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World Book Day 2021

I was so excited when asked if I wanted to be included in the World Book Day video. Author Sophie Andersen and  booktuber Gavin Hetherington teamed up to create an epic montage of 153 authors spreading the message of book-love and the importance of getting them into the hands of as many young people as possible.

I was even more excited when a  sneak preview tweet was posted of me pictured next to Cressida Cowell, the Children’s Laureate – BOOM! So if any of you are thinking of writing but don’t think you’re of the right race, class or educational background – here’s proof it can be done.

World Book day is 4th March, so tune into YouTube and watch this fantastic video. It’s for everyone and it’s FREE – enjoy!

Read for Empathy

Chinglish has been chosen for the 2021 Read for Empathy collection, I’m so proud! 🙌

‘The empathy we feel for book characters wires our brains to have the same sensitivity towards real people’ (Raymond Marr, York University, Toronto)

This important collection of books get updated every year, and helps to raise an empathy-educated generation, so children can be their best selves in a culture of kindness. Right now what could be more important?

Find more information about EmpathyLab’s work and Empathy Day (this year it’s on June 10th 2021): bit.ly/2YgorOk

CHINGLISH SCREEN ADAPTATION!

I can now officially announce that my debut novel is being adapted for screen! It is the most insane but fantastic news! I’m not able to give any details as yet and there probably won’t be any for a while as production processes take a notoriously long time. More than anything though, I’m excited to get the British Chinese story out there from the other side of the takeaway counter. I try to get this across in a hilarious but warm-hearted way, with a hope to help bring people together by what they share in common, not what sets them apart. It’ll also be a great way to increase visibility and create some positive noise for the ‘invisible minority’. I am so proud to represent.

Huge thanks as always go to my agent, editor and the fantastic team at Andersen Press for making the magic happen.

The Book of Homelessness

One of the most fulfilling things I’ve done this year is to work with Accumulate Art School For The Homeless charity. The remarkable founder Marice Cumber, read my piece about being homeless in The Big Issue and asked if I’d hold a workshop for her students. Since then I’ve contributed to their Book of Homelessness and this month’s art kits, which I’m so proud to be a part of (1000s have been posted to hostels and temporary accommodation since people couldn’t get to workshops).

Apart from helping to build skills and improve lives through creativity, the charity also provides fully funded scholarships at Ravensbourne University.

The Book of Homelessness has REAL stories and art by creatives affected by homelessness, from fleeing war torn countries, to neglect and social circumstances. I’m proud to support Accumulate by contributing my piece on what it was like to be homeless and pregnant as a teenager.

Copies are available from accumulate.org.uk. and all profits go to charity.

I WON A NATIONAL AWARD!!

WHAT EVEN??!!! I have only gone and WON The Diverse Book Awards, Young Adult category!!!
I had no idea this was going to be a thing, so please forgive the babbling post! Massive thanks to my agent @thecatchpoles and publisher @andersenpress who backed me all the way, even when I was convinced no one wanted hear my story. And thank you to the judges @DBAwards who then did hear my story and found it worthy of an award. Also a big hand goes to all the other talent that got nominated.
When I wrote Chinglish, I had no idea of the 1000s in the Chinese community (all over the world) who would relate to my upbringing in a takeaway/restaurant. Since then, many have messaged to say how much better they feel knowing they weren’t alone.
Apart from the struggles (including racism, the immigrant experience and identity issues), growing up British Chinese was and continues to be, a rich and colourful dual culture experience. We were known as the ‘silent minority’ but with incredible awards like this representing all, I hope others will be encouraged to join in getting our voices heard. Congratulations to the other winners Onjali Rauf and Ayisha Malik and love to all – I’m off to celebrate now whoo-hoo! 💛

Shortlisted for The Diverse Book Awards 2020!

Whoo-hoo! I can’t believe Chinglish has been nominated for The Diverse Book Awards shortlist! To any aspiring writers out there, no matter what your background is, if you’ve got a story to tell then tell it because THIS might happen!

I didn’t think anyone would want to know about me, a working class kid growing up in a Chinese takeaway in Coventry, but my agent persuaded me otherwise and he was right, people want to hear our stories, especially those that aren’t very often heard. I know now how important this is for us to be able to understand and connect with each other.

Massive thanks as always go to my agent and all the top folk at Andersen Press for their support. Also, thank you to the judges at DBA and congratulations to the other brilliant short listed authors – yaaaaaay!

Bristol Teen Book Award 2020

I’ve been shortlisted for the Bristol Teen Book Award, along with these crazily talented authors! (How did I get here?)

This is a brilliant prize that celebrates diversity and draws attention to young adult novels featuring characters whose voices are not always heard in mainstream fiction. This means so much to me, so thank you to all the fantastic readers and voters. Fingers crossed we can all make it to the ceremony in Feb 2021!

Oh my words!

Something gorgeous and shiny came in the post today! My very own special bound copy of BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words Competition book, with all the winning stories in it!

I illustrated 10 year old Ellie Aitken’s story ‘For the last time’, a moving and devastating account of a Jewish family’s final Sabbath meal. Ellie won a silver award in the 10-13 year old category for this wonderful piece of heartfelt writing. Well done Ellie!

Click here to see the winning stories.

I WON SOMETHING!

Okay, so I didn’t win Indie Book Awards. That pleasure went to the lovely Sophie Anderson for The Girl Who Speaks Bear, a book that will definitely go on my To Be Read list.

BUT….

I did win ‘Simply The Book’ category at the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards! This makes Chinglish an award-winning book so I am very happy indeed. Big love goes out to the organisers and all the dedicated readers who voted for me – you are simply FAB!

BBC Radio 2 500 Words winner

BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words competition was launched in 2010, after Chris Evans dreamt of getting children excited about reading and writing. All children: no matter what their ability, experience, or background. The idea was simple; pen an original story, no more than 500 words in length, about ANYTHING you want. Stories are judged anonymously, without regard to grammar, punctuation or spelling.

Since the competition launched, over 1 million stories have been submitted. This year was the FINAL one so imagine how excited I was to have been chosen to illustrate one of the winners! I couldn’t believe it, here I was alongside these great talents: Tony Ross, Axel Scheffler, David Roberts, Margaret Sturton and Fiona Lumbers. The story I illustrated was by Ellie Aitken, who was awarded Silver in the 10-13 category for the extremely emotive ‘For The Last Time’ and read by Blue Peter presenter Mwaksy.

Congratulations to all the winners in the history of 500 Words. Keep writing your fantastic stories!

Click here to see the winning stories.