Not for the faint-hearted: competing with young readers

Prime Writer Christina Banach, who wrote the powerful crossover YA novel MINTY, does a lot of work with young readers.

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On October 28 Christina is participating in the authors’ team in the Northeast Scotland heat of Kids’ Lit Quiz. This annual event is a literature quiz for students aged 10 to 13 years, whereby teams of four students are asked to answer 100 questions on children’s literature.

Several schools field teams for each heat, and answer questions that are divided into ten categories, which vary each year. Kids’ Lit quizzes are held in many countries across the world, including the United Kingdom. The winning team from each heat competes in a National Final, and the national champions then compete in the World Final.

Christina was part of the Northeast Scotland Lids’ Lit Quiz 2015 author team, and is delighted to have been asked to take part again this year. However, she’d better brush up on her literature knowledge before she goes: with categories such as poetry, authors, titles, settings, characters, and nursery rhymes amongst the questions, this is not a quiz for the faint-hearted!

Click here for more information on the Kids’ Lit Quiz.


Christina Banach author of MINTY

Beth Miller on Writing Dysfunctional Families

Most novels contain families; and most of their families have at least a little bit of dysfunction going on.

Prime Writer Beth Miller has just had her book on Shakespeare published and he was no stranger to family conflicts!  She is also the author of two dysfunctional family novels – not a bookshelf classification, but it should be. These are When We Were sisters and The Good Neighbour. Here she  talks here about how she goes about creating those families.

Read article here: Writing Dysfunctional Families

Beth Miller

Beth Miller (Credit: Katie Vandyck)

Paperback cover


Cover Reveal: THE WILD AIR by Rebecca Mascull

We are delighted to reveal the stunning cover of Prime Writer Rebecca Mascull’s new novel THE WILD AIR which will be published on 6 April 2017.

Yet again Rebecca has brought to life a fascinating and feisty heroine. Della Dobbs has a burning ambition to fly. She battles against Edwardian society to realise her dream, until the Great War comes and threatens everything – and everyone – she loves. Not to be missed.


Rebecca Mascull (Credit: Lisa Warrener)

Rebecca Mascull (Credit: Lisa Warrener)

Rebecca is author of The Visitors and Song of the Sea Maid.

Louise Beech on writing a surprise psychological thriller

Prime Writer Louise Beech:

THE MOUNTAIN IN MY SHOE began as a series of what ifs and grew into a huge monster of a thing that chased me down dark corridors until I sat and wrote it. So I was privileged to share my experience of writing a ‘surprise’ psychological thriller with the Irish Times. My second novel surprised me in many ways, and I’m  overjoyed that readers (so far!) seem to be enjoying it.’

Read more here…







Festival advice: be prepared!

Continuing our series on Festivals, the good, the bad and the ugly, Prime Writer and children’s author Sarah Todd Taylor, who wrote the wonderful ARTHUR AND ME , shares a funny story.

One year at my favourite festival I offered, at the last minute, to do a writing workshop for children on the theme of ‘how do we build a hero’? I’d planned it for 7-9 year olds, but had to think on my feet when my audience turned out to comprise mainly under fives.

Out went all attempts to get them to do any writing. In came dividing them into two and getting one half to make chicken noises and the other half to impersonate tree frogs as I made up stories on the spot, complete with actions. For half an hour I sat under the trees in the warm summer sun and told stories. I think it rates as one of the most fun but terrifying half hours of my life, and I learned a lot :

a) be prepared – you might not get the audience you’re expecting

b) find a way for the children to join in. If you’re not going to be able to get them writing, get them acting out the story, or making noises (preferably both)

c) keep it short – after 20 minutes I suspected they were starting to eye the ball pit, so I started to wind things up

d) keep smiling.





Sarah Todd Taylor – keep smiling

A Literary Festival Extravaganza…

Second in the Prime Writers’ series about literary festivals is Kerry Drewery’s experience of setting up her own:

kd-1I haven’t been fortunate enough to have been invited to many literary festivals, but I do, along with fellow YA author Emma Pass, organise one. We set up the UK Young Adult and Children’s Extravaganza in a response to the majority of events being in London and many people, especially young people, being unable to get to them.

Continue reading

Guildford Book Festival Readers’ Day

Jane Lythell

Jane Lythell

The last few tickets are still available for the Guildford Book Festival Readers’ Day. Prime Writer Jane Lythell is one of the eight authors featured at this festival-in-a-day where authors talk about their latest book and what inspired them. Jane will be talking about her new novel WOMAN OF THE HOUR.e-book-and-paperback-cover-woman-of-the-hour_rough-2_new_1

The event is hosted by Guy Pringle of newbooks Magazine and the other authors include William Shaw, Janet Ellis, Amanda Prowse and Joanna Cannon. More details here: