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Northern Highlight - Alison Brown

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 NORTHERN HIGHLIGHT ALISON BROWN Why did you become a children’s writer/illustrator? I will always be in awe of people who can tell a story - that is, who can just start talking and hold an audience. That eloquence is a talent I don’t have, but I discovered that I have more of a fluency when it comes to combining words and pictures. It’s a privilege to write and illustrate a story that someone wants to read, and there’s a responsibility to find a way to be truthful and open. For me it’s always in the way that the words and images relate to each other. Tell us about where you live. I’m an adopted Northerner - I come from County Down in Northern Ireland. I live in Leeds, but have also lived in Manchester and Liverpool, and I love them all! They are grand old cities which enjoyed magnificent heydays, suffered decline and then grew back in new, unexpected ways by welcoming diverse people and ideas. Written by Tony Mitton, designed by Zoe Waring, published by Bloomsbury   Where do you

Northern Highlight - Francis Martin

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NORTHERN HIGHLIGHT   Francis Martin   Why did you become a writer/illustrator? The vain conceit that if I worked hard enough I might be able to entertain people even children with the stories that I think up.   Tell us about where you live. Just prior to the pandemic I was moving into my new home on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool Canal near Burnley. Now I have to stay a little longer in Liverpool which is no hardship. As I am next to Sefton Park which is one of the most magical places I know. We have a statue of Eros in the centre made from the same cast as the one in Piccadilly Circus, the same statue of Peter Pan that resides in Kensington Gardens. All surrounded by the most beautiful landscape courtesy of the same bloke (Édouard André) who designed the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. Where do you illustrate? I haven’t been able to move into my new studio yet. It has a sink and a window overlooking Pendle Hill. Hopefully access to limitless tea and a panoramic panoramas will unleash my

Special Guest Northern Highlight - SYP Scotland

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 SPECIAL GUEST NORTHERN HIGHLIGHT THE SOCIETY OF YOUNG PUBLISHERS, SCOTLAND Can you tell us about SYP and your work in Scotland? The SYP is an organisation for those working in the publishing industry. The aim is to support and encourage anyone in the first ten years of their publishing career (the ‘young’ in our name is only in relation to career length, not the age of our members). The Scottish branch is for members based in Scotland – we put on monthly events including panels, workshops and socials for our members, which allows them to develop their networking and other publishing skills while engaging with issues that the publishing industry is facing. We also run an annual mentorship scheme, online networking events, and host an annual conference, which is the highlight of many publishing professionals' calendars. What are your latest events? Grace: Our biggest event this year was our conference, Ctrl Alt Refresh, which was our first fully digital conference. Accessibility an

Northern Highlight - Barbara Henderson

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Northern Highlight Barbara Henderson Why did you become a children’s writer/illustrator? I had dreamed of making stories my job since I was very young. I had a horrible accident when I was a child and had to have four operations. Weeks and weeks on the sofa with pureed food and nothing to do. The stories my sisters and parents read me became a lifeline to other worlds, and I resolved early on that I wanted to do this for others, too. But lack of confidence kicked in, and I was in my thirties by the time I realised that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.   Tell us about where you live. I live in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, and I absolutely love it. It has a great theatre and all the things you’d expect from a city, but is surrounded by many, many wild places which really inspire me. Where do you write? Over the last year, our wee spare bedroom, little more than a cupboard. But my preference is to be a nomad – I might write in cafes or librari

Northern Highlight - Josette Reeves

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  NORTHERN HIGHLIGHT Josette Reeves Why did you become a children’s writer? I remember writing a lot when I was little but I never really thought of writing as a job that I, an “ordinary” person, might be able to do. And aside from the occasional terrible poem at university, I didn’t really write until I was in my thirties. I fell in love with children’s books again while picking out presents for my little nephew, and decided to give it a go.   Once I started I found it quite addictive. The thought that you might be creating something which children are going to read, hopefully over and over again, is incredibly humbling and motivating. My first picture book, ‘Got to Dance’, illustrated by Annabel Tempest, was published earlier this year by Storyhouse, a fabulous new indie publisher based in Bath. People are now sending me photos of their children reading our book, which feels bizarre and completely wonderful. Those pictures really motivate me to keep going in those (numerous) mo

Guest Northern Highlight - Edinburgh City of Literature

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Guest Northern Highlight Edinburgh City of Literature Sian Bevan   When did Edinburgh become a UNESCO City of Literature? Edinburgh became a City of Literature in 2004 - the world’s first UNESCO Creative City.    What are your aims for Edinburgh City of Literature? Currently, we’re working on three main aims… - developing a Literature House for Edinburgh - sharing and celebrating our city’s literary story - ensuring as many people as possible within our city benefit from the UNESCO Creative Cities network.  Tell us about the wonderful libraries in Edinburgh. Where to start? There’s the dramatic National Library of Scotland, which spans 15 floors (10 of which are below street level), and the beautiful Central Library right opposite, which was the first public library in the city and which is home to a fantastic Children’s Library - a beautifully designed space for younger readers. And then there are the local libraries, which are hidden gems around the city. Although services are digita