2018 was incredibly kind to me as a writer. My debut novel, The House with Chicken Legs launched in Waterstones Covent Garden surrounded by beautiful smiles, friendly chatter and the wonderful music of Balalaika.
The House with Chicken Legs published in the UK, US and Germany, and sold in China, Croatia, Iran, Italy, Korea, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Vietnam.
I was thrilled The House with Chicken Legs was chosen as Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month in May, and seeing all the window displays was definitely a highlight of my year.
The House with Chicken Legs was also Book of the Month in The Bookseller, The Guardian and Just Imagine Story Centre; Book of the Week in The Sunday Times, The Week Junior and The Phoenix Comic; and was selected to be part of The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge 2018.
In the US, The House with Chicken Legs was an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Selection, received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus, and went on to be a Kirkus Best Book of 2018.
In the UK, I was over the moon when I heard The House with Chicken Legs had been nominated for the 2019 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted in the 2019 Blue Peter Book Awards. This is an absolute dream come true!
Another dream come true has been the opportunity to visit book festivals this year and meet some of my favourite authors. I was part of a panel event at Hay Festival with James Nicol and Juliette Forrest, spoke at Edinburgh International Book Festival with Tomi Adeyemi, and participated in the Northern Children’s Book Festival alongside some amazing authors and illustrators, including Gabrielle Kent.
School visits have been another highlight of my year. It is always a pleasure and a privilege to meet readers and hear their own ideas for stories.
Receiving messages from readers has been another treat. I am always delighted to hear what The House with Chicken Legs means to readers, and I have been incredibly lucky to see some wonderful art inspired by the book.
I never imagined 2018 would bring so many wonderful new experiences. The writing and reading community is filled with kind, generous and talented people that I feel truly honoured to have met this year.
This post has focused on The House with Chicken Legs noisily stomping its way into the world, but behind the scenes 2018 has also been filled with a quiet creativity. I have been working on my next book, which I am hugely excited about. I can’t wait to take it through the final rounds of edits early in 2019, and share it with readers later in the year!