, she loves championing reading and looks forward to being a patron in Derby.
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, will be released in 2017. He would love to be a Patron of Reading for a school in Scotland.

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 always quicker and easier to contact a potential patron directly, or via this website, rather than use an agency.

A Huw Powell session at Writhlington School