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PAM ROYDS 1924 - 2016

Pam Royds on Grasmere , 1971 with Sally Christie, children’s author and daughter of Philippa Pearce. I was just twenty two when I fir...

About Me

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My blog is about writing and illustrating children's books which I have been doing since 1974. www.gillianmcclure.com has all my books. I also have another blog: www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com where I publish my father's poems.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


While over in California for my son's wedding, I came across two great bookshops:
The Storyteller - a  large children's bookshop in a small Californian town, Lafayette, where the bookseller was very friendly, breaking off what she was doing to take time to chat with me. I noticed the picture books she stocked were exclusively quality hardbacks.

And City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco which was founded in 1953 by the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and is a publishing house as well as bookstore. You can browse for hours in the nooks and crannies of its old rambling premises and sense the presence of great writers; their names are on the posters of past signings hanging on the walls and their words spring up at you from the paving stones outside in Kerouac Alley.

Cambridge would benefit from something like this where Town meets Gown.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


John Rowe Townsend seen here with his wife Jill Paton Walsh threw a big party for friends in Cambridge this week to celebrate his 90th birthday. In the photo, John was about to tell us all about his life going back to his wartime years. I was interested in the late 1950s when John was working as a journalist on the Manchester Guardian. While reviewing children's books, he saw how privileged and middle class the main characters were and decided to change all that by writing for children himself; stories like Gumbles Yard where there wasn't much privilege. It was all quite revolutionary at the time.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Writing with a pen will soon be a thing of the past. No longer will we be able to look at peoples' handwriting to learn something of their character from the curl, pressure and incline of the strokes.
This all dawned on me last week in my final RLF term at Essex University when a student asked my advice on how to prepare for his exams. What was troubling him the most was the thought of having to write the essays by hand. Only ever having used a keyboard, he said he couldn’t hold a pen for three hours without getting hand cramps.
I suggested he got hold of some of those small metal exercise balls – a traditional Chinese product dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) when they must have been holding their quills for considerable lengths of time.