Author: Piers Torday

Piers Torday is an award winning and best selling writer for children, whose work has been translated into 14 languages and adapted for the stage. Books include The Last Wild trilogy (Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize), There May Be a Castle and The Lost Magician series (Teach Primary Book Award). Plays include The Box of Delights and Christmas Carol (Wilton’s Music Hall). He co-founded the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for Debut Novelists Over 60 and has been a judge for the Guardian Prize, the British Book Awards and the Costa Book Awards. His latest book is The Wild Before.

I’m joining The Novelry!

I’m thrilled to announce that from this September, I’m joining The Novelry as a writing coach for children’s fiction.

I’ll be offering guidance and advice to aspiring children’s writers, alongside Polly Ho-Yen, at this brilliant online creative writing academy set up by Booker Prize long listed author Louise Dean in 2017.

Other authors joining as coaches at the same time include Rachel Joyce, Lesley Kara, Anna Mazzola and Amanda Reynolds.

To start your writing journey and book your chat with me, sign up here.



The Wind in the Willows on stage!

Poop! Poop! I have been busy in my hole writing a new stage adaptation of a magical children’s classic, perhaps my favourite book as a child and one that has influenced my own writing ever since.

My play, a version of Kenneth Grahame’s much loved The Wind in the Willows, The Wind in the Willows Wilton’s is set in modern London . There will be puppets, songs, a lot of messing about… and just maybe the odd picnic.

It will run from November 24 to December 31 at Wilton’s Music Hall in London, as part of their Autumn/Christmas season.

The festive production is directed by Elizabeth Freestone. It has set and costume design by Tom Piper, original songs by me and Chris Warner, lighting by Zoe Spurr, movement by Emma Brunton and puppets by Sam Wyer.

Please come and join us down on the river – you can buy tickets here.

The Wild Before paperback is out

The paperback edition of  The Wild Before is finally here! It is just as sustainable as its big hardback brother, with vegetable inks and uncoated cover, and all the same story and pictures inside…

And, with a fabulous new review, from The Sunday Times, which chose it as one of their Best Children’s Books of 2022:

“A magical and lyrical adventure”

Signed copies are available from Waterstones.

Sophie Thompson to narrate The Wild Before

I am over the moon to announce that the fabulous Sophie Thompson will be recording The Wild Before!

The unabridged audiobook of The Wild Before will be available as a digital download at £21.99, releasing on 2 December 2021.

I am such an admirer of Sophie’s work on both stage and screen. I can’t wait to hear such an accomplished and versatile actor bring the animals of Dandelion Hill to life – and just in time for Christmas too, what a treat!

Sophie said: “It’s been my pleasure to give Little Hare and his animal friends a voice and to bring their wild community to life. The Wild Before is a critically important story about climate change, friendship and hope for young children and I really hope that families enjoy listening to it together.”

Sophie Thompson is a British actress who has worked in television, film and theatre. A six-time Olivier Award nominee, she won the 1999 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the London revival of Into the Woods. Her film and TV appearances include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Detectorists, Coronation Street and Sex Education. She was also winner of Celebrity Masterchef in 2014.

BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award announced

Today, BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, has presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to the playwright, poet, and children’s writer John Agard. John is the first poet to receive the prestigious award for his outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

John Agard is not just one of our greatest poets and writers for children, but one of our greatest writers period. With every word, every line, he reinvents the form and challenges readers to see the world afresh, whilst always inviting them in at the same time.

For over 40 years, he has championed poetry in schools – sometimes a lonely path – and made us sing and dance with joy along the way. He is a master of his art, a superb communicator and a born storyteller – his contribution to children’s love of literature in this country is immeasurable and this recognition is long overdue.

It was an honour to be one of the judges for the 2021 BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award alongside journalist Nicolette Jones (chairing), CEO of BookTrust Diana Gerald, screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Teaching Fellow at UCL Institute of Education Darren Chetty and Candy Gourlay, award winning author of Tall Story and Shine.


There May Be A Play!

There May Be a Castle

It has been a long journey but well worth the wait – I am so excited that one of my books closest to my heart, There May Be a Castle, has been adapted for the stage by Barb Jungr and Samantha Lane, with music, and puppets by Judith Hope.

I cannot wait to see it, and hope to see you there…

There May Be Castle

Based on the book by Piers Torday

A Little Angel Theatre production

13 November 2021 – 23 January 2022


On a frozen Christmas Eve, a young boy called Mouse Mallory, and his family, set off across the snow-white valley to visit his grandparents. They never arrive.

When Mouse wakes up, he finds himself in a magical landscape, with only a talkative sheep and a very bossy horse for company. So begins Mouse’s extraordinary quest through a world of wonder. A world of monsters, minstrels, dangerous knights and mysterious wizards; a world of terrifying danger but also more excitement than Mouse has ever known.

A remarkable story about love, loss and the power of the imagination, from award-winning writer Piers Torday, is adapted into a musical puppetry production by the creators of Little Angel’s The Smartest Giant in Town and The Pixie and the Pudding.

Praise for the book:

“Original, ingenious and bold … I am still reeling.” – The Sunday Times

“an outstanding book and a future classic” – The School Librarian

There May be a Castle is aimed at ages 7-11.


Based on the book by Piers Torday
Adapted by Barb Jungr and Samantha Lane
Directed by Samantha Lane
Music and lyrics by Barb Jungr
Puppets designed by Judith Hope
Set and costumes designed by Ellie Mills
Lighting designed by Sherry Coenen

Image copyright © Rob Biddulph 2016.

The Child in the Snow

The Child in the Snow
Thrilled to announce that following Christmas Carol, A Sunday Times Best Christmas Show of 2019 and the much-loved The Box of Delights, I am returning to Wilton’s Music Hall this Christmas with another show…
This time, it’s a ghost story! (And I’m afraid not suitable for children under 12…)
Based on ‘The Old Nurse’s Tale’ by Elizabeth Gaskell
26th November to 31st December .
7.30pm Monday – Saturday; Weekly matinees .
£12.50 – £36 full price, £10 – £32 concessions
Previews 27th November – 1st December

Whatever you do, no matter how much he cries, don’t go out in the snow.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s famous seasonal ghost story is brought to the stage for the very first time, in a thrilling, frightening and ultimately uplifting adaptation.

1918. A nurse, recently back from the front, is haunted by her wartime experience. But when she finds herself at a séance, recalling memories of a lonely childhood Christmas on the Northumbrian moors, she also unearths a dark secret that refuses to remain in the shadows…

Spine chilling festive drama in Britain’s oldest surviving grand music hall from the team that brought you The Box of Delights.


Creative Team
Writer – Piers Torday
Director – Justin Audibert
Designer – Tom Piper
Lighting Designer – Jess Bernberg
Composer and Sound Designer – Ed Lewis
Casting Director – Helena Palmer
Magic Consultants – Morgan and West

Response to Wilton’s Christmas Carol
Delightfully surprising and subversive(The Guardian ★★★★)

Fantastic… incredibly well made
(The Sunday Times ★★★★)

A cracking piece of theatre… Wilton’s may have found itself a perennial crowd pleaser.
(What’s on Stage ★★★★★)

And for The Box of Delights
The small enchantments keep coming and the setting is the genuinely magical Wilton’s (The Sunday Times ★★★★)

I suspect this production is destined to become an enduring festive favourite.
(The Evening Standard ★★★★)

Recommended age 12+
This is a ghost story – not suitable to those of a nervous disposition.

British Book Awards 2021 judges announced

Very proud and excited to be announced today as one of the judges of this year’s #Nibbies, or British Book Awards, run by The Bookseller magazine.

I will be judging the Best Book, Children’s Fiction, alongside writer and performer (and so much more) Sir Lenny Henry and bookseller Katie Clapham.

Can’t wait to reveal the book we choose!

You can see a full list of all the judges here