August 2009 Archives

FRAMED update

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The 90 minuteTV dramatisation of Frank Cottrell Boyce's Framed is now showing tomorrow night (Monday 31st August) on BBC1 at 8.30pm, not tonight as previously announced.

from Hilary Mckay's Author's note:

The hundred-year-old story of A Little Princess has fascinated me for many years. As a child, I read and reread it, mesmerised by the world it described; early twentieth century London, an old-fashioned school, rainy pavements and candlelit attics, the smill fo hot currant buns to a hungry child, the rustle of rose-coloured silk. I knew the details so well I could have lived there myself... This is the story of what happened next, after sara went away.

Times Reviews - Rosoff & Hoffman

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Amanda Craig Reviews Two Historical Novels

Amanda Craig reviews The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff

...The Bride's Farewell has elements of Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles and a good number of Flambards books, yet Rosoff's vivid, pared-down style brings it closer to a kind of western... AMANDA CRAIG


Troubadour by Mary Hoffman

Well researched and rivetingly readable AMANDA CRAIG

Guardian Review

Philip Ardagh reviews (and likes) What I Saw And How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Some book titles are so good the book itself has a great deal to live up to. Who could fail to be intrigued by the title What I Saw and How I Lied? Questions spring to mind. What did they see? Why did they lie? Who are they? In this, her debut novel, Judy Blundell more than does her title justice...

Children's LAureate Praises Booktrust Scheme

The charity Booktrust will, from the start of the autumn term, send more than 2 million free books to primary schools and secondary schools, through their Booktime and Booked Up projects, in a bid to encourage children to read for pleasure. The free books are provided with funding from the DCSF and publishers. The books will be given out to five year olds and 11 year olds through the schools, but not as part of any curricula or educational drive. By giving children the chance to choose one free book from a list of 12, the charity hopes to encourage independent readers, who make time for reading books of their own choosing...

Young Scriptwriting Competition

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Penguin and the National Theatre to jointly launch The Big Break young scriptwriting competition next month...

From the Press Release:

On 1st September 2009 Penguin Books and The National Theatre Discover Programme launch The Big Break young scriptwriting competition. Young people nationwide aged 13 to 18 are invited to read award-winning author Meg Rosoff's debut novel How I Live Now and take the story, themes and characters as a starting point to create a treatment and the first scene of a script. Five winners will be invited to spend a day at the National Theatre Studio working with professional writers, National Theatre directors and actors to workshop and develop their scripts. They will also see a performance of Nation, based on a novel by Terry Pratchett, adapted by Mark Ravenhill, opening at the NT in November 09.

The judging panel consists of author Meg Rosoff, playwright Mark Ravenhill, Associate Director (Literary) of the National Theatre Sebastian Born, Associate Director of the National Theatre Discover Programme Anthony Banks and Editor of Penguin's teen online book community Danielle Innes.
The competition will live on Penguin's teen website and the National Theatre's Discover website

Meg Rosoff's most recent title:

Add your name to the draw now... Try your luck

Enter competition

Golden Sponge-Stick Comp '09

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Golden Sponge-Stick Competition 2009

A story-writing competition for four age categories (ages 8 and below; ages 9-11; ages 12-13; ages 14 and above) inspired by The Roman Mysteries series.
See Caroline Lawrence's blog (the link is above) for the full rules.

Anne Fine criticises depressing endings

This Times article, about a discussion held at the Edinburgh Book Festival, includes contrasting comment from Anthony Browne, Melvin Burgess and Amanda Craig...

Times Review

WIN A SIGNED COPY Have you entered yet?

Amanda Craig's review of Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver

"To have maintained a consistent quality of writing, storytelling and suspense over six books without missing a beat is extraordinary" AMANDA CRAIG

WIN A SIGNED COPY Have you entered yet?

Write Away - N. M Browne

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Interview - N. M Browne

A new addition to the excellent series of in-depth Write Away interviews


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Writing For Teenagers

Very interesting observations by Nicola Morgan on her blog re. writing books for teenagers.

Darren Shan is to brave Anthony Gormley's Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

He will appear at midnight this Saturday 22nd August, and will remain there for one hour, reading from his books, chatting about himself, his career, and the forthcoming Cirque du Freak film.

He has posted a message to members of his mailing list saying, "It would be great to see you there for what is probably my most unusual appearance in 10 years of touring!!!" And at that hour of the weekend, he might need a bit of support. No one can accuse Mr Shan of timidity or shyness.

WIN a signed copy of Ghost Hunter

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The two winners:
Stuart Cooper & Andrea Chettle

Ghost Hunter is the 6th and final part of Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series...

It is published today, Thursday August 20th, and we are able to offer you the chance of winning your very own signed-by-the-author first edition.
The two lucky winners (yes, we have TWO signed copies to give away, not just one) will need to provide a UK or Irish posting address.
What do you have to do?
Visit ACHUKA's Fiction Picks page and tell us which two titles come immediately before and immediately after Ghost Hunter in the slideshow display.
Post your answers to,with COMP as the subject line.
No need to give us your postal address yet. We'll contact the lucky winners in a week's time.
The competition will remain live for one week. Best of luck!

Mailing List Apology

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A small number of previous mailing list subscribers may have just received a mysterious 'Confirm Subscription' mailing. This was sent in error while testing the the previous Mailing List and should be ignored.

I can confirm that the ACHUKA Mailing List has been dormant for a considerable time, and now contains too many bounce addresses to be re-activated.

Follow ACHUKA's Twitter feed instead :)

Writer Unboxed Blog - Sophie Masson on 'A Touch of Magic'

If you are creating a fantasy novel or one with a supernatural theme--say with a character who has a psychic gift--one of the crucial things you need to get right is the depiction of that magical or supernatural power. And that means you need to think clearly about just what it might be like to have such a power, and to understand the different ways in which it manifests itself. In this post, I'd like to pass on a few notions that I've worked from over the course of many years of writing such novels....

Morpurgo Backs My School Bookclub Website

Michael Morpurgo has given his backing to the online book buying for parents scheme established earlier this year by David Teale (read an interview with him). makes much of the fact that "With no magazines and no paperwork we're the greenest school book club", but is it? Rather than schools making collective orders for books and receiving them in one delivery, the concept behind myschoolbookclub is for parents to order books online as and when they are ready to purchase. Good businesss for the Post Office no doubt, but hardly a greener way of organising things. And, for the parents, not really cost-effective either, since Post and Packing is £2.95 for orders upto £25, thereby more than counterbalancing any savings made on the cover price of the books, the vast majority of which are discounted by between £1 and £2.

BBC - Framed


Booktrust Early Years Awards Shortlists

Baby Book Award
Chick by Ed Vere (Puffin)
The Big Night-Night Book by Georgie Birkett (Red Fox)
Baby Loves: Tiger by Claire Dowe (Scholastic)
Five Little Ducks by Francesca Stich & Jemima Lumley, illus. Jason Chapman (Simon & Schuster)
Baby's Very First Outdoors Book by Stella Baggott (Usborne)
That's Not My Frog by Fiona Watt, illus. Rachel Wells (Usborne)

Pre-School Award
If I Were You by Richard Hamilton, illus. Babette Cole (Bloomsbury)
Oliver Who Travelled Far and Wide by Mara Bergman, illus. Nick Maland (Hodder Children's)
Sylvia and Bird by Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press)
Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood (Macmillan)
The Tail of the Whale by Ellie Patterson, illus. Christine Pym (Meadowside)
Miaow Said the Cow by Emma Dodd (Templar Publishing)

Best Emerging Illustrator
The Grump by Sarah Garson (Andersen Press)
Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia (Boxer Books)
Box of Tricks by Katie Cleminson (Jonathan Cape)
Small Mouse Big City by Simon Prescott (Little Tiger Press)
The Haunted House by Kazuno Kohara (Macmillan)
Peas! by Andy Cullen, illus. Simon Rickerty (Puffin Books)

A life in books: Sean O'Brien

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Sean O'Brien Feature

...So he made the move into teaching. "I thought I needed to get a proper job, and the thing English graduates did was teach. I took my Cert Ed and went to Beacon School, a big comprehensive in Sussex." His memories of the school are fond - and not only because he met his long-term partner, Gerry Wardle, in the staffroom. Despite being privately educated himself, O'Brien is a passionate advocate of the comprehensive system: the practical expression of the fervid anti-Thatcherism that simmered through his work in the 1980s. "We did all the stuff that's scorned now: mixed-ability teaching, trying to give everyone as much opportunity as possible. There were limits, imperfections, but we believed in it." Nevertheless, in 1989, after eight years in the job, he was ready to leave. "If you really committed to it, it was exhausting - rewarding in many ways, but it digs it out of you. I had to stop - either that or go mad. Madder."

I've always especially liked O'Brien's collection, The Indoor Park, published while he was working as a teacher. We met occasionally during that period (to judge a local schools poetry competition; at NUT meetings, where he would usually be reading the latest edition of TLS rather than union leaflets) so I am looking forward to reading his novel at some point.

new Children's Drama
from Jeranette Winterson...

Una Stubbs will star in Ingenious, the story of 11-year-old Sally, who lives on a farm with her grandmother and friends. The children find a mysterious old glass bottle which leads them on a magical adventure. As the nearby Jodrell Bank telescope picks up curious signs, the children and a local author suspect a dragon could be at large. The drama will be shown on BBC1 later in the year....

Corvus: Chapter One -- l. lee lowe

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Corvus Podcast #1

Welsh actor Ioan Hefin reads chapter one of L. Lee Lowe's second online novel, Corvus.

She also has a new website, with her first novel Mortal Ghost, available in both pdf and audio formats.

Children's books selling well

Borders is seeing a "record-breaking year" for children's sales.

Borders' children's buyer J P Hunting said: "It seems that parents are spending more on children's books this year. We are having a record-breaking year of children's books sales, seeing a 15% rise." Borders biggest sales increase has been books for eight- to 12-year-olds and teen fiction... reports Caroline Horn

Write Away - B. R. Collins >Interview

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B. R. Collins Interview

Noga Applebaum interviews Branford Boase winner, B. R. Collins...

Branford Boase winner

coming September

Hush, Hush

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Very much enjoying Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, publishing in the UK in November. I'll review when finished, meanwhile the S&S author promo video:

Cover Controversy

Australian author Justine Larbalestier has won a battle with her American publishers to feature a black girl on the cover of her new book, after the original jacket featuring a white girl provoked controversy from bloggers and commentators across the internet...

The Hugo Awards

Best Novel: The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury UK)

Cirque du Freak Trailer

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Trailer for Darren Shan's first Cirque du Freak movie, titled The Vampire's Assistant, due for release in October.
The series' fans have been posting alarmed and disappointed messages on YouTube. Certainly the movie appears to have gone for the light entertainment, family holiday viewing approach, but looks to me to have done that quite well, as far as a short trailer can convey. It does have a great theme tune and intro.

New Yorker Article

Recommended New Yorker piece by Judith Thurman (author of Secrets of the Flesh, a life of Colette) on Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose.

The best book among many good, if more pedestrian, ones, "The Ghost in the Little House," by William Holtz, a professor emeritus of English at the University of Missouri, explores a controversy that first arose after Wilder bequeathed her original manuscripts to libraries in Detroit and California. It is the work of a fastidious stylist, and, in its way, a minor masterpiece of insight and research. Holtz's subject, however, isn't Laura Ingalls Wilder. It is her daughter and, he argues, her unacknowledged "ghost," Rose Wilder Lane...

All In Three Days

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All In Three Days

The 2010 Bologna Children's Book Fair has announced that it will be reduced by one day. The fair will begin on Tuesday, 23 March and run until Thursday, 25 March.

Times Review

Time Quake by Linda Buckley-Archer

Buckley-Archer tells her tale with tremendous zest, narrative sophistication and an infectious sense of fun. Anyone with a modest grasp of modern history enjoys playing "what if?", especially about this revolutionary age, but her description of Luxon's men sobbing their loyal hearts out in a Manhattan cinema while watching Lord of the Rings suggests that she has the born storyteller's grasp of what is funny and fascinating. Like the immortal Nesbit, she has a fair stab at leavening two centuries of scientific discovery and political advances with sympathetically drawn characters, both child and adult. AMANDA CRAIG

Guardian Review

[Meg Rosoff would] like to go out on a limb here, and say that nothing in the world of adult summer reading can compare with the revolutionary content of a novel you are likely to find in the young adult section of your local bookshop. Tender Morsels, by the Australian author Margo Lanagan, is funny, tragic, wise, tender and beautifully written. It also left me gasping with shock...
Mature teen readers will love Tender Morsels; I would have devoured it at 15, though not more enthusiastically than I did last week. It is with a mixture of respect and delight that I greet any book capable of blasting an entire genre out of the water with its audacity and grace. Tender Morsels is such a book. MEG ROSOFF

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