Open up windows to other worlds with new Writer in Residence, Candy Gourlay

Published on: 11 March 2019 Author: Candy Gourlay

Our new Writer in Residence is the award-winning author Candy Gourlay, who wants every child to experience the around-the-world adventures that reading can bring. But first, she's keen to say hello! 

More about our Writer in Residence

Meet Candy Gourlay and watch the video

Read what Candy Gourlay says in the video

Hello, my name is Candy Gourlay and for the next few months, I am going to be BookTrust's Writer in Residence.

So being a Writer in Residence is like being a class pet. We get to do events together and write stories, and videos, and we're going to have a competition too! But I'm not going to tell you about that just now...

Growing up in the Philippines

When I was a little girl growing up in the Philippines, a long, long time ago, my ordinary world was very different from the worlds in my books.

I had a big family: five brothers and sisters. I grew up in Manila, which was hot and sticky, not cold and rainy like England. And I went to an all-girls' school with almost 50 children in each classroom.

Windows to magical worlds

Whenever I read a book, it was like I was walking up to this window and I'd pull the window open and outside that window, I'd see this incredible, magical world.

Sinbad the Sailor! Black Beauty – we didn't see horses like that in the Philippines! Mischief in Fez – with the monsters and the jinns and the magic. The Circus Baby – about a baby elephant learning how to be an elephant.

Universal themes in books

My book Bone Talk is set in a world where people are headhunters. But it asks questions that any ordinary child would want to know. What will I be when I grow up? What if I want something that I'm not allowed to have? Who are my real friends?

My new picture book Is it a Mermaid? is about a funny creature called a dugong. She thinks she's a mermaid! The book is set on an island in the Philippines , but you don't have to live on an island to think about its themes of friendship and empathy.

Keep reading blogs from Candy Gourlay

Well, I'm really looking forward to my time as BookTrust's Writer in Residence and I hope you will join me in opening all those windows to other worlds that we can find between the pages of a book.

Stay up to date with Candy Gourlay


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Writer in Residence

Our current Writer in Residence is Cerrie Burnell, who is writing blogs, running competitions and giving us her unique perspective on the world of children's books.

Find out what she's been up to