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.

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Patrons of Reading

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.

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’).

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.

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.

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. Janey is a trained school teacher (English Language and Literature). She's been eventing in schools for fifteen years and is experienced in adapting to all ages and levels of ability. Janey has worked with pupils with complex needs and also school refusers. 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.

Patrons of Illustration
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.

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 uses illustration her graphic design work for all sorts of interesting clients from orchestras, to dance schools to business gurus. 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.

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 ( 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 and his current comic Once Upon Again: The Marriage of Njord & Skadi is matching each copy bought through crowdfunding with a copy donated to the Little Heroes Comics charity, providing comic-making kit to children in hospitals around the UK.

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, Oscar and Stella.  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.

Currently available

Anywhere in the UK

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.

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.

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 performance workshops to engage, educate and entertain all ages and abilities of child, teen or adult. His poetry book (commended by the Reading Agency), Here Come the Superheroes, targets hard to reach boys as does the follow up, Invasion of the Supervillains. It's Not Fine to Sit on a Porcupine was a BookTrust Children's Favourite, Bees in My Bananas, won a Wishing Shelf Award and his collaborative funny food poem book, Yuck and Yum, with poet Joshua Seigal is extremely TASTY!

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.

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.

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
Camilla Chester writes for 8-12s in Hertfordshire and is looking to be a patron for a local school. Her debut, Jarred Dreams, was shortlisted by the National Literacy Trust in the 2015 New Author Prize and her second book, EATS, was shortlisted in the 2017 Winchester Children’s Funny Fiction Prize. Thirteenth Wish is Camilla’s just released third book. Camilla is an active member and volunteer of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI) and a NAWE member. A devoted animal lover, Camilla also runs a small dog walking business and often has as many school visit questions about her dogs as her books.

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.

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.

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
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.

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.

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
Jo Welch is the author of an MG trilogy: The Einstein Code, The Darwin Code and The Quantum Code that many children, teens and adults have loved, to her astonishment and delight. She has performed writing workshops, Einstein and Darwin assemblies and code-cracking workshops at many primary and secondary schools and libraries. She loves telling children about the day she was a Special Guest at Bletchley Park and was thrilled to meet a real live spy. She is based in Stockport and loves inspiring children and adults to read, which has been a life-long passion for her ever since a kind neighbour put Five On A Treasure Island into her hands. She is keen to be a patron in Greater Manchester, Cheshire or 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. 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.

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.

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.
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 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