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How to find inspiration for a new novel

My working title for The Poet's Wife was something entirely different, a title that I see now had to change for various reasons. Originally, it was 'In the shade of the orange tree' and I still think of my first novel in terms of two titles:…
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What is the one thing that we all owe to ourselves and to humanity?

This is not a blog about writing. It is not a children's book review and it is not offering up tips about how to engage kids with creative writing and poetry. It is a blog about what we can possibly do, how we as humans can feel any less impotent…
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How can you be a writer during the kids' school holidays?

‘Mummy, you’ve been working forever. Stop it, now.’ This is my little boy, recently turned five, tugging at my sleeve and trying to force my laptop shut.  I explain to him that I really need to do a little more, then I promise I’ll…
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How to get kids writing with jazz

I'm a firm believer in the power of music as a creative force. I've written before about using music alongside creative writing in order to see where this takes children on the page, as well as the importance of playlists for my novels. Rhythm…
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Where to find some fabulous poetry activities for kids

One of the best websites I have ever found for inspirational kids' poetry workshops ideas comes from the Poetry Society. I have used countless exercises via their downloadable lesson plans, adapting them as necessary to suit my needs. Recently,…
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Shel Silverstein's 'Whatif'

I think that for anyone who writes, its therapeutic properties must have come to mind at some point. We've all been there, I'm sure, that moment when we finish writing something - whether it's a letter, a diary entry, a chapter of a novel or…
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You're an artist when you say you are

'People working in the arts engage in street combat with The Fraud Police on a daily basis, because much of our work is new and not readily or conventionally categorized. When you're an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic…
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Music as a creative force in writing

Katie Basil Screenprint I come from a family in which music is very important. Last week I wrote about the healing power of music as written about and illustrated in Quentin Blake's gorgeous children's book Patrick. As I was growing up, everyone…
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Natalie Smithson: Unlocking our imagination with stories

Natalie Smithson is a freelance writer and creative at Bobbin About who specialises in work for parenting, children, and baby brands. Here she tells her story of how her active imagination as a child landed her in hot water, but went on to fuel…
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Keeping the stories alive

        It seems I have a bit of a thing about elderly men. That's not nearly as dodgy as it sounds. Let me explain. Whilst researching for my first novel, The Poet's Wife, I was lucky enough to interview a gent in his…