Keynote Speakers

What an extraordinary line up we have for you at #RR_North! We have three wonderful authors, each with some great north east links. So, in no particular order….

Dan Smith – The Importance of Reading for Pleasure

Growing up, Dan led three lives. In one he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the paddy fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say he still lives most of the time.

Ross Welford

Ross Welford was a magazine journalist and television producer in the UK before becoming an author. He lives in London with his young family, a border collie, a hamster, and several tropical fish. Time Travelling With A Hamster is his first book, and won the Awesome Book Award in 2017.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Ross Welford was nearing 50 and needed a new job. His twins were about to start secondary school and his so-called career as a TV producer was drying up. Everyone told him he should write a book.

He says: “I was completely ignorant of the book market, other than as a consumer. What I knew could comfortably fit on the back of a Waterstone’s receipt. In hindsight, that was probably a good thing.”

In his talk, Ross will attempt to answer the question that follows every writer wherever they go: Where do you get your ideas from?

Ross tells how, having never written fiction before, he came to write the bestselling debut children’s book of 2016, Time Travelling With A Hamster and followed it up with the hugely popular What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible and The 1,000 Year Old Boy. Another book is scheduled for January 2019.

Piers Torday Writing For Pleasure

Piers Torday began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. The sequel, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Other books include The Wild Beyond and The Death of an Owl (with Paul Torday.) His adaptation of John Masefield’s The Box of Delights opened at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2017. He lives in London with his husband and a very naughty dog.


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