Jon Blake graduated in English and Education in 1978 and subsequently qualified as an English and Drama teacher, going on to teach at every level of the education system as well as a wide range of classes in the community. From 1994 to 2000 he taught creative writing at the University of Glamorgan, specialising in writing for children, and was a visiting lecturer in creative writing at the University of Newport from 2006 to 2013.
Jon’s first story was published in 1984. He has since written over sixty titles and been published by many of the major publishing houses, including Puffin, Hodder, OUP, Heinemann, Collins and Walker Books. Little Stupendo was shortlisted for the 1996 Children’s Book Award. Big sellers include the picture book You’re A Hero Daley B (over half a million worldwide sales), One Girl School, Stinky Finger’s House of Fun and the subsequent House of Fun series. Though primarily known as a writer of the absurd, Jon has also written politically-charged young adult fiction, notably The Last Free Cat, selected for the prestigious International Literacy Association Young Adults Choices reading list. In 2011, Jon’s adult novel, 69ers, fictionalised the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival to rave reviews.
Jon’s latest books for juniors, the Thimble Monkey series, are now on sale. Thimble was chosen for the Summer Reading Challenge 2017 and shortlisted for the 2017 Lollies (Laugh Out Loud awards).
Jon has also written for TV and radio. His TV play Life was shortlisted for the 1996 Writers Guild Best Children’s TV Script while his adult radio sitcom Degrees R Us won a BBC Talent award and became a series on BBC Radio Wales.
Jon was brought up in Southampton, the son of an electrician and a shopworker. He has lived in Cardiff since 1987, where he has been involved in many community projects, including Adamsdown Song. His main website is here. His Amazon page is here. Jon regularly visits schools and is available for talks and workshops for a very reasonable fee. He is a member of the National Association of Writers in Education, has a disclosure certificate and public liability insurance.
“We are definitely living at a time when there are many excellent writers of both poetry and prose for young people in Cymru : from Jon Blake in Cardiff, to Jenny Sullivan ( now living in France) and Catherine Fisher of Newport. These, together with Mike Church and others, should be read and enjoyed in every single school in our country.” (Mike Jenkins)
Reviews of books by Jon
The Last Free Cat (Hodder, 2008)
“…A very well-written and exceedingly satisfying chase novel set in an authoritarian Britain in the near future. Themes of corporate power, civil liberties, and personal responsibility lie under a tense and action-packed narrative. There’s something for everyone here, including a love story…” (Jill Murphy, Bookbag)
“…The Last Free Cat is one of the best young adult adventures in a long time. Be prepared to share. Everyone will want to read this…” (Sam North, Hackwriters)
“…A brilliant idea. . .a page turning thriller…” (Rosalind Kerven, Northern Echo)
“…A story of optimism and solidarity in the face of oppression. The beauty of the relationship between human and animal is touchingly conveyed and the book culminates in a sense of hope that is truly uplifting…” (Ruth Taylor, Books For Keeps)
Geoffrey’s First (Walker Books, 1988), now republished as e-book Snails And Lovers :
“A most successful novel. . .Jon Blake is an author to watch out for; perceptive and with a good ear for teenage talk when authority figures are not listening.” (Times Education Supplement, 11.11.88)
“A funny and moving love story. . .Geoffrey is an excellent creation. . .he is extremely funny.” (Sunday Times, 25.9.88)
Yatesy’s Rap (Puffin Plus, 1986):
“Written in a totally believable first person, fizzes over the page, leaving its readers exhausted from laughing, crying and just keeping up.”(New Statesman, 1986)
Stinky Finger’s Peace and Love Thing (Hodder, 2005)
“The writing is of great quality. It’s precise and grammatical and dry and witty and it sneaks in some fairly sophisticated vocabulary barely unnoticed.” (Bookbag website, 2008)