• Enid Blyton was born in East Dulwich in 1897.
  • She was a head girl at her school.
  • She used to write her books using a typewriter sat on her lap. She claimed to never plan anything, but simply let her imagination run wild…
  • Blyton was able to write 10,000 words a day.
  • She used to use the penname Mary Pollock.
  • She wrote over 600 children’s books during her lifetime.
  • Her books have sold over 600 million copies.
  • Her first poem – ‘Have You?’ – was published in Nash’s Magazine in 1918.

 

  • Michael Morpurgo was born on 5th October 1943 in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
  • He has written over 100 books. Private Peaceful was his 100th title.
  • After graduating from university, Michael became a primary school teacher in Kent.
  • He writes all of his books in exercise books. He doesn’t work on a desk, instead he sits on his bed, propped up with pillows.
  • His favourite animals are elephants.
  • Some of his favourite authors include: Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling and Ted Hughes.
  • He dislikes the process of editing and rewriting.

 

  • Julia Donaldson was born on 16th September 1948, in Hampstead, London, England.
  • She was brought up in a three-storey Victorian house near Hampstead Heath.
  • As a child, Julia Donaldson loved poetry. She read The Book of a Thousand Poems and the nonsense poems by Edward Lear.
  • She was good at learning languages at school, and she has a good understanding of French, German and Italian.
  • Julia Donaldson went to Bristol University, studying French and Drama.
  • She was an editor for a small book publishers, Robert Tyndall.
  • She wrote songs for the children’s TV shows, Play Away, Play School and Play Board.
  • In the 1970s, Julia Donaldson trained as a teacher, and she taught English at St Mary’s Hall in Brighton.
  • In 1993, one of her songs, Squash and a Squeeze, was made into a picture book.
  • The Gruffalo, Donaldson’s most famous book, was published in 1999. It has sold more than 10 million copies.
  • Her other books inlcude: Monkey Puzzle, Room on the Broom, The Smartest Giant in Town, The Snail and the Whale, The Gruffalo’s Child and Superworm.
  • In 2011 Julia Donaldson received an MBE.
  • She likes drinking tea, playing piano and playing backgammon.
  • She enjoyed reading Watership Down by Richard Adams.
  • Julia Donaldson has a black cat called Goblin.

 

  • Valerie Bloom was born in Clarendon, Jamaica in 1956. She had eight brothers and sisters.
  • Valerie had written lots of stories when she was a child, but only started writing poetry when she was a teenager. She had her first poem published when she was just eighteen years old.
  • She moved to England in 1979 and went to the University of Kent, Canterbury.
  • Valerie has had many collections of her poems published. One of her favourites is called Fruit – a counting poem for younger children that includes the names of some of the Caribbean fruits.
  • Many of Valerie’s poems are influenced by her Caribbean origins. She writes in English, but she often includes Jamaican patois, too.
  • Valerie writes the first drafts of her poems very quickly in pen. She edits and shapes them and then types the final version on a computer.
  • Her poems have appeared in over 100 anthologies.
  • Valerie Bloom’s performances of her poetry are really popular. She has read her work on TV and radio many times.
  • She was made a MBE in 2008.
  • Valerie doesn’t just write poems. She also writes novels. Her first published novel was called Surprising Joy.

 

  • Derek Landy was born on 23rd October 1974 in Lusk, Ireland.
  • He went to Drogheda Grammar School.
  • The first Skulduggery Pleasant book, Skulduggery Pleasant, was published in 2007. It won the Red House Children’s Book Award.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant was titled Scepter of the Ancients in the US. The US publishers were worried that readers would be confused by the book and the series having the same name.
  • In addition to writing the Skulduggery Pleasant books, Derek Landy has also written several screenplays. His screenplays Dead Bodies and Boy Eats Girls have both been turned into films.
  • Derek has had several pets – a German Shepherd, two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and various cats.
  • Although he writes about supernatural subjects in his books, he doesn’t believe in the supernatural.
  • He always wanted to be a writer.
  • He loved comics as a child and he still reads them now.
  • Derek Landy taught Kenpo Karate before he became a full-time writer. He also used to work on a farm.
  • Derek gets up at about 11 am. He has lunch and then starts to write in the afternoon. He continues to write until he falls asleep at about 3 or 4 am.
  • He likes the TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost and Heroes.
  • The Skulduggery Pleasant series is nine books long: Skulduggery Pleasant, Playing With Fire, The Faceless Ones, Mortal Coil, Death Bringer, Kingdom of the Wicked, The Last Stand of a Dead Man, and a ninth book. Landy has also written two Skulduggery Pleasant novellas: The End of the World and Tanith Low and the Maleficent Seven.

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