Octavos Bookshop in Cardiff Bay was packed to the rafters yesterday for the launch of The Night Fogs, Dale Frances Hay’s dystopian fantasy of a future Cardiff attacked by mysterious fogs. The first draft of the novel was written before the Brexit vote but thr story attained a new relevance after the referendum, one reason why publishers Holland House were keen to sign up this previously unpublished author. It’s a highly original work, touching on paganism, militarism and psychotherapy, and anchored in the relationship of two very different sisters.
Like many novels, The Night Fogs went through various revisions before reaching a publishable form, and it was a course at Bute Park which played an important role in this. Carry On Writing, run in the spring of 2016, was aimed at writers who already had works in progress. It attracted a fascinating mixture of writers, all very different yet equally interested in each other’s work, and the discussion and development of Dale’s novel was a demanding yet thoroughly rewarding aspect of the course.
I’ve not yet decided whether to run another Carry on Writing course, but if there is sufficient demand I shall certainly consider it. In the meantime I shall be running more of the other courses which have proved popular: Creative Writing for All, Writing Short Stories and Writing for Children. The next one will be in September. You do not have to be an aspiring novelist to take part. The aim of all courses is to take you forward as a writer: to motivate you and to increase your understanding of the art of writing. But if you do really want to get published, I shall certainly do my best to help you.
The Night Fogs is available at various outlets including Amazon.
The Writing Stories for Children course due to start April 22 will now run from May 6 to June 10. The reason for this is that the Beasts from the East parts 1 and 2 have made a mess of the rest of my work schedule. However this does now mean the course will be running across two bank holidays. Because of this I’ll be allowing students to book for the number of sessions they want to attend, at £16 per session.
More details about the course below. Enquiries welcome by email or on 07599 203480. Book here.
Please note – I’ll be appearing at Cardiff Castle as part of the Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival on Sat April 28 at 11am, talking about my career and reading from work in progress. Tickets are available here.
The next course at Bute Park will be Writing Stories For Children – always a popular course, so book early!
Over six Sundays we will look at the basics of plot, character and voice in writing stories for children of all ages. The price will be £95 (£85 if you’ve previously taken a course), with concessions for the unwaged if spaces are available. As always the course will be suitable for adults of any experience, and if you are beset by doubts about putting pen to paper, fear not! Just give me a ring on 07599 203480 to discuss the course, or email me.
I’m happy to announce that creative writing courses in Bute Park get back on track in the new year with a Creative Writing For All course starting on January 14 for six Sundays. Classes run from 1.30-3pm and the cost remains at £95 with concessions for the unwaged if there are spaces available. No experience is necessary but experienced writers are always welcome: I tailor these courses to the needs of whoever attends. The priority will be to foster your self-belief and to develop your own voice. Check the reviews to find out what others have got out of previous courses.
If you have any questions please email me or ring 07599 203480. I always recommend booking as soon as possible as there is a numbers limit to ensure everyone gets sufficient attention.
My books website is here.
Once again I apologise to all those who’ve contacted me asking about courses recently. At the moment I’m fully engaged in the campaign for my children’s book Thimble Monkey Superstar to win the 2017 Lollies, for which it was shortlisted in June. The voting period ends on December 8th, however, and then I’ll be planning another series of courses starting in January 2018. These will include a general creative writing course, a writing for children course and a writing short stories course. If you’re interested in any of these drop me a line and I’ll reserve you a place without any deposit required. In the meantime I’m offering signed books for sale (original Christmas present?) and warmly welcome votes and publicity for my sixtieth publication!
nb Thimble Holiday Havoc is published November 9!
As you’ll see from the previous article, your Bute Park tutor has been shortlisted for the Lollies (Laugh Out Loud awards) 2017 for Thimble Monkey Superstar. It’s also 30 years since I came to Cardiff – years in which I’ve written 60 books, been shortlisted for the Children’s Book award and Writers Guild Best Children’s TV Script, won a BBC Talent award for radio comedy and taught over 100 workshops at Bute Park.
To mark this anniversary, I’m holding a free event at Bute Park Education Centre on Sunday October 8th, 1-3pm, in which I’ll talk about my work and offer advice on writing for children. It’s an event for adults of any or no experience of writing, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
In order to gauge numbers and ensure that everyone has a seat, I recommend booking for the event, which you can do by simply emailing me.
Details on finding the centre are here. More about Thimble Monkey Superstar and other things I’ve written here. If you have any questions, please ring 07599 203480.
I’m delighted to announce that your Bute Park tutor has been shortlisted for a major award, the 2017 Lollies (Laugh Out Loud awards), for Thimble Monkey Superstar. Fear not, this will not affect the price of creative writing courses in Bute Park, although it does mean I’ll have to limit these this year to make time for school and library visits during the voting period.
This year I celebrate thirty years as a Cardiff author, and I couldn’t wish for a better way to mark the occasion.
Congratulations should also go to my brilliant illustrator, Martin Chatterton, who has illustrated half a dozen of my books, including Little Stupendo, shortlisted for the 1996 Children’s Book Award.
Thimble Monkey Superstar is for sale at all the usual outlets, but you can buy it at a discount price from Firefly Press, a local publisher which is really making a name for itself. If you like the book, please vote for it here, and if you are a teacher or librarian interested in an author visit, I am doing these for a very low fee at present.
As always, I am happy to hear from anyone interested in taking a course – feel free to email me with your area of interest.
Can You Write For Children? has now drawn to a successful conclusion but I shall be running more courses this year. As always I am interested to hear what you are looking for – I’m qualified to teach novel or short story writing, scriptwriting, writing for children, writing for young adults and anything else you may spot on my cv at my author website or by checking through the archives here. Just email me to discuss your interests.
nb If you have a child who’s attempting this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, look out for Thimble Monkey Superstar! Signed copies available from my author website.
Can You Write for Children?, starting Sunday Jan 8th, is now fully booked, but as demand has been so strong I am running a second course after the current one ends. The course will begin on March 5th for six weeks, avoiding April 9th (RBS show in Bute Park) and April 16th (Easter Sunday), thus finishing on April 23rd. As usual the workshops will take place from 1.30 – 3pm and be suitable for writers of any experience. The cost is £95, with concessions for the unwaged and those who have attended a previous course.
Early booking is always advised. I always operate a numbers limit to ensure that all students get the attention they need. I consider it essential that students get feedback on each piece of work in the week it is written.
Please feel free to email me or ring 07599 203480 if you have any questions.
By popular demand, the next course in Bute Park will be Can You Write for Children? Over six Sundays we will look at the basics of plot, character and voice in writing stories for children of all ages. The price will be £95 (£85 if you’ve previously taken a course), with concessions for the unwaged. As always the course will be suitable for adults of any experience, and if you are beset by doubts about putting pen to paper, fear not! Just give me a ring on 07599 203480 to discuss the course, or email me. Early booking is advised.
Please note – if you want to give this course as a Christmas gift, let me know and I’ll email you a gift token on payment.