Let's drink a toast to Lydia Syson, and celebrate with Gladiators and Summer Explorers

Don't you just love to sip at something cold and fizzy on a hot day? I'm so excited to crack open the champers and celebrate this week's sparkling SCBWI successes. First, a huge Hip Hip Hooray for Lydia Syson who, with her editor Sarah Odedina, was Highly Commended for A World Between Us at the Branford Boase Award ceremony on Thursday. You can read about Lydia’s book here if you missed it. And then raise your glasses to Marnie Riches and Cath Howe whose books have just launched.

Cath Howe thrilled everyone at the SCBWI retreat with a reading of her funny yet creepy mystery, so I was delighted to hear she has just published two books of plays, Summer Explorers and Curious Cases with Pearson. Any drama teachers among you might want to check them out. 

The Summer Explorers book has two plays about the same group of children on a seaside holiday. In the first they use a metal detector on the beach with interesting results. In the second, they are in the cottage late one evening and creepy things happen. Curious Cases is about a boy who wakes one morning to discover he has grown giant feathered feet! His family are pretty horrified and rush him to the local doctor. 

Cath says: “There is definitely a creepy thread in my writing!! And I love trying to get the dialogue really natural. The complicated bit was trying to make sure all the parts were pretty equal.” 

 Cath Howe is an author and teacher working in South West London writing for, and working with, Key Stage 2 primary age children. Her first two books were published in 2012 by Pearson in their Bug Club, The Curse of the Highwayman and The Highwayman’s Revenge, and she has been known to dress as a highwayman for school visits. She has won prizes for stories, poems and monologues and also runs workshops in schools on everything to do with writing and performing, teaches gifted writers, coaches children for auditions, develops plays and scripts for festivals; everything about being inspired and creative. The plays are for reading aloud, as part of Pearson's Bug Club. 

And now for a big Hurrah! for Marnie Riches who has just published Gladiator Clash, the first in a six book historical fiction series for 7+ called, Time-Hunters. The book will share its book birthday of 4t
h July 2013 with three others in the series: Knight Quest, Viking Raiders and Greek Warriors, all published by HarperCollins Children's under the pseudonym, Chris Blake. This romp through history follows the adventures of ten-year-old Tom, Isis, a young Egyptian princess, and her mummified moggy, Cleo, as they collect six amulets on a thrilling treasure hunt through time.

 The blurb reads: Join two brave heroes on one incredible treasure hunt through the most exciting moments in history. 

Marnie grew up on one of the roughest council estates in Manchester. Fortunately, with the gift of a good brain and the ability to talk rubbish in several different languages, she ended up with a degree from Cambridge University in German and Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a wannabe renovator of houses and a professional fundraiser. Now she writes funny novels for children and crime thrillers for adults. She is represented by AM Heath.

So while you're relaxing in the sun this weekend, please raise your glasses and say an extra big cheers to Lydia, Cath and Marnie!

Tania Tay is an ex-advertising copywriter and has been published in Sable LitMag. She is writing MG and YA fiction, and is on the editorial team at Words & Pictures.


  1. Curious Cases, Summer Explorers and the Time Hunters Series all like like stories kids will love.
    And Lydia and Sarah - fantastic news about being HIGHLY commended for The Branford Boase.
    Congratulations Cath, Marnie and Lydia!


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