Sunday, 8 March 2015

Award! #UKYAExtravaganza! Patron of Reading Stuff! Etc!


Oh dear, I'm not doing too well with this blog, am I? *Blows away cobwebs* *flicks feather duster around* Lucky it's not a Tamagotchi or it'd look a bit like this…

Anyway. Happy 2015 plus three months, everyone! What have you been up to? What have I been up to? Lots of things. So much has happened, in fact, that I think I'm going need to use subheadings. Here goes…

An Award for ACID
Very excitingly, the audiobook of ACID has been named as one of YALSA's (the Young Adult Library Services of America) 2015 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. This is brilliant news, and testament to the amazing team who brought the book to life. In the words of YALSA: "Unique ACID reports and recordings read by [Nicholas Guy] Smith and [Fiona] Hardingham's excellent pace combine with her authentic teen voice to highlight this exciting story." Hooray!

The UKYA Extravaganza
Back in October, I did a panel and Q&A session with Kerry Drewery and Zoe Marriot at Waterstones Lincoln. Afterwards, Kerry and I said to each other, 'Wouldn't it be great to do this again? Maybe we could get a few more authors – maybe 5 or 6 – and a few more people to come along…'

Little did we know what we were embarking upon. 4 months later, at Birmingham High Street Waterstones, our initial idea had turned into 33 authors and over 100 book bloggers and readers gathering for the UKYA Extravaganza, tickets for which had sold out within 24 hours. To say Kerry and I were stunned is probably an understatement…




The day was incredible and the amount of Twitter-love afterwards almost broke the internet (check out the #UKYAExtravaganza hashtag to see for yourself!).

I think this is my favourite tweet, as it completely sums up what Kerry and I were trying to achieve with the day:

But if you missed it this time round, never fear – we're doing it again! There's going to be another UKYAX in October in Nottingham, date and venue TBC. We're also launching a website and Facebook page very soon, so look out for those, and if you're on Twitter you can follow @UKYAX for the latest updates.

And of course, a huge thank you to all the Waterstones staff for letting us gatecrash, and to everyone who took part and came along to support the event!

Patron of Reading Visits
I've done quite a few school visits this year already, including two to my Patron of Reading school, Titus Salt in Yorkshire. The first, at the beginning of February, was to help launch an exciting literacy project. I worked with students from various years to help them write stories based on the school's core values, Together, Resilient, Ambitious and Caring, using different creative writing exercises as inspiration. The stories will be turned into short animated films during a residential weekend this summer, which I'll be accompanying the students and staff on. I can't wait!

My second visit was last week, over two days to help celebrate World Book Day. On Thursday I raced around the school, gatecrashing lessons to give short readings from THE FEARLESS and play Bananagrams (which I was rubbish at - I blame the fact that I kept getting loads of 'N's and 'X's, and no vowels!).

Then, on Friday, I was crowned Empress Pass of Poetopia. Year 7 had been separated into factions and sent to the Arena (the school hall) where they had to compete to win my favour in order to be given resources which would help them survive. I love being a writer anyway, but when I get to dress up in a cloak and tiara and order people about? Well, I REALLY love it. It was so much fun!

The Fearless
Finally, a quick reminder for my US readers – THE FEARLESS is being published by Delacorte on 14th April! The School Library Journal called it "a fun and fast read that will appeal to lovers of zombie invasions as well as books that feature strong females in dystopian settings." If that sounds like your sort of book, you can preorder it here.

Annnnd I think that's it! Over and out…


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oops! I seem to be having some commenting problems. Will try again:

    Wow! You *have* been busy! Your Extravaganza looks AMAZING! What a great idea!

    Also, I admit I'm jealous of your cloak. Not only is it really cool, but apparently cloaks make people look about seven feet tall. (Unless you're naturally seven feet tall? That could be, I suppose...) Anyway, apparently I need a cloak. Going to get right on that!

    1. Thanks, Caryn! No, I'm not 7 feet tall. But the cloak does have that effect, doesn't it? :D