Nadia Shireen: What I got up to while Writer in Residence (and a goodbye music playlist)

Published on: 07 August 2018 Author: Nadia Shireen

Nadia Shireen has done so much as Writer in Residence for BookTrust: whether it's celebrating funny books or helping children to see themselves in stories. She sums up the experience and plays us some (excellent) exit music...

Hello viewers!

I hope you’re having a brilliant summer. Maybe you’re taking a break from floating on a lilo or burying someone up to their neck in sand. I’m currently lying on the floor at BookTrust Towers with all the windows open as it’s very hot indeed. My time as Writer in Residence is almost up – sob!

But before they come back and shout at me for leaving dirty towels all over the place, I thought I’d quickly fill you in on my recent happenings...

More about being Writer in Residence

Over 600 children take centre stage

It’s been a really brilliant few months as Booktrust’s Writer in Residence and I’ll be so sad to leave. Thank you again to absolutely everyone who entered the Me, Myself and I writing competition. One of the highlights of the year was sitting at my kitchen table absolutely *agonising* about how to choose five winning entries from a pile of over 600. They were all fantastic fun, and proof that there are loads of keen writers and readers all over the country. Teachers and parents – thanks for encouraging your young authors. I hope they got a buzz from putting themselves centre stage.

I also had the pleasure of visiting Grimm & Co in Rotherham, a magical apothecary that also happens to be a brilliant children’s literacy centre. Please make the time to visit if you’re in the area. I’m dying to go again. It’s a beautifully designed place staffed by enthusiastic people, who are really keen to get kids interested in reading and writing. It’s affiliated to the equally fabulous Ministry Of Stories in East London, a place I’m proud to be a patron of. With libraries and sure start centres closing all over the shop, these little havens feel increasingly precarious – please support them if you can.

Always say the word "bottom"

When I started my residency, I said I wanted to focus on inclusivity in children publishing, and also the pleasure to be found in funny books. Thank you so much to everyone who shared their best funny lines and drawings with me on Twitter – I can often be found on there moaning about cats, so do pop over and say hello if you like.

I’ll be honest – I had been planning to write a long blog post on "how to make picture books funny", but gave up after I realised it basically boils down to making sure you mention the word “bottom” somewhere. I didn’t know how to spin that out into 500 words, so I’ve included it here instead. Remember, kids: “bottom.”

I'd like to thank...

Ooh, can anyone hear that stirring swell of orchestral music in the distance? I think that means my time is almost up, gang. Its been so much fun. Thanks if you were a parent or little reader who came to see me at a festival over the summer – you’re always so kind and always join in with the animal noises.

I’ve also been lucky to meet loads of teachers and librarians over the last few months. Thank you so much for supporting your young readers. You do such great work. And of course, without you lot, loads of writers like me would be out of a job. PLEASE KEEP ME EMPLOYED. Thanks.

And lastly, I’d like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to absolutely everyone at BookTrust. They are a fantastic organisation who work tirelessly to get books into the hands of every child in the country. BookTrust, I’m not sure what you were thinking when you invited me to become Writer in Residence. But I’ve loved every minute and I hope I can come back and do a guest blog now and then. Please message me every day. Please tell the next person to watch out for the stiff hot water tap in the bathroom. But most of all, please keep being all nice and BookTrusty. I’ll see you soon.


Love Nadia

P.s. I’ve complied a little Billy and the Beast-themed playlist as a token of my appreciation. Indulge me.

P.p.s. OK, I’m really going now. Bye xxx

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