Up-to-date news from the author
Saturday 28th March 2020
The following article was written recently by North East journalist, Clare Madden:
Yorkshire-born author Frank English began his professional life in education as a teacher, but has always been an accomplished writer and story-teller. He describes his books for children - the Magic Parcel Trilogy and the animal-based Mulberry Road series - as inspirational fantasies. He has also written adult material (more of which below).
His writing currently embraces three separate strands.
The first strand is the adult books, including his semi autobiographical 'Jack' series of 6 volumes. This follows the hero, Jack, from his boyhood in the coalfields of Yorkshire's West Riding to the pressures and conflicts of maturity.
The second (also for adults) is a new fictional direction: a historical novel about a family of farmers set in the Victorian North Riding, to be available towards the end of the year.
The third strand is his work for children. One aspect of this - the creative potential of creative writing with children - began as an interesting idea, and now has its own trajectory.
Dr English was intrigued by the breadth of imagination he found during his many voluntary writing workshops in schools throughout the north of England, following his retirement from the classroom after 40 years. Inspired by this, he initiated a collaborative writing project with an 11-year-old "apprentice writer" called Natalie Fothergill, from England's North East, featuring minor but impressive characters from his Mulberry Road series of 5 books. In what was to be the template for following collaborations, ideas about storylines and characterisation were exchanged via email with involvement and support from parents. Through discussion and revision led by Dr English, the narrative was crafted and their book, 'Juniper's Tale', was published later in 2018.
Two further initiatives with young apprentice writers followed: 'Honey' (2019) with Honey Gott from Brookhouse in Lancaster, and 'The Story of Lemuel Pecker' (2019) with Amy Elliott from Normanton, West Yorkshire (Dr English's hometown).
The next collaboration took things to a different level, as Dr English was invited to work with twelve Year 6 writers at a primary school local to where he lives. The youngsters grew both in creativity and confidence, and produced 'Josephine's Journey' (2019).
The school - St Luke's CE Primary School in Skerton,Lancaster - has invited the author back to work with the next Year 6 cohort (2019/20), but this time, to work with a complete class of 30 pupils creating a book together. An exhilarating and exciting challenge, the completed work - called 'Garnett's Grand Getaway' - is to be published and launched before the end of the summer term 2020.
Other collaborations with young apprentice writers include 'Holly's Prize' written with 3 youngsters from Normanton which is to be launched very soon.
Of great interest to the American market, is the work with a young apprentice writer in Santa Rosa, USA. She is a young lady of 12 called Sara Donovan, and the story is entitled 'Sara's Astonishing Story'. This draws on North American folklore and legend, and interweaves characters such as Paul Bunyan, the legendary giant lumberjack, and Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, the Bristol-born pirate who settled eventually in Ocracoke, North Carolina, and is set in the Californian south west with recognisable places and landmarks that will appeal to locals.
"There is joy and connection with the children as they talk through their ideas and writing, refining both as they become more confident," Dr English said.
Friday 6th March 2020
The Yorkshire Tea and home-made cake launch for "Carry On Jack" went extremely well at Normanton Library on Saturday 29th February. All my old faithfuls were there and those that couldn't make it because of weather or prior commitments have ordered through my website since.
The similar comments as last time were very much in evidence - "When will Book 7 be out?"