Writer in Residence: Candy Gourlay

Every six months, BookTrust appoints a new Writer in Residence to write blogs, run competitions and give us their own unique perspective on the world of children's books.

Author Candy Gourlay

Our current Writer in Residence is Candy Gourlay, who will explore the theme of books as both windows and mirrors to the world.

Philippines-born and London-based, Candy is well-known for her books Bone Talk, Is It a Mermaid? (illustrated by Francesca Chessa), Shine and Tall Story.

She has been nominated for top industry prizes including the Guardian Children’s Book Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Branford Boase Award.

Candy Gourlay says about her residency at BookTrust:

'I’m incredibly excited to be invited as BookTrust's Writer in Residence! Growing up in the Philippines in uncertain times made me think I would probably never get a chance to see the world. But books proved me wrong.
'Between the covers of books, I travelled all over the world, met the most extraordinary characters and learned that there were more ways to live than I knew. Someone said books are windows and mirrors. Windows because they allow you to look beyond your own experience. Mirrors because they reflect the universality of humanity. Windows and Mirrors – as BookTrust's Writer in Residence, I hope everyone will join in exploring this theme.'

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Previous Writers in Residence

Previous writers to take up the post include Matt Haig, Laura Dockrill, Cressida Cowell, Chris Riddell and Patrick Ness – see what fun things they all got up to during their time in residence.

Find out more

Features from our Writer in Residence


Books by Candy Gourlay

Bone Talk

Author: Candy Gourlay

Samkad is a boy from a remote Filipino "headhunter" tribe called Bontok in the highlands of the Philippines, back in around 1899 – on the brink of invasion by American invaders. A brilliant, exciting and fascinating adventure story.

Read more about Bone Talk

Is it a Mermaid?

Author: Candy Gourlay Illustrator: Francesca Chessa

Bel and Benji meet a friendly dugong, also known as a sea cow, on a tropical beach. This delightful book about friendship, imagination and self-belief includes factual information about these gentle marine mammals, who are sadly at threat of extinction. 

Read more about Is it a Mermaid?


Author: Candy Gourlay

A fascinating and mysterious tale of twins and superstition and separation.

Read more about Shine

Tall Story

Author: Candy Gourlay

Engagingly told in alternate chapters by four-foot, thirteen year-old Andi, in the UK, and her eight-foot, sixteen year-old half brother Bernardo, in the Philippines

Read more about Tall Story

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