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Philip Pullman

I started writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. I loved the feeling of making marks on a piece of paper, but it wasn't until some time later that I learned to connect that pleasure with a quite different pleasure, that of being absorbed in a story. Because I loved stories too - every kind of story, from fairy tales to Superman, from school stories to horror stories. As a matter of fact I still do.

What I like about being published by DFB is that David Fickling loves stories too. He first published a book of mine in 1985, and we're both still going, and that book is still in print; so that must say something for my luck. The DFB list is so varied and so full of good stories that I feel very privileged to be part of it.

Actually, I feel lucky just to be doing what I do every day. If I were to go back fifty years, or more, and ask the little boy I used to be what he most wanted to do when he grew up, I think he'd say "Write stories!" In fact, I know he would. So he started, and he never stopped. There'll be more coming soon.

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Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon is an author, illustrator and screenwriter who has written fifteen books for children and won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, was published simultaneously by David Fickling and Jonathan Cape in 2003. It won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award.

His poetry collection, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, was published by Picador in 2005, and his last novel, The Red House, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2012. He lives in Oxford.  

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Sarah McIntyre

Writer-illustrator Sarah McIntyre loves comics, raspberry jam and  inappropriate dinnertime conversation. Funnily enough, these things all relate to her books Vern and Lettuce, Jampires and Morris the Mankiest Monster.

These titles have bagged prizes including the Sheffield Children’s Books Overall Award, the Bishop Stortford Picture Book Award and
the Leeds Graphic Novel Award (now the Young People’s Comic Award). She blogs regularly and you can download free activity sheets from her website to go with each of her books. Parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers, anyone: feel free to use these to inspire creativity in your kids. (And you might have a good laugh trying them yourself!) 

Sarah's Blog

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Candy Gourlay

Candy Gourlay is a Filipino author based in London. Her debut novel Tall Story won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe and the National Book Award in the Philippines. It was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for 13 prizes including the Blue Peter, the Waterstones Prize and the Branford Boase. When she’s not blogging, Candy loves taking photographs and making videos. 

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S. F. Said

SF Said is an award-winning author. He was born in Lebanon in 1967, but has lived in London since he was 2 years old. He wrote his first novel, Varjak Paw (2003), while working as a speechwriter for the Crown Prince of Jordan, and then as an arts journalist and film programmer.

Varjak Paw won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize for Children's Literature, as well as regional book of the year awards in Gateshead, Stockton and West Sussex. It has since been adapted as a stage play and an opera, and a film version is in development. It has been translated into 12 languages, and UK sales are now over 275,000.

The sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw (2005), won the BBC's Blue Peter Book Of The Year, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and won the Leicester Teenage Book Of The Year. Varjak Paw is currently featured on the CLPE's recommended reading list for primary schools, and both books are being taught in classrooms around the UK.

SF's third novel, PHOENIX (2013), is an epic space adventure for readers of 9 and up. It is nominated for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal. Like the Varjak Paw books, it is illustrated by Dave McKean, and published by David Fickling Books.

SF Said is also active in the wider world of literature. He has judged the Whitbread Book Awards (now the Costa Book Awards), and writes widely about children's and young adult fiction. His work has been published in both the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

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Kenneth Oppel

I was born in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island in western Canada but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect).

I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords and sorcery tales (my Dungeons and Dragons phase) and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games (written, of course, during my video game phase). It turned out to be quite a long story, really a short novel, and I rewrote it the next summer. We had a family friend who knew Roald Dahl – one of my favourite authors – and this friend
offered to show Dahl my story. I was paralysed with excitement. I never heard back from Roald Dahl directly, but he read my story, and liked it enough to pass on to his own literary agent. I got a letter from them, saying they wanted to take me on, and try to sell my story. And they did.

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Kate Brown

Kate Brown lives & works full-time making comics in Oxford. In early 2010, she was awarded the Arts Foundation Fellowship for Graphic Novels. Her recent  edits include her creator-owned title, FISH + CHOCOLATE, British Comic ward-nominated THE LOST BOY, British Comic Award-nominated THE SPIDER MOON, and EMILIE'S TURN with Neill Cameron for THE PHOENIX. She guested on the  acclaimed YOUNG AVENGERS Vol2, and was a contributor to the British Comic  award-winning NELSON.

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Neill Cameron

Born and raised in Oxford, Neill Cameron has been drawing comics pretty much since he could hold a pencil. He is the creator of the graphic novel Mo-Bot High, and is currently working on series including The Pirates of Pangaea (with Daniel Hartwell) and How To Make (Awesome) Comics for weekly children's comic The Phoenix.

Neill holds degrees in Philosophy and Information Technology, although what they have to do with drawing comics about pirate dinosaurs is frankly anyone's guess. Neill also spends a fair amount of time roaming the country visiting schools, libraries and festivals, giving illustrated talks and running workshops on creating comics, designing robots, how to draw zombie pirate dinosaurs, and other such important matters.

Neill's Blog

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Tim Hall

Tim Hall was born in Portishead, near Bristol, in 1977. In his work as a journalist, he has written for various national newspapers and magazines. Most recently he spent two years in Bermuda, writing for the Bermuda Sun. He has travelled extensively in other parts of the world, including Asia and South America. He currently lives in Gloucestershire with his wife and their daughter. Shadow of the Wolf is his first novel.

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Andy Mulligan

Andy Mulligan was born and brought up in London. He worked as a theatre director for ten years before travels in Asia prompted him to retrain as a teacher. He has taught English and drama in India, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines and the UK. He now lives in England, and is writing full time.

Andy writes mainly for the 10-16 age group, and is currently developing radio plays as well as film-scripts. Andy misses teaching, and hopes to return to the classroom in due course. “There is no better working environment than a good school - and no more creative space.”

His first novel RIBBLESTROP was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Books Prize; his second, RETURN TO RIBBLESTROP, won the Guardian Children's Fiction prize. TRASH was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and has been published in twenty-eight languages. It will soon be a major motion picture directed by Stephen Daldry and scripted by Richard Curtis.

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Mal Peet

Mal Peet was born in Norfolk, England and read English and American Literature at the University of Warwick.

His first novel, Keeper, was published in 2003, followed by Tamar (2005), The Penalty (2006), Exposure (2008) and Life: an Exploded Diagram (2011), all published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the USA.

His awards include the Branford Boase Award, a Nestle Children’s Book Award, The Carnegie Medal and The Guardian Children’s Book Prize as well as a number of American awards.

With his wife and fellow writer Elspeth Graham, he continues to write books for younger readers.

Their Cloud Tea Monkeys, illustrated by Juan Wyngaard, was shortlisted for the 2011 Kate Greenaway Medal.

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Nick Sharratt

Nick Sharratt has written and illustrated many books for children and won numerous awards for his picture books, including the Red House Children's Book Award, the Sheffield Children's Book Award and the Stockport Schools Book Award. He has also enjoyed great success illustrating Jacqueline Wilson books. Nick lives in Edinburgh.

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Dave Shelton

Born and raised in Leicester, Dave now lives in Cambridge with his lovely wife, lovely step daughter, lovely dog, and a cat. He likes comics, cricket, crosswords and talking to cartoonists about pens.

His slapstick comedy noir comic strip Good Dog, Bad Dog has appeared in The DFC comic, The Phoenix, and the Guardian, and is collected in two books by David Fickling Books. His debut prose novel for children, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, which he also illustrated, was short listed for the Costa prize and the Carnegie medal, and won the Branford Boase award.

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Jenny Downham

After I stopped wanting to be a ballerina (aged around seven) I felt as if there were only two choices of career for me – an actor or a writer. I was always reading, but I also loved performing. I was in all the school plays, but my favourite subject was creative writing. I went to university to study both drama and English, then I went to drama school, became an actor, but never stopped writing. But being an actor is a tough life. I was often 'resting, ' and this is here other careers came in - selling brushes door to door, working on a mushroom farm, in a perfumery, a car parts factory, a bakery, etc, etc.

I was an actor for over ten years, but gave up when my second son was born because I couldn't take two kids out on the road with me. I began to write more at that point because it was my only creative outlet. I used all my acting techniques to do it. I still do. I keep notebooks and journals and diaries for the characters, researching them as if I'm going to play them on stage – what they like to eat, what their hopes and fears are. It might not all get in the book, but it helps me to know who they are.

In 2003 I entered the London Writer's Competition, just to see what would happen. I won first prize and began to take myself more seriously. I joined a writer's group and this provided me with a place for on-going critical feedback and support. By 2005 I'd finished my first novel and I sent it out to agents. I met lots of them. And publishers. But I began to realise that first books are often where writers learn their craft and that it would need some re-writing. Since I had begun 'Before I Die,' I was reluctant to go back.


Two more years passed. I wrote every day (almost), sitting at the back of the house where it's quiet and away from the road. I treated it like a 9-5 job. I had to be really disciplined because there was no-one telling me to do it. Inspiration came from everywhere. I watched the world for stories in a very energised way – newspapers, overheard conversations, etc – anything was used. I went out with my notebook if I need distraction or stimuli and wrote in a cafe or in the park or anywhere else I could think of. I never left the house without paper and a pen.

Every now and then I'd show my agent a few thousand words and she'd say something encouraging and I'd take a big breath and get back down to it.

By February 2007, Before I Die was finished and was passed to a publisher – David Fickling, who made a pre-emptive offer only a week after it was completed. I was sitting on a train when I found out, and I was so excited it took all my will power to resist announcing it to the whole carriage! Within less than 24 hours, the book had sold to Holland, and in a further ten languages within two weeks. It was all a bit overwhelming – the sort of thing I'd read about, but not the kind of thing that would ever happen to me.

It's wonderful to be published.

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Siobhan Dowd

'The protagonists in my stories aren’t human rights heroes in the conventional sense. They are ordinary people living in England and Ireland who find extraordinary ways to overcome the difficulties in their lives and for me that’s the essence of any good story: it’s where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.' – Siobhan Dowd.

'In 2007 Siobhan Dowd was voted one of the twenty-five British writers for the future (only three were children’s writers). Everybody should read her.' – David Fickling, the author's publisher. 

Siobhan Dowd was born in London to Irish parents.  She spent much of her youth visiting the family cottage in Aglish, County Waterford, and later the family home in Wicklow Town.  A Swift Pure Cry, Siobhan's first novel, was published by David Fickling Books, in March 2006.  In May 2007 it won many children’s book awards including the prestigious Brandford Boase Award.  Her second novel, The London Eye Mystery, was published by David Fickling Books on 7 June 2007. Two further novels were published posthumously in 2008 and 2009, Bog Child, appeared in February 2008, and her fourth novel, Solace of the Road, in February 2009.  The former won the prestigious Carnegie Medal.

Tragically, Siobhan died at the age of 47, in August 2007; she had been receiving treatment for advanced breast cancer for three years. Her memory lives on in The Siobhan Dowd Trust, set up to help disadvantaged children in the UK and Ireland discover and experience the joy of reading. Although she was ill, Siobhan personally and energetically supervised its foundation; it was one of the very last things on her mind and clearly, for her, the most pressing cause in our society today.

Siobhan was a writing phenomenon: discovering that she was fatally ill, she put pen to paper and produced four of the most remarkable novels for children you could wish for. 

Her loss to the world of children’s writing is a tragedy.  But it is utterly characteristic that Siobhan should, at the end, put her mind unerringly to the most deserving group of all: the young reader. Siobhan realized that our literary culture - critics, bookshops, agents, publishing, libraries, schools - depends ultimately on the reader.  And, of readers, the young reader is the most vulnerable. And amongst young readers, the disadvantaged young reader is the most deprived of all. Siobhan, at the last, and with all her usual clarity, decided to help them. 

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John Boyne

I was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where I was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

My early writing consisted mostly of short stories and the first one I published, The Entertainments Jar, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award in Ireland. Many of my stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies.

I’ve published 8 novels for adults and four for younger readers, including The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, which was a New York Times No.1 Bestseller, and was made into a Miramax feature film. It has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.

My novels are published in 47 languages.

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Giles Andreae

Giles Andreae is the creator of the stickman bard, Purple Ronnie, and of the philosopher / artist, Edward Monkton. With over 100 million greetings cards and 3 million books sold between them, these iconic characters have made Giles the country’s top selling living poet. 

cture book authors, with many bestselling and award-winning titles to his name. These include Rumble in the Jungle, Commotion in the Ocean, Pants and Giraffes Can’t Dance. Recent work includes the Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs series of books and Morris the Mankiest Monster. His children’s titles have sold in excess of 3 million copies worldwide. 

Giles’s first animated television series, World of Happy by Giles Andreae, has been commissioned by CBBC for broadcast in March 2010. 

Giles lives with his wife, Victoria, a children’s clothes designer, and their 4 young children beside the river in Oxfordshire.

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Charlie The Magnificent

The most fantabulous author the world has ever seen!

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Margo Lanagan

I write fiction. My latest novel The Brides of Rollrock Island is published by David Fickling Books and Jonathan Cape in the UK, and by Knopf in the US. I've also written Tender Morsels and five short story collections: White Time, Black Juice, Red Spikes, Yellowcake and Cracklescape.

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Andrew Prentice

Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil met at school where they edited the school magazine together. Black Arts is their first book.

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