Non-Fiction Authors in Schools - September 2010 contact list

Dear Headteacher / Literacy Co-ordinator / Head of English / Librarian,

Children's Book Week and National Non-Fiction Day

Two important events designed to celebrate books and a culture of reading and learning will soon be here:

  • Children's Book Week: 4th - 8th October
  • The first National Non-Fiction Day: 4th November
Why have a non-fiction author visit?
The authors named below are some of the UK's leading children's non-fiction writers. They are also experienced school visitors, offering talks, readings and workshops. Their visits are very different from those of fiction writers or poets. A visit from a non-fiction author is an 'adventure in the real world' touching on topics that appeal to children and which may fit in well with a teaching theme, an enrichment week, a push to improve boys' literacy, and so on. A visit will introduce children to key skills such as research, teamwork, negotiation, co-operative learning, and more.

The cost of a visit is negotiable with the author concerned, typically in the range £350--£400 per day, plus expenses. Some authors will visit for half-days, in which case the fee will be lower. Smaller schools sometimes share an author for a day, and the cost is split between them.

How to book
To find out more about an author, their events, and to make a booking, please contact the author directly. Most of the authors have websites giving full information about themselves and the school visits they make.

Areas covered by visits
Each author has indicated where they live and which regions are most convenient for them to visit in a day. We are aware that not every area of the UK is specifically mentioned. This does not mean that an author will not visit you - please contact an author of your choice to see what can be arranged.

We hope you find this contact list of interest, and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

John Malam
(on behalf of the authors named here)

Plan ahead for World Book Day - 3rd March 2011


Writes: Children's non-fiction and fiction, with a special emphasis on the natural world

Books include: Non-Fiction: Big Blue Whale; One Tiny Turtle; Surprising Sharks; Ice Bear; White Owl Barn Owl; Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable; Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big and Little Animals are Little; Gaia Warriors (about climate change) all published by Walker Books; Grow Your Own Monsters (Frances Lincoln). Fiction: Home, Up on the Hill, Welcome to Silver Street (Walker Books)

School visits: Talks, and workshops using natural history as a platform for creative non-fiction writing, poetry and narrative, for primary and secondary children, undergraduate and post-graduate students; also inset for teachers. Workshop group sizes 10-20; talks can be delivered to large groups, e.g. whole year groups, full school halls. Fifteen years of experience of working with children and adults in schools and in universities. (Examples of work done by children during workshops and testimonials from teachers available on website.)

Tel: 01873 851081 (Abergavenny)



Will visit: Wales, Midlands, South West, London

John Malam images


Photographer/author: Children's non-fiction

Books include: How to Make a Book, Living In... series (Watts); Global Cities series, People Who Help Us series (Evans); Helping Hands series (Wayland); Reading Roundabout series (Watts); Look Around You series (Wayland). Over 800 titles written or contributed to.

School visits: Talk in the form of instant question and answer format that takes children all around the world on a journey seeking out the materials and the people that are needed to actually make a book. Time permitting, I finish with stories and questions about my travels to any one of the 60 countries that I have visited over the past 30 years. Allow 60 to 90 minutes per session. Suitable for upper KS1 and KS2.

Tel: 01428 713090 / 07768 735771 (near Petersfield, Hampshire)



Will visit: All UK, including Northern Ireland


Writes and illustrates: Children's fiction and non-fiction, adult non-fiction

Books include: Art in History: Prehistoric, Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Tudor and Victorian; Biographies: Leonardo, Monet, Picasso; Medieval history, ancient history, the Forbidden City; Israel; How to Draw and Paint; Art Attack; Design and Make puppets, picture frames and masks; creative crafts; animals; Extreme Science: Celebrity Snappers and Toxic! Plus Latin and Ballroom Dance.

School visits: National Curriculum-linked Creative Workshops for KS1, 2 and 3; Communicating through Work Journals and sketchbooks for GCSE, AS and A2 (am happy to adapt these to fit in with ongoing school projects).

Tel: 01702 344117 (Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex)



Will visit: Essex, London, Cambridgeshire, Kent, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Sussex, Suffolk, Norfolk


Writes: Children and adult's non-fiction

Books include: Taking Part in the Second World War (On Land, At Sea, In the Air, Home Front, Secret War), (Watts); Women at War (First and Second World Wars) (Watts), Land Girls and their Impact (Pen & Sword); Anne Frank: The Young Writer Who Told the World Her Story (National Geographic); Sussex Women (Snake River Press). About 50 titles written or contributed to.

School visits: Talk, presentation and discussion on women's lives during World Wars One and Two. Covers all aspects of women's experiences: on the home front, in the forces; in the factories, on the land, and in secret operations. Special topic: Land Girls and Timber Jills: the Women's Land Army. Suitable for KS2, KS3 and older.

Tel: 01424 429795 (Hastings, East Sussex)



Will visit: East Sussex and parts of Kent


Writes: Children's non-fiction
(a National Literacy Trust Reading Champion, recognised for engaging reluctant readers, particularly boys)

Books include: KS1 biographies: Florence Nightingale, Queen Elizabeth II, Vincent van Gogh, and others; KS2 popular histories: You Wouldn't Want to be a Victorian Schoolchild, You Wouldn't Want to be a Roman Gladiator, You Wouldn't Want to be a Worker in a Victorian Mill; KS2/KS3 narrative non-fiction: Titanic - Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure, Battle of Hastings, Gunpowder Plot, First Man on the Moon; KS1/KS2 Oxford University Press 'Project X' guided readers designed primarily to appeal to boys.

School visits: Fiction reading for Reception; biography reading for Y1-Y2; talks for Y3-Y9 on 'The Journey of a Non-Fiction Book'; hands-on role-play workshop for Y5-Y9 where children work in teams to create their own non-fiction books (focus on co-operative learning and teamwork). Experienced at working with children of all abilities, including SEN, MLD, and G&T. Workshops suitable for transition events (Y6 to Y7), G&T clustering, and mentoring (eg Y9 working with Y7).

Tel: 01606 863540 (Winsford, Cheshire)


Website (with bookings diary):

Will visit: North-West (Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside; Tameside); Midlands (Derbyshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands); West Yorkshire, North Wales, and will consider other areas

John Malam images


Writes: Children's non-fiction and adult non-fiction

Books include: Winston Churchill (biography for KS2), 100 Things You Should Know about Gladiators (KS2/KS3), Triceratops (KS1). Also The Battle of Thermopylae (adult) and Haunted Places of England (adult). Plus over 100 other books. Regular contributor to BBC History magazine.

School visits: Talks on most historic subjects, some in character; Toys of the Past (R/KS1) with 1920s train set, 1950s doll, 1970s walking dog, etc. Romans in Your Area (KS1/KS2/KS3) workshops and activities, including archaeological artifacts for children to handle. Also, in-character presentations: Victorian Careers and Life in World War 2 (KS1/KS2/KS3) with objects to handle. Educational Funsheets available (see website for details).

Tel: 01737 356197 (Epsom, Surrey)



Will visit: Surrey, Kent, Sussex, London, Berkshire, Hampshire, plus other areas on request


Writes: Non-fiction, mainly sciences including life sciences and technology

Books include: 100 Facts About ... T Rex, Endangered Animals, Extinctions, Fossils, Sharks (Miles Kelly); Project X titles including Animal Conflicts, Water Cycle, Building Wembley (OUP); Wild Age! 4-title series on prehistoric animals (QED); Age of Dinosaurs, to accompany exhibition at the London Natural History Museum; Extreme Animals and Extreme Insects, with pop-ups, pull-outs, etc. (Carlton); Robots! 8-title series (Watts/Creative); How It Works - Ships, Cars, Aircraft, etc. 10-title see-inside series (Miles Kelly); Eyewitness Skeleton, Pond & River, Electricity plus about 20 other Eyewitness titles (DK); Changes In and Planet Earth, two 4-title series, one 'green' and one on habitats, for mid-KS2 (QED). Older readers / family: Museum of Life (tie-in book for the 6-part BBC documentary series about the London Natural History Museum, 2010); Planet Ape (co-written with renowned author Desmond Morris, Mitchell Beazley); The Encyclopedia of Sharks (A&C Black); Ultimate CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (DK); The Human Body Book (DK). More than 250 titles as author, editor or contributor.

School visits: Presentations and workshops on science and nature, from dinosaurs to the future of conservation, machines, space, human body, etc. weaving in book or website production skills as arranged, from first idea to finished product.

Tel: 01379 678991 (Diss, Norfolk)



Will visit: Most of UK, especially if several schools coordinate a visit


Writes: Children's non-fiction and fiction, adult non-fiction

Books include: Would You Believe series (OUP); Diary series (Walker); Cross-Section and Eyewitness series (DK); How They Made Things Work series (Franklin Watts); Cities Through Time series (Kingfisher) - more than 90 books in all.

School visits: Take the form of Q & A sessions - with the children providing the answers. By quizzing my audience, I separate facts from misconceptions, illustrating appropriate answers with pages from my books. I have talks prepared on pirates, knights and castles, the history of medicine, food and diet, and on the process of writing. I can adapt these to suit different age groups or locations, and given enough time I can prepare new events based on my other published titles. Talks are for KS1-KS3 and most last 40 minutes + questions.

Tel: 01892 890741 (near Tunbridge Wells, Kent)



Will visit: Mainland UK


Writes: Award-winning children's fiction and non-fiction, mostly history-based

Books include: Timewarp Trials series (2010, Evans); Moon (OUP, 2009), Into the Unknown (2010-11, Walker); Pirates, Plants and Plunder, Greed, Seeds and Slavery (both Random House); Start Up History and Flashbacks series (Evans); Tales of the Dead series (Dorling Kindersely), etc.

School visits: Lively talks and interactive workshops to any requirement, any number, any age, including INSET. A term's notice much appreciated.

Tel: 01227 784617 (Canterbury, Kent)
initial contact by email preferred



Will visit: Anywhere south of, say, Preston (Lancs) but will go further if several schools are able to co-ordinate visits


Writes: Children's non-fiction science

Books include: Wild Weather Hurricanes and Tornadoes (QED); Animals Under Threat and other titles in Headline Issues (Heinemann); Does it stay warm? in All About Materials (Franklin Watts); Sustainable Energy (Wayland); My Body Why do I sleep? (QED); Living in Space; My World of Science series (Heinemann); Gun Crimes in Solve it with Science series (Franklin Watts); Eye Openers (Dorling Kindersley) and many more.

School visits: Talks on how I research and write books; creative science-writing workshops covering different topics for Y2 to Y6, including materials used in printing a book, healthy eating, friction, living in space, exploring space and climate change. And - for the run-up to 2012 - a choice of workshops that link science to the Olympic Games.

Tel: 0207 263 8600 (London, N7)



Will visit: London and places easily accessible from London


Writes: Children's non-fiction and fiction

Books include: Adventures in Literacy (24 titles about writing fiction and non-fiction for Y1-Y4); Adventures in Art (KS2); Reusing and Recycling (KS2); A Victorian Childhood at School, Work, Home and Play (KS2).

School visits: 'Storywriting Secrets and Surprises' - improving writing and telling stories, particularly effective for boys (KS1 and 2); 'The Recycling Roadshow' - an interactive exploration of materials with recycled object handling (KS1 and 2); 'Inspiration Africa' - making workshops: choice of masks, patterns and prints, musical instruments, toys and games; Rich and poor Victorian children - an interactive session, using contemporary images and modern photographs to compare the very different lives of rich and poor Victorian children; Recreate - inspiring workshops making jewellery, badges, masks and moving toys from junk materials.

Tel: 0207 607 4623 (London, N1)



Will visit: All UK, including Northern Ireland


Writes: Children's non-fiction and fiction
(a National Literacy Trust Reading Champion, recognised for engaging reluctant readers, particularly boys)

Books include: Painful History of Medicine / Childhood / Crime / Science (series); the story 'Deadline' has been selected by the Schools Library Association for Boys Into Books; The Big Book of Baddies: A wicked history of villainy

School visits: Talks/workshops for KS2/KS3 on story-writing or strange but true stories. Presentations feature 'Yucky Yarns to Make You Squirm' or the 'Weird, Wacky and Wonderful'. Other topics range from CSI science and 'Murder in the Library' to 'Don't Have Nightmares', on the unexplained, amazing mysteries, incredible creatures and far more.

Tel: 01886 884397 (Worcestershire)
initial contact by email preferred


Website: John Townsend at

Will visit: Midlands, south central, East Anglia (sometimes)