A Celebration of Jars and Pumpkins

Throw a giant pumpkin, a jar of mango pickles and a storyteller together into a bookshop, sprinkle some cake, mix some friends and family, garnish with praise from the publisher and editor and what you get is one amazing book launch and a chuffed author who is busy writing more stories.

Maybe you missed the noisy chatter on Twitter or my invite in the newsletter or perhaps you had AJOP_9781406364675_PC_UK_circrelocapattan_coverted to Mars to escape the pollution on Earth -but if you have not heard, I celebrated the launch of two new books last Saturday (8th Oct 2016) at Pickled Pepper Books, London with storytelling, orange and yellow mini cupcakes and a room full of people who had come from far to celebrate with me.


I’ve gone to many book launches in the past few years and I was worried that I p1030032wouldn’t know what to do when it was my turn. I was worried there won’t be any photos. I was worried that I’ll forget my words during the storytelling. I was worried. It was like your baby being sent to nursery or the big school for the first day. Shiny and new into the hands of others. Would they love the stories as much as I do?

p1030050I watched the door as people trickled in. I watched as people on the street walked past and it wasn’t a familiar face. As friends started coming in, I slowly relaxed. As the time came to tell the stories, my story genie took over. She knew the stories, she loved them, she grew up with them. And I hope those who were there liked the stories.

So the books have left the docks and floated away into the hands of readers. A story lives again when it is told and it grows and changes and lives over and over again when retold many times. And I hope these stories live those many lives through the readers and the listeners they read to.



A Dollop of Drama with Alice Fernbank

I’m so excited! No it’s not just the elections. Speaking of which, did you cast your vote yet?

adollopofgheeAlice Fernbank and I have been working on a new drama project based on  A Dollop of Ghee and a Pot of Wisdom ever since I visited Cranford Park Academy where the kids were keen to dramatize it.


I met Alice in a masterclass with storyteller extraordinaire Jan Blake. Alice and I hit it off rightaway and though we told markedly different stories, we liked each others style. Our easy collaboration abodyofwordscame to life when we had to mimic a scene without talking and we had a hilarious time doing it. And Jan called me Born to be a Clown! Really? Me?


One thing led to another, we talked, we discussed, we dreamt and then we got another one of our masterclass friends Greg McCormick involved too.

A Dollop of Drama was born for real –  A workshop to bring to life the characters and stories in the book A Dollop of Ghee and a Pot of Wisdom (Walker Books, UK). The story makes speaking, reading, talking and of course interpreting of written language so much fun. I love Veera and Suku and their irreverent sense of humour and my readers always have told me they want to have similar adventures.

drum2There you go – now you can. We planned the workshop for  KS2 where we could bring the book into the schools, teach children how to create and bring a character to life, read and speak dialogue and match it with their body language too.



Greg then kindly offered to take pictures of us playing the part. We dressed up as Veera and Suku and the people of Himtuk, we made costumes, we made paper swords, we enacted scenes, we fell on the floor in a heap laughing at our own antics – while Greg was patiently setting up the lighting and camera angles.

DSC_6418 compOn this 7th day of May in the year 2015, we launched the workshops.

You can now bring us into your schools to work with your KS2 children. Imagine children getting fired up to read a book so they could play a part in the drama workshop, imagine them reading and talking dialogue and interpreting the words into action and body language. Every English and Drama teacher’s dream come true. But then literacy is always more than just English, isn’t it? Reading prescription to election manifestos, literacy in primary schools is literacy for life.

Interested? Want to know more? Check out the details here and get in touch.