I have been lucky enough to run writing workshops at the Berwick Literary Festival every year since its inception. It's my home town and there's always a good response to the sessions. 2018 was no exception and it was a pleasure to see so many good ideas from those who attended.
In Too Deep, my first ever novel, has been republished by Legend Press with an all-new cover. I also added some new content at the end – my thoughts about the themes of the novel and the state of journalism. Hope you like the new version and the cover. Click on the image below to buy the book.
Do you believe in fairies? I certainly do now. The Book Fairies! are a worldwide organisation that hides books in strange places every day, for unsuspecting members of the public to find, enjoy and leave for the next person. Book Fairies have their own north-east branch (should that be toadstool?) and I was very proud that they hid some of my novels around the region – in some brilliant places too. The Misper was hidden on the twelfth century stairs at Newcastle Castle and in The Keep. In Too Deep was also tucked away in the castle. And The Serpent House was found by someone in the Willow Dene at Ouseburn Farm! I hope who ever found the books enjoys them.
It's been a long journey to see The Misper - a novel for teens/YA - finally published. It was originally signed to another publisher who could not go ahead for business reasons. Then, The Conrad Press, an exciting and young publishing house, stepped in. I am delighted with the cover (shown below) which was produced by the talented Charlotte Mouncey at Bookstyle. For me, it really captures the story and tone. Hope you like it! The Misper is out now - you can order the book by clicking here and read more about it here. It's also been featured on the excellent Lovereading4kids website. Click here to read the review.
I had a very busy day at the prestigious Hexham Book Festival. In the morning I ran a sell-out workshop on writing for teens and young adults. I always enjoy these sessions and the group was very enthusiastic and talented. Here's a picture of me as we got underway at the town's Queen's Hall.<
In the afternoon I chaired an author panel with Andrew Michael Hurley, author of The Loney and Devil's Day and Fiona Mozley, whose debut novel Elmet was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017. They are lovely people as well as excellent writers and it was really interesting to learn more about their work. Here we are pictured at the event.
There are some very talented writers at Prudhoe's Highfield Middle School in Northumberland! It was great to do a day-long creative writing workshop with them during the Easter holidays. If only I could pinch some of those amazing ideas! Here's a picture of me with the group.
As a children's author, it's always great fun to meet young writers. So it was wonderful running a creative writing session with pupils from Seahouses Middle School. Around 30 pupils and I worked to create their own fantasy stories. Teacher Keith Shotton was very generous in his praise, calling the morning "great...a well-planned and delivered workshop". Here are a couple of photos of me with the pupils.
I presented a paper on writing interactive e-books at the biennial IRSCL conference in Toronto, Canada. The session went down very well and it was wonderful to meet so many other writers and children's literature scholars. The conference was held at York University - gracious hosts in a fantastic city.
One of my former international students on the Penguin Random House Writers Academy, Kirsty Manning, has gone on to have her beautiful novel, The Midsummer Garden, published. In her acknowledgements, Kirsty very kindly said: "It was liberating and gave me the tools to try my hand at fiction. [Bea Davenport], my online tutor, told me my premise was compelling enough for a novel. She said, 'You must have faith in this idea - I really think it's going to work.' (I kept the email!) She pushed me outside my comfort zone..." You can read more about Kirsty here and I wish her every success!
It was a great thrill to have my novel, The Serpent House, shortlisted for the Stockton Children's Book of the Year award. Around 500 nine to twelve year old children were involved in the selection and I spent a very happy day going to schools in the town talking to youngsters and their teachers about the book and writing in general. Congratulations to Ellie Irving who won for her book, The Mute Button. Here I am at one of the events.
I'm proud to be working with the Schoolhere team to offer live, online creative writing sessions for schools or for people living in residential care homes. The great thing is it doesn't matter where you are - you can have a session with me guiding you through the exercises online. The schools session is tailored around writing a time travel adventure and the care home session is life writing. Bespoke sessions are also available.
I've received two new versions of my second novel for adults, This LIttle Piggy. The first is a large print version (complete with a new, eerie cover), published by Isis.The second is a seven-CD audio book, read by actress Alexandra Whitworth and published by Oakhill.
My book, My Cousin Faustina, is now published as a paperback by ReadZone. I've written it in a very unusual way in co-operation with the brilliant Fiction Express and made some young friends around the world at the same time. If you want to order a copy of the book, click here. And I've had quite a bit of publicity about the book in The Journal, Newcastle Chronicle, Shields Gazette and the Berwick Advertiser.
I'm very proud to be associated with Legend Press, publishers of my two adult crime novels, In Too Deep and This Little Piggy, so nothing would stop me from attending their tenth birthday party in London. It was great to meet up with Legend staff and other writers. In the photos below, as well as the delicious birthday cake, you can see me pictured alongside Legend boss Tom Chalmers and my fellow Legend author, Jane Isaac. Finally, a special moment: meeting Simon Levy, who designed the fantastic cover for This Little Piggy. To celebrate the birthday I've taken part in a video for Legend, which you can see here.
It was a great pleasure taking part in two events at the tenth Hexham festival. In the morning I ran a sell-out writing workshop in Prior's Hall, Hexham Abbey for 26 people, which was really well received. Later, as part of the New Fiction Afternoon, I chaired discussions with authors Gavin Extence, John Ironmonger, Kay Langdale and Tim Leach at the Library in Queen's Hall. Here are some photos taken at the event.
Hot on the heels of the festival in Hexham came the Newcastle Noir literary crime festival at the city's Lit and Phil. It's always nice to visit that building and on this particular occasion I took part in the creative writing panel with MJ McGrath, William Ryan and Barbara Nadel. Here's a photo of us in the building's magnificent library.
I was overwhelmed by the attendance at my writing workshop at the Cramlington Learning Village in April. No fewer than 34 children from Years 6&7 came along. I talked about writing my first children's novel The Serpent House and then we did some creative writing. By the end of the day everyone had written their own fantasy story - and they were all great! Here's a picture of the group - each holding a copy of The Serpent House. Thanks for a fantastic day, kids and keep up the writing!
I am one of the latest tranche of 21st Century Authors in a scheme run by the National Literacy Trust. Because the Trust is aware of the power of author talks to inspire children to read, they have devised a training programme to help writers create exciting and effective school visits. The programme will be run by Author Profile and runs until the summer.
I've taken part in a chat about creative writing on Radio 5 Live's Afternoon Edition. The programme collected writing tips from a range of famous writers, including Anthony Horowitz, Martina Cole and Ben Elton and then interviewed me as an author who teaches creative writing together with fellow author Antony Lishak. Click here to listen to the interview.
To mark the launch of my latest novel, This Little Piggy, Legend Press asked me to produce a short vlog about the book. Click here to watch it and find out a little bit about how much research went into it, even though I thought I would have no problem in remembering what it was like to be a journalist in the 1980s.
Although I was a journalist and have had plenty of stories in print over the years, it was especially nice that The Guardian website included my Top 10 books about hair, to coincide with the publication of my children's novel The Serpent House. Click here to read them, from Medusa to Horrid Henry.
It's always nice to get good reviews for my books. The latest come from fellow authors Emma Kavanagh and Rachel Abbott. Emma called my second adult crime novel This Little Piggy "...a gripping, devastating and utterly absorbing read. I found myself thinking of the characters long after the book had ended." Rachel called it "...addictive reading... Bea has a rare ability to create the true atmosphere of a place and time, and to take the reader there." Thanks to both. This Little Piggy is published by Legend Press in October.
The launch party for my children's novel The Serpent House was a great success. Newcastle's Lit and Phil, the largest independent library outside London, was a wonderful setting for the event. And it was really nice to see organisers and young people from the childhood alopecia charity Be Bold there with their mascot, Captain Be Bold. Thanks to all who came. Click below to watch a slideshow of the launch.
I had a wonderful night at the first birthday party for Curious Fox, publishers of my children's novel The Serpent House, held at a gallery in London. It was really nice to meet up with everyone there, finally putting faces to names and email addresses. It was also good to meet up with and speak to other authors from the Fox stable - or should that be lair? All that plus a couple of giant superhero statues made for a memorable evening. Here are some photos from the night.
I was delighted to be asked to write about some of the novels that have influenced me. Click here to read the feature as it appeared in the July edition of The Journal's Culture magazine.
I celebrated the publication of In Too Deep with a launch event at Blackwell's bookshop in Newcastle. It was a great event and I was delighted to see so many friends there. You can order In Too Deep here.
Click below to view a slideshow of the book launch.
I was interviewed about In Too Deep by Pam Royle on ITV Tyne Tees News. You can watch that interview below.
Click here to read an article about In Too Deep which was published in my local morning newspaper The Journal.
Click here to listen to Bea's interview with Jonathan Miles on BBC Radio Newcastle.
And click here to read an article about In Too Deep in my local paper, The Berwick Advertiser.
I'll be signing copies of the novel at a series of venues in the coming weeks. Go to my Events page for details.