I’m heading off again this year, to the hidden gem that is Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland. This time with two other past Diverse Book Awards winning YA authors: Manjeet Mann and Natasha Bowen. Pictured here with me are the brilliant DBA co-founders, Helen Lewis and Abiola Bello, who will be chairing.
Join us on stage at this Wigtown exclusive ‘Celebrating Diversity’ event: Sat 30th Sept, 3-4pm
‘Chinglish’ is another step closer to screen! The pressure’s on but I’m trying to keep my cool.
Luckily, I’m in a team of strong, talented female producers, co-writer and editor, who’ve put their faith in me, and are keen as I am to keep the story as raw, crazy and hilarious as the book.
We’re doing this for all the original 80s kids out there (I want to keep the music references in especially), and for everyone up to now, still dealing with nightmare relationships, perpetual teen angst, zits, drunks and exploding goats.
It’s taken almost a year, but I’m chuffed/relieved/knackered to say I have just finished the first draft of ‘Chinglish’ sequel!
The follow on documents what happens when I leave home, aka the Chinese takeaway, for the bright lights of London as a stunningly incompetent 16yr old. I’d won a scholarship to Fashion college, but didn’t look so chic when I ended up skint and homeless on the streets.
It was way harder writing about this part of my life than Chinglish. But ‘cause I know my story helps, I think it’s worth getting onto the page. And as before, part 2 will have you crying sad and laughter tears with its dark humour. Hopefully agent and publisher team will see potential and I can get on with the next draft!
BBC’s ‘500 Words’ is the UK’s largest children’s story writing competition for 5-11 yr olds, and there’s a host of prizes including getting their story published in this special book!
I feel dead lucky to be illustrating one of the winning stories again this year, along with: Axel Scheffler, Steven Lenton, Fiona Lumbers, Joelle Avelino and Jamie Smart. And the judges will be: Sir Lenny Henry, Charlie Higson and Malorie Blackman.
The great thing about this competition is that the focus is not on spelling or grammar, but IMAGINATION, so get your kids’ thinking juices going and enter here!
It’s countdown to Empathy Day 8th June, and this year there’s this funksome new book ‘We’ve Got This!’ to go with it. Bursting with wise words by the superb Rashmi Sirdeshpande and fantastic illustrations by Juliana Eigner, there’s also loads of quotes inside and I’m mega chuffed to have mine included:
“Reading for empathy is like Lego. It helps you build and play around with an infinite number of scenarios involving yourself and others, all at your fingertips!”
Empathy Lab’s mission is “to raise an empathy-educated generation inspired to build a kinder and less divided world”, and as an ELab trained author who spreads the word at my events, I am all over that. ‘We’ve Got This!’ is out now and available to buy from bookshop.org.
Bournemouth’s first writing festival comes to town
Talking about how writing your personal story is supposed to be a kick in the gut.
My memoir, ‘Chinglish’ started out for much younger kids, ’cause I was only picking out the best anecdotes, you know, fabricating another self, like we do. But my agent asked if I could be more honest. What, and let people see the real me? No way! But then I realised that if we keep rejecting a part of ourselves then we will never, ever be whole.
Accepting our story (ourselves) is massively healing, so this is what I chose to talk about at Bournemouth Writing Festival. Writing this book as it is, means I can now pass my experience on to others, so the rollercoaster of manic tears and laughter was worth it in the end. Thanks audience, for your comments:
“Wow – you blew me away in your talk.”
“Thank you for your energised, riveting and humorous talk.”
What happened to World Book ‘Day’? It’s more like a month now! This year was a mega whirlwind as I went from Oxford to Dorchester, Bristol and London three times and talked to 1000s of young people, with the tour being topped off nicely at Times Radio with Cathy Newman on ‘The Ladder’ show. Also new thing: readers now wanting their hands stamped, as well as their books!
Fun post post! Just received my advance copies of the new Maddy Yip. It’s like opening up a box of Terry’s All Gold, but 100x more face light-uppy! Hope the book will have the same effect on my readers.
It’s the third in the series and follows Maddy as she attempts to organise an 80th birthday party for her grandad. Of course it’s a shambles – until a ‘human glitter ball’ arrives on the scene…all told in laugh-a-second style with silly pictures to boot.
I was invited to 10 Downing Street to take part in their annual Lunar New Year celebrations. What a privilege to be one of the few who gets to step behind the world’s most famous front door and take in the history behind it.
Over 100 guests representing the ESEA community were invited including the wonder women in this pic: Helier Cheung (journalist), Suzie Lee (TV chef) and Cindy Chan (financier).
I love making new pals at these gatherings, but my biggest dream came true when after years of admiring him on the telly, I got to shake paws with Larry, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office!
Looking back, I got to do some exciting stuff this year: live TV, hosting awards and lecturing MA Creative Writing students- For someone who barely scraped their English exam, that’s proof to all you aspiring writers who think you can’t do it, that you really can! (Tip: Go with your gut, don’t compare yourself to others and wing the heck out of it).
Next year, there’s screenwriting developments, a YA sequel taking shape and another in the Maddy Yip series, but now, chill time. Thanks to my agent The Catchpoles the fantastic team at Andersen Press and all you gorgeous people – happy holidays! X