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Annie As A Child  Annie In Her 20s  Annie Dalton

 

There are all kinds of reasons to want to become a writer but I suspect that most writers start writing out of sheer gratitude to other writers.  

I grew up as a lonely only child in the Suffolk countryside. After my father left my mother and I for good I missed him and I missed the stories he invented for me. This insatiable longing for stories eventually drove me to the children’s section of the village library that had once been an old forge.  In that intimate little library where generations of blacksmiths had hammered red-hot iron shoes on to patient plough-horses, I found stories of magical wardrobes, talking phoenixes and travels through time, also a book called The Railway Children about children whose mother supported them by writing and selling stories when their father was wrongly sent to jail for being a spy.  I had found the writers who were to save – and change - my life.

Now that I had my precious library ticket I became a complete book addict. I once almost got run over because I couldn’t wait to get home before I started reading! My favourite reading position was upside down with my feet in the air and my head dangling down off my mum’s Parker Knoll armchair.  But that small village library didn’t just make me a reader.  It turned me into a future writer. I grew up dreaming of one day writing a book that might comfort or help someone the way I had been helped by the writers I’d discovered in my library.

 I did various jobs, went to university, married, brought up three children and all the time my writing dream was pushing and tugging. One day it dawned on me that just dreaming wasn’t enough.  I realized that if I genuinely wanted to write I should sit down at my kitchen table, start writing and stick at it until I had a story that someone somewhere might one day want to read.  

Over twenty years later I am still writing. Night Maze, my second novel for teens was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and The Real Tilly Beany, written for younger readers, was commended for the Carnegie. The Afterdark Princess won the Nottingham Oak Children’s Book award and Friday Forever won the Portsmouth Children’s book award. The Italian translation of Friday Forever won the Verghereto 100 Ragazzi Book Award.

I’ve worked in schools, libraries and travelled around rural Scotland with the famous Book Bus funded by the Scottish Book Trust. I spent three years working in one of HM’s prisons as part of the Arts Council’s Writers in Prisons scheme and spent three months on the island of Jamaica on an East Midlands Arts exchange called Island Voices

I now live in Norfolk in a cottage with a ruined castle almost at the bottom of my garden. I have three children, two grandchildren, three cats and a dog called Riley.

PS. I no longer read upside down!


Riley

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