Author: piers

Scrooge – as you’ve never seen her before!

God bless us all! My adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is coming to Wilton’s Music Hall in London this festive season…

1838, London. Jacob Marley is dead. And so is Ebenezer Scrooge…

In our story, Ebenezer died young, but his sister Fan married Marley and, as his widow, has now inherited his moneylending business.

She rapidly becomes notorious as the most monstrous miser ever known, a legendary misanthrope, lonely, and despised by all who cross her path.

Seven years later, on Christmas Eve, Fan Scrooge will be haunted by three spirits.

They want her to change. But will she?

This Christmas, rediscover a classic British fairy tale. Refreshed and relevant for the 21st century, this traditional story inspired by the politics of nineteenth century London comes to life in the true Dickensian atmosphere of the world’s oldest surviving music hall, Wilton’s Music Hall.

Brought to you by the team that gave you the sellout The Box of Delights, expect spellbinding magic, haunting music, and petrifying puppets in this triumphant retelling.

The first ever female Scrooge on the English stage.
 

Things are going to be different. Very different…

Stephanie Street is a writer, director and performer. Her most recent acting credits include James Graham’s Quiz, Chichester Festival Theatre and West End, and critically acclaimed performances at the National Theatre in Behind the Beautiful Foreverand Nightwatchman.

Age recommendation: 7+

Creative Team
Writer – Piers Torday
Director – Stephanie Street
Designer – Tom Piper
Lighting Designer – Katharine Williams
Composer and Sound Designer – Ed Lewis
Puppetry Designer – Jo Lakin
Casting Director – Gabrielle Dawes

 

Winner of the FIRST Paul Torday Memorial Prize announced

Congratulations to Anne Youngson, winner of the inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize, for her wonderful book Meet Me At The Museum, and to runner up Norma MacMaster for the haunting Silence Under A Stone.

The inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. Prize fund £1,000 plus a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who himself only published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60.

PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE WINNER:
ANNE YOUNGSON FOR MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM AWARDED £1,00

Anne Youngson, 70, worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. Meet Me at the Museum is her debut novel. Anne lives in Oxfordshire.

Anita Sethi, Paul Torday Memorial Prize Judge says:

I loved this engrossing story of friendship and family – it fascinates both in the form of its excellent use of the epistolary, and in its content as it explores actual human archaeology and the archaeology of the human heart.

PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE RUNNER-UP: NORMA MACMASTER FOR SILENCE UNDER A STONE (DOUBLEDAY IRELAND) Age at publication: 81

Norma MacMaster was born and reared in County Cavan before continuing her studies in Derry, Dublin, Belfast and Montreal. She was a secondary school teacher and counsellor in Ireland and Canada and was ordained a minister of the Church of Ireland in 2004. A contributor to Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio 1, she is the author of a memoir, Over My Shoulder. She and her late husband have one daughter. Norma lives by the sea in North County Dublin and wrote Silence Under A Stone ‘a bit now and a bit then’, typing with two fingers in her attic. It is her first novel. Norma was born in Cavan and lives in Dublin.

Kate Mosse, Paul Torday Memorial Prize Judge says:

A beautiful, subtle, elegant novel! A story of closed communities, of the schisms of religion, of fear, and faith, of anger and being unable to forgive, this is a beautifully written and very moving story.

The awards were given out by Jackie Kay at the The Society of AuthorsAwards Party in Southwark Cathedral, introduced by Philip Pullman, where £100,000 of prize money was given out in total.

Shortlist for inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize

Paul Torday shortlist 2019

The shortlist for the inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize was announced today by The Society of Authors.

It will be awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. Prize fund £1,000 plus a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who himself only published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60. Judged by Mark Lawson, Kate Mosse and Anita Sethi.

  • Sealskin by Su Bristow (Orenda Books)
  • Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn (Sceptre)
  • Silence Under a Stone by Norma MacMaster (Doubleday Ireland)
  • The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson (Two Roads)
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Zaffre)
  • Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson (Doubleday)

Commenting, the Paul Torday Memorial Prize judges said:

This inaugural shortlist vitally reminds us that writing is a job with no mandatory starting date, demonstrated through excellent historical fiction alive with time and period, magical explorations of landscape and love, a devastating story about the hidden consequences of the brutality of wars, and an exploration of the archaeology of the human heart.

The winner will be announced at The Society of Authors Awards Party on Monday 17th June at Southwark Cathedral.

Lost Magician wins Teach Primary Award 2019

Delighted to announce that The Lost Magician has won the Teach Primary Book Award 2019 (KS2)

The runner up was Our Castle by The Sea , by Lucy Strange, and the other shortlisted titles were Unexpected Twist by Michael Rosen, The Whispers by Greg Howard, The Train to Impossible Places by PG Bell and Boy 87 by Ele Fountain.

One of the judges, Dan Freedman, praised the book’s “magical storytelling”

I’m thrilled the book has been honoured amongst such wonderful stories and look forward to more readers, in and outside the classroom, discovering the world of Folio.

Castle is People’s Book Prize finalist!

There May Be A Castle paperback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completely astonished and thrilled to announce that There May Be A Castle is now a finalist for the People’s Book Prize 2018/19.

Thank you to all who have voted and supported the book so far, it means the world, for this story is very personal and dear to me.

If you felt able to continue that support, it would be wonderful. Public voting opens here on the 1st April, and you have until the 30th to vote, and the winner will be announced at a gala ceremony at the Stationer’s Hall on the 8th May.

Fingers crossed!

The Frozen Sea – cover reveal!

I am delighted to reveal the cover and title of the next instalment in The Lost Magician series…

THE FROZEN SEA!

It is 1984 and forty years since Simon, Patricia and Evelyn and Larry first stepped through a magical library door into the enchanted world of Folio. When Patricia’s daughter, Jewel, makes a mysterious discovery in an old bookshop, she begins a quest that will make her question everything she thought she knew. Summoned to Folio, she is sent on a perilous rescue mission, helped only by her pet hamster and a malfunctioning robot.

Their mission to the Frozen Sea will bring them face-to-face with a danger both more deadly and more magnificent than they ever imagined.

What Jewel discovers will change not just who she thinks she is, but who we all think we are…

The book is due to be published on the 5th September 2019 and you can pre-order from Waterstones here

And enter a competition to win a proof giveaway here

Judges announced for inaugural Paul Torday Prize

Mark Lawson, Kate Mosse and Anita Sethi have been confirmed as the judging panel for the first year of the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for debut novelists over 60.

The prize was announced in 2018 by myself and Nick Torday, sons of novelist Paul Torday (1946-2013) with a message for both to the publishing industry and the public that ‘it truly is never too late to follow your dream’ and to show that ‘writing could be a wonderful second career for many more with a life of well-lived experience to call upon’.

Our father’s own successful writing career only began when he entered semi-retirement and in 2006 published his first best-selling novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, at the age of 60.

In a statement on the line-up of judges, I said:

We could not think of a better way to remember our father and his literary legacy than with a prize that honours those who, like him, come to writing later in life.

We are both so thrilled that this highly experienced trio of judges, with such a broad range of critical sensibilities and views between them, are now on board to choose an award winning senior debut, and launch the winner on a whole new career at an age when many others are finishing theirs.

Award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster Anita Sethi said:

I’m delighted to a be a Judge of this important and much-needed prize in its inaugural year, through which we can celebrate that it’s never too late to follow your passion and fulfil your talent – and that sometimes the finest flowers are the latest to bloom.

International best-selling author Kate Mosse said:

I’m delighted to be part of this celebration of older voices.  Storytelling is about the wisdom of years as well as the power of imagination, of character, and I’m hugely looking forward to discovering new voices.

The winner will receive £1,000 plus a set of Paul Torday’s collected works. Runners-up will receive one specially-selected Paul Torday novel with a commemorative book plate.

The inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize will be awarded at the 2019 Society of Authors’ Awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral in June.

About the judges

Mark Lawson

Mark Lawson is a journalist, broadcaster and author. He has published four novels: IdlewildGoing Out LiveEnough Is Enough and The Deaths, and his work as a broadcaster includes BBC Radio 4’s Front RowForeign Bodies – A History of Crime Fiction and BBC4’s Mark Lawson Talks to… He also writes for the Guardian and the New Statesman.

Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse is the author of eight novels & short story collections, three works of non-fiction and four plays. A champion of women’s creativity, she is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction – the largest annual celebration of women’s writing in the world – and sits on the Executive Committee of Women of the World. She was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to literature and women and was named Woman of the Year for her service to the arts in the Everywoman Awards. Her latest No 1 bestseller, The Burning Chambers is out in paperback from 7 March.

Anita Sethi

Anita Sethi is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster who has written for the Guardian, Observer and Sunday Times, among others. She has appeared as a guest panellist and commentator on radio, interviewed leading figures in culture and politics and worked as a columnist, critic and feature writer across the national press, published in anthologies and books including From There to Here, Solstice Shorts, Roads Ahead, and The Book Club Bibleand is currently completing a book.

About Paul Torday

Paul Torday (photograph J C Torday), and reading with his sons, Piers and Nick

Paul Torday (1946 – 2013) was a businessman and author of nine books. His first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, was an immediate international bestseller, later made into a film starring Ewan MacGregor and Emily Blunt. His fiction has been translated into twenty-eight languages and won several awards, including the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.

 

Re-imagining Alice in Wonderland

Curiouser and curiouser…announcing that I have been invited to revisit one of the great children’s books of all time, Alice in Wonderland, by Macmillan – who published the original story.

Joining other authors including Robin Stevens and Swapna Haddow, we have all have written stories based on Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland for Return to Wonderland,  published in June, Peter Bunzl, Pamela Butchart, Maz Evans, Patrice Lawrence, Chris Smith, Lauren St John, Lisa Thompson and Amy Wilson have also contributed and each story re-imagines Wonderland from the viewpoint of one of Carroll’s original characters.

My story is about the Cheshire Cat, and how he got his smile….

Return to Wonderland will be illustrated by Laura Barrett and published in hardback on 27th June, ahead of Alice Day on 4th July.

Alexander Macmillan, co-founder of Macmillan Publishers, met Lewis Carroll in 1863 and published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. He published nine different editions in the subsequent 35 years until his death, including French, German and Italian translations.

8½ reasons to celebrate

This year on Thursday 7 March, the Ministry of Stories – of which I am a proud Trustee – will celebrate 8½ years of existence. We’ll be doing this in our time-honoured fashion of hosting an amazing party, with a delicious banquet, games galore, a notoriously demanding quiz from co-founder Nick Hornby and most importantly of all, a showcase of the inspirational work produced by our young writers.

It’s going to be a great night, and we’d love you to come.

We’d really love you to come.

But, why should you? Well, here are 8½ reasons why:

1. There is only ONE party like it.

No-one else we know celebrates their 8½ birthday, and no-one celebrates a birthday like us. Where else will you see celebrated authors, poets, performers and business leaders gathered together to celebrate and showcase the imaginative genius of the next generation – our children.

2. If you get TWO questions right, you’re doing well.

Call yourself a quizzer? Fancy yourself a trivia buff? You have not been tested until you have faced a Nick Hornby quiz. Beat my record of two correct answers and I’ll buy your table an extra bottle.

3. I’ve been THREE times.

The first time changed my life. It was so inspiring, I decided to get involved with the Ministry as a Trustee. Will it change your life?

4. It’s just FOUR hours of your life.

But your generosity could help us deliver over 4000 hours of volunteer mentoring support, and over 40 speeches by children to Members of Parliament in the House of Commons!

5. One in FIVE parents in London struggle with literacy and are not able to read confidently with their children.

We can help them. YOU can help them. By coming to our party.

6. There are at least SIX very scary monsters who rely on us for their regular supply of dragon treats, earwax and petrified mice from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

And trust me, you don’t want to upset them.

7. If you can’t make it, why not send us a present instead.

Just SEVEN pounds a month could support a young person struggling to find writing inspiration to become a published author – donate here.

8. If you can make it, why not take a VIP table of EIGHT guests?

You get 8 of the best seats in the house, special thanks in event programme, our limited edition 8 ½ birthday poetry anthology, AND 3 quiz cheats!

½. You’ve got a half a chance here to make a real difference in this world.

So, will you?

Find out more and buy your tickets here.