Category: Events

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.


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.

Shrewsbury Book Fest: Announcement

I am completely honoured and delighted to have been asked by Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest to become one of their Patrons, alongside Martin Brown and Ian Whybrow, with the mighty Jacqueline Wilson as President.

I was first fortunate enough to encounter their work, in 2014, when The Last Wild was shortlisted for their Bookfest Award in 2014, and was struck by how inclusive, creative and child-led their work was. They invited children to choose their favourite books, to create art, poems, dramas and films about them, as well as responding critically, and go away beyond the brief of many regional books awards and festivals. The breadth and depth of their work across their community is inspirational.

The Trustees of the Festival said “Together with Piers on board as Patron, Shrewsbury Bookfest is looking forward to a new and exciting phase in the coming months and years, as its projects with schools and families across Shropshire evolve and grow.”