Over the years we have had the privilege of welcoming some amazing guest authors, do scroll through to meet them. Most have been able to join us in person, but one benefit of the 2020 pandemic was how it opened up new ways to connect and we have since enjoyed virtual visits from Canada (Susin Nielsen) and Australia (Neil Grant) as well as specially recorded videos from lots of our shortlisted authors, including Sophie Cameron, William Sutcliffe, Elle McNicoll, A.M. Dassu and Robin Talley.

We are very grateful to each and every author who has given their time to help us celebrate the joy of books and reading, and to make Page Turners such a rewarding and enriching experience for all of the young people taking part.’


Wren James and Nicola Penfold

Wren James is the Carnegie-longlisted British author of many Young Adult novels as ‘Lauren James’, including Last Seen Online, Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. They are a RLF Royal Fellow and the story consultant on Netflix’s Heartstopper (Seasons 2 and 3).

Wren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, editor of the anthology Future Hopes: Hopeful stories in a time of climate change, and a member of the Society of Authors’ Sustainability Committee. They work as a consultant on climate storytelling for museums, production companies, major brands and publishers, with a focus on optimism and hope. They run a Queer Writers group in Coventry.

Nicola Penfold was born in Merseyside and grew up in Doncaster. She studied English at Cambridge, before completing a Computing Science masters at Imperial College London.

Where the World Turns Wild was shortlisted for the first Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize in 2017. It was also selected for SCBWI’s 2018 Undiscovered Voices anthology.

Nicola lives with her husband, four children and two cats in North London, and escapes when she can to wilder corners of the UK for adventures.


Neil Grant and Susin Nielsen

Neil Grant was born in Scotland in the Year of the Fire Horse. He learnt to speak Australian at the age of thirteen when his family fled to Melbourne to escape rain and deep fried Mars Bars. He finished high school at the International School of Kuala Lumpur then spent years blundering through Indonesia, Israel, Yugoslavia, India, Nepal, Thailand, Greece, Italy, the UK and Tasmania. He trained as a high school English teacher but at various times of his life he has been a joiner, a dishwasher, an instrument steriliser, a cook, a brickie’s labourer, a roof-tile reclaimer, a carrot picker and a tree planter. He has always been a writer.

Neil spent time in Afghanistan researching The Ink Bridge and on traditional whaleboats and crater lakes in Indonesia for Indo Dreaming. His latest novel is set in a fishing village on the Central Coast of New South Wales and in the Sundbarbans in West Bengal, India

Neil lives in Melbourne’s outer north with his partner. He has three children.

Susin Nielsen got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards, as did her second novel, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, was published in August 2012. It went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, and a number of Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Author Wally Lamb named it his top YA pick for 2012 in his “First Annual Wally Awards,” and recently Rolling Stone magazine put it at #27 in their list of “Top 40 Best YA Novels.”


Sarah Crossan and Polly Ho-Yen

Sarah Crossan grew up in Dublin and emigrated to the U.K. when she was six years old, later studying at The University of Warwick and The University of Cambridge. She worked as an English teacher for ten years, in both England and the United States, before becoming a full-time writer in 2012.

Sarah’s novels The Weight of Water, Apple and Rain were twice shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the CBI Book of the Year and in 2016, Sarah won the CILIP Carnegie Medal and CBI Book of the Year as well as the YA Book Prize, the CLiPPA Poetry Award, and many other awards for her novel, One, a novel in verse about a set of conjoined twins. In 2017 the Dutch translation of One, Een, won the Dioraphte Literature Prize and the German translation, Eins, received a double shortlisting for the prestigious Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis. In 2017 Sarah published We Come Apart, her first collaboration with Costa Children’s Book Award winner Brian Conaghan, which was also shortlisted for several awards. Sarah’s latest novel for teenagers, Moonrise, has been shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award, the CBI Book of the Year, the YA Book Prize and an Irish Book Award. In 2017 Sarah was chosen to represent Ireland for the Hay Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, in a celebration of children’s writing. Her short stories and poems have been included in several collections including Amnesty’s Here I Stand. Sarah is also the author of the dystopian novels Breathe and Resist.

Polly Ho-Yen was born in Northampton and brought up in Buckinghamshire. She studied English at Birmingham University before working in publishing for several years.
Her first novel, Boy in the Tower, published in July 2014 by Random House Children’s Publishers, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Her second novel Where Monsters Lie was published in 2016 and her third novel, Fly Me Home, was published in 2017. Both of these novels were also nominated for the Carnegie Medal.

She now writes full-time and lives in Bristol with her husband.


Sita Brahmachari and Matt Killeen

Sita Brahmachari was born in Derby in 1966 to an Indian doctor from Kolkata and an English nurse from the Lake District. She has a BA In English Literature and an MA in Arts Education. Sita is an author and playwright who has also worked in theatre, education and communities, including with The Royal Court Theatre, Tamasha Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2011 she won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for her debut novel Artichoke Hearts. Her subsequent novels have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the UKLA Book Award as well as being endorsed by the Reading Agency, Book Trust and Amnesty International UK. Sita lives in North London with her husband, three children and a temperamental cat. Her book Tender Earth featured on the Teen shortlist.

Matt Killeen was born in Birmingham and now lives in Surrey. He earned an MA in Creative Writing for Children from Manchester Metropolitan University having previously spent a decade as an advertising copywriter, sportswriter and music journalist. Matt fulfilled a childhood ambition by becoming a writer for the Lego company in 2010. Matt’s debut novel Orphan Monster Spy was published to great acclaim in 2018 and was shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Book Award. He was absolutely thrilled to win the Teen category in our very own SESTBA’s this year!


Patrice Lawrence & Juno Dawson

Patrice Lawrence is an Award winning author Patrice was born in Brighton, brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian family in mid Sussex and now lives in East London. Her debut YA novel (and SESTBA shortlisted title Orangeboy) was greeted with great critical and public acclaim, winning the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017 and the Bookseller YA Book Prize 2017. It was also shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Children’s Book Award. Patrice’s second novel Indigo Donut came out this year to rave reviews and has been Book of the Week in The Times, The Observer and The Sunday Times.

“Lawrence is a vibrant, accomplished storyteller… but what really sets her writing apart is her skill in getting to the raw heart of her characters.” The Observer

Juno Dawson Queen of Teen 2014 Juno is the multi award-winning author of seven YA novels (including SESTBA shortlisted Margot and Me). She lives in Brighton and writes full time, having begun her literary career penning imaginary episodes of Dr Who as a child in West Yorkshire! She later turned her talent to journalism and still contributes regularly to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian, as well as making frequent radio and TV appearances. As well as her successful novels she has written two non-fiction titles; a bestselling guide for young LGBT people This Book is Gay and Mind Your Head, covering everything a young person needs to know about mental health. In 2015 Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman. Her latest novel Clean was published in April 2018.


Natasha Farrant and Steve Cole

Natasha Farrant has worked in children’s publishing for almost twenty years, running her own literary scouting agency for the past ten. She grew up in London where she still lives with her husband and their two daughters. She is the author of the Carnegie-longlisted and Branford Boase-shortlisted YA historical novel The Things We Did For Love, as well as two successful adult novels. Natasha was shortlisted for the Queen of Teen Award 2014, and the second Bluebell Gadbsy book, Flora in Love, is longlisted for the Guardian Children’s Prize. She came to us in 2017 to talk about her book Lydia, The Wild Child of Pride and Prejudice.

Steve Cole is a best-selling children’s author whose sales exceed three million copies. His hugely successful Astrosaurs young fiction series has been a UK top-ten children’s bestseller and been published widely internationally. His several original Doctor Who novels have also been bestsellers. An original comedy, fantasy and adventure writer, Steve’s work includes a broad range of books, most recently the Secret Agent Mummy series for younger readers, Stop Those Monsters! and the explosive Young Bond titles Shoot to Kill and Heads You Die, with a further adventure for the teenage James Bond planned for publication.


Sally Gardner and Tim Bowler

Sally Gardner is an award-winning novelist from London. Her books have been translated into 22 languages and have sold more than one million copies in the UK. Her historical novel for older readers, I, Coriander, won the Smarties Children’s Book Prize in 2005. Two thrillers both set at the time of the French Revolution, The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2009, followed. Her YA novel, The Double Shadow, was published in 2011 to critical acclaim. She has also written and illustrated picture books including The Fairy Catalogue, The Glass Heart, The Book of Princesses and Playtime Rhymes. Sally Gardner continues to be an avid spokesperson for dyslexia, working to change the way it is perceived by society. She is dyslexic and argues that it is not a disability, but a gift.

Tim Bowler has written seven novels for teenagers and is one of the most prominent authors currently writing for this age group. His first novel, Midget, established him as a thrilling new voice in young adult literature. His third novel, River Boy, won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, and his books have also won numerous other prizes. His most recent novels are Storm Catchers and the highly acclaimed Firmament.
Tim lives with his wife in Devon, England, and is a full-time writer.


Nicky Singer and Andy Briggs

Nicky Singer was born in 1956 and has worked in publishing, the arts and television. She began her writing career at the age of 15, with lyrics for a cantata Jonah and the Whale, and has since written four adult novels and two works of non-fiction – The Tiny Book of Time (with Kim Pickin) and The Little Book of the Millennium (with Jackie Singer). She was co-founder and co-director (1987-1996) of Performing Arts Labs, a charity dedicated to training new writers for theatre, screen and opera.
Feather Boy, Nicky’s first novel for the younger market, won the Blue Peter Book Award in 2002. It is a compelling, utterly convincing account of young teen life, written in an unforgettable voice. Her agent, Clare Conville, described Feather Boy as, One of the best children’s books I have read since becoming an agent. Nicky Singer lives in Brighton with her husband, their two sons and a daughter.

Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, graphic novelist, author and conservationist – writing on movie projects such as JUDGE DREDD and FREDDY VS JASON and FOREVERMAN for Paramount Pictures, Spiderman creator Stan Lee and legendary producer Robert Evans. He has worked on TV projects for Syfy, Netflix, ITV and Amazon.Andy went on to work on Warner Bros.’ AQUAMAN – while at the same time landing an eight-book deal with Oxford University Press for HERO.COM and VILLAIN.NET. His graphic novels include KONG: KING OF SKULL ISLAND, RITUAL and DINOCORPS. He wrote and Executively Produced – LEGENDARY – starring Scott Adkins and Dolph Lungdren. In 2017 his latest movie, CROWHURST wasreleased and WAR WOLF (directed by Simon West) and GOLDEN AGE (directed by Simon West) entered production.He has rebooted the classic character TARZAN, with a series of contemporary books TARZAN: THE GREYSTOKE LEGACY, TARZAN: THE JUNGLE WARRIOR and TARZAN: THE SAVAGE LANDS. His latest series of middle grade novels – THE INVENTORY – is published by Scholastic.


Tanya Landman and Stuart Howard

Carnegie Medal winning Tanya Landman is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults. Born and brought up in Kent, Tanya had no intention of becoming a writer until the idea for Waking Merlin popped into her head. “It came from nowhere. It was completely out of the blue.” Tanya’s first books were “adventure stories with a sprinkling of magic and spoonful of humour.” But then Tanya turned to crime, writing Mondays are Murder (winner of a Red House Book Award) – the first in a series of ten “Agatha-Christie-for-kids” featuring child sleuth Poppy Fields and her friend Graham. Although she writes across a broad age range, Tanya is probably best known for her historical novels for young adults. Apache – set in 19th century America – was shortlisted for several UK awards including the Teenage Book Trust and the Carnegie Medal (where it was voted the Shadowing Groups favourite). The US edition won a Borders Original Voices prize and a Spur award from the Western Writers of America. The Goldsmith’s Daughter – set in the Aztec empire during the Spanish invasion – was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize. Buffalo Soldier won the 2015 Carnegie Medal. Hell and High Water – a swashbuckling thriller set in 18th century Devon – was shortlisted for the 2016 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Beyond the Wall is set in Roman Britain.

Stuart Howard is a climber, adventurer and mountaineer whose love of books and reading throughout his life has inspired him to pursue his passion for the great outdoors in the search of amazing adventures


Anthony McGowan and Dave McKean

Anthony McGowan is one of the most widely acclaimed young-adult authors in the UK. His books have won several major awards, and been shortlisted for many more. He has also written highly regarded adult fiction, as well as books for younger readers. He has a PhD on the history of beauty, and has taught philosophy and creative writing. He lives in London with his wife and two children. His debut novel was an adult thriller, Stag Hunt and was published to wide critical acclaim in 2004. An equally praised sequel, Mortal Coil, came out in 2005. In the same year, Random House published Hellbent, which was his first novel for teenagers, described by The Times as ‘a brilliantly nauseating thriller’. It was picked by Anthony Horowitz as his book of the year in the Daily Telegraph. A second young-adult book, Henry Tumour, was published in April 2006. According to The Guardian, ‘Henry Tumour is a boisterous, anarchic, frequently vulgar comedy about a boy with a brain tumour. It is very, very funny. It is also a wise, sensitive and questioning novel about the opposing forces that make us what we are.’ Henry Tumour won the 2006 Booktrust Teenage prize, the 2007 Catalyst Award, and was shortlisted for several major awards. The Knife That Killed Me, was published in 2008 and has proved both highly controversial and topical. It deals in a hard-hitting, intensely realised way with the problems of knife crime and youth violence. His most recent full-length YA novel is Hello Darkness, and he has also had two shorter books for older readers published by Barrington Stoke: Brock and The Fall.

Dave McKean is an English illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. His work incorporates drawing, painting, photography, collage, found objects, digital art and sculpture. He attended Berkshire College of Art and Design from 1982-86 and, before leaving, started working as an illustrator. In 1986 he met author Neil Gaiman with whom he has collaborated on many projects since. Their first book, Violent Cases (1987), has been printed in many editions worldwide, and adapted for the stage. His collection of short stories in comics form, Pictures That Tick released in 2000, won the Victoria and Albert Museum Illustrated Book of the Year Award, and several of McKean’s books are in the V&A collection. Dave has illustrated several children’s books. The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls (NY Times Illustrated Book of the Year), MirrorMask and Crazy Hair, all written by Neil Gaiman. Varjak Paw (Smarties Gold Award), The Outlaw Varjak Paw and Phoenix written by SF Said, and The Savage (Liverpool Reads book of the year), Slog’s Dad, Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf by David Almond.


S C Ransom, Matt Whyman and Ben Aaronovitch

Sue Ransom, the author of Small Blue Thing, Perfectly Reflected, Scattering Like Light, and The Beneath is a senior headhunter, but on the way to work and in the evenings she’s a writer: she wrote Small Blue Thing, her debut novel, as a birthday present for her daughter, and she composed it mostly on her BlackBerry. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Surrey.

Matt Whyman is a bestselling author, also known for his work in providing advice and support for young people. He has written widely for all ages across a range of subjects – in fiction, advice and memoir. His books include Man or Mouse, Columbia Road, Oink! My Life With Minipigs and Walking with Sausage Dogs (Hodder). For young adult readers, he is the award-winning author of titles including Superhuman, Unzipped, Boy Kills Man, The Wild (Hodder), the So Below trilogy, Inside the Cage, Goldstrike (Simon & Schuster), The Savages, American Savage & Bad Apple (Hot Key Books).

Ben Aaronovitch‘s career started with a bang writing for Doctor Who, subsided in the middle and then, as is traditional, a third act resurgence with the bestselling Rivers of London series.
Born and raised in London he says that he’ll leave his home when they prise his city out of his cold dead fingers.


Beverley Naidoo and Alan Gibbons

Beverley Naidoo was exiled from her home country, South Africa, when she was a student in 1965, for campaigning against apartheid. Her first children’s novel, Journey to Jo’burg, was banned in South Africa when it was published in 1985 and only available there after the release of Nelson Mandela from jail in 1991. It was however published in many other countries around the world and widely praised for its eloquent, moving and accessible story. Her later novel, The Other Side of Truth, won the Carnegie Medal in 2000 and she has written many other acclaimed books for children. Beverley lives in the UK.

Alan Gibbons has been writing children’s books for twenty three years. He is the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2000 ‘The book I couldn’t put down’ for his best-selling book Shadow of the Minotaur. He was a judge of the 2001 Awards. He has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2001 and 2003 and twice for the Booktrust Teenage Prize. He has won the Blue Peter Book Award ‘The Book I Couldn’t Put Down’, the Catalyst Award, the Leicester Book of the Year, the Leicester Short Novel of the year, the Angus Book of the Year, the RED Award (twice), the Stockport Book Award, the Birmingham Chills Award, the Salford KS4 Award, the Hackney Short Novel Award, the Salford Librarians’ Special Award and the Lower Canada College Award . His books have been published in Japanese, German, Italian, French, Thai, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Swedish and other languages.


Linda Newbery and Marcus Sedgwick

Linda Newbery has written for young readers of all ages, and is a winner of the Costa Children’s Book Prize, with two shortlistings for the prestigious Carnegie Medal as well as many other nominations. She has recently published her first novel for adults, QUARTER PAST TWO ON A WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages.

Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in East Kent in the south-east of England. He now lives in the French Alps. He is the winner of many prizes, most notably the Michael L. Printz Award for 2014, for his novel Midwinterblood. Marcus has also received two Printz Honors, for Revolver in 2011 and The Ghosts of Heaven in 2016, giving him the most citations to date for America’s most prestigious book prize for writing for young adults. Other notable awards include Floodland, Marcus’ first novel, which won the Branford-Boase Award in 2001, a prize for the best debut novel for children each year, My Swordhand is Singing won the Booktrust Teenage Prize for 2007, and Lunatics and Luck won a Blue Peter Book Award in 2011.
His books have been shortlisted for over forty other awards, including the Carnegie Medal (six times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (twice) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (four times). He has twice been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in 2016 and 2017.