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Caroline Pitcher

How many books have you had published?
Amazon lists 76, but some of these are new editions, and some are out of print!

Did you write for fun when you were at school?
Always

Have you always earned your living as a writer? If not, what else have you done/do you still do?
I worked in an art gallery and a factory after leaving university, and then taught in Tower Hamlets. I work as writer-in-residence, give talks and run workshops for children and adults too.

When was your first book published and what was it called?
Diamond in 1987

Was it difficult to get your first book published?
No - I was lucky. It won the Kathleen Fidler award, which guaranteed publication.

Which is your favourite of your own books and why?
The ones I'm writing at the moment, because I'm still finding out about them.

Which is your favourite children's book written by someone else?
Probably Berlie Doherty's White Peak Farm or Dear Nobody.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I write different sorts of books over the same period of time.
A young adult novel takes a year.

Do you use a computer or write first drafts long hand?
I start off longhand, then onto a computer, as I can't read my handwriting.

Do you have a writing routine or do you just write when you feel like it?
I write every day, for as long as I can. I think I write best in the mornings and early evenings.

Rewriting - do you love it or hate it?
Love it.

Have you ever belonged to a writers' group? If so, did it help?
I have many friends who are also writers, but I don’t like to talk much about a book until it is hatched.

Do you have an agent?
Yes

Why do you like writing for children?
Writing for me is a celebration.
People of any age can enjoy a good children’s book.
I love the intense response of children, of the newness of their experience, not stock-response.

How do you get your ideas?
I have ideas for stories all the time.They form a disorderly queue, and wake me usually at about 3.30 am.


Do you draw the pictures for your books? If so, which comes first - the words or the pictures.
No! I am hopeless at drawing.

The stories come first, and I am delighted by the wonderful illustrations that result. I’ve written stories for Sophy Williams, Cliff Wright, Jane Chapman and five for Jackie Morris. We feed each other's imaginations.

What advice would you offer anyone who wants to write for children?
Write the story you want to write, as well as you possibly can. Read it out loud.
If you don't love writing it, I doubt anyone will love reading it.

Are you willing to do author visits to schools?
Yes at Society of Authors rates.
I prefer local schools ( I live in Derbyshire) although I enjoy ‘doing’ the Northern Children’s Book Festival. Schools can contact me at

Have you won any awards or prizes?
Yes, I won the Kathleen Fidler Award, Independent Story of the Year for Kevin the Blueand the Arts Council Writer’s Award for Silkscreen. I have had books shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award, the Portsmouth Award and the English Association Picture Book Award, and longlisted for Greenaway and Carnegie. I was given an East Midlands Writer’s Award for the first book of my quartet.

For a list of Caroline Pitcher's books in print visit her website at www.CarolinePitcher.co.uk

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