Category Archives: News

Oxford

Hello from the Oxford Litfest, where I’ve been spending the whole week interviewing authors, attending lectures and working on the last bit (I hope!) of THE GOSPEL OF LOKI 2. The other day I interviewed Eleanor Barraclough, historian, adventurer and author of BEYOND THE NORTHLANDS (here we are, talking about Vikings, Victorian sex toys, what it’s like to be knighted with a walrus penis bone, and generally I suspect having more fun than Serious Authors are supposed to).


 

 

 

 

The band and I also got to play in Worcester College’s lovely new lecture theatre. In Leeds, people were showing us their #Storytime tattoos: in Oxford we were introduced by a lady in evening dress and pearls – and yet in both cases it’s great to see how much these stories mean to you, and how well you relate to them. We’ll be doing some more gigs in May – watch the Events board for details. Meanwhile, here’s Kevin, looking deceptively relaxed for what was a pretty hectic night…

#Storytime in March

#Storytime at King’s Place, August, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring is in the air, and the band and I are continuing to write songs to go with the HONEYCOMB book, and building the live #Storytime show. These are the gigs we’ll be doing next month (click onto the link for details of where and how to book). We’ll be airing some new material, too, as well as some older favourites…

March 16th in York

March 22, Leeds Beckett University

March 25, Oxford

DIFFERENT CLASS, Paperback launch, February 9th, 2017

Dear Reader,

Different Class by Joanne Harris

Remember the scent of your old school? That blend of chalk dust, and mown grass, and polish, and cabbage, and teenage sweat? Remember on your first day, checking out the teachers, the other pupils; the classrooms? Remember how it seemed as if you’d never get used to the size of it, or the amount of homework, or the maze of corridors? Perhaps you were bullied. Perhaps you were shy. Perhaps you didn’t quite fit in. If so, you’ll know just what I’m talking about. Even murderers have to start somewhere.

In a previous life, before Chocolat, I taught French at a boys’ independent grammar school. I was there for fifteen years, and during that time, I collected enough stories to write a hundred books. A school is a stage on which tragedy and farce are never more than a moment away: a place in which every day, young lives are shaped, secrets shared, dramas enacted. And sometimes there’s something darker – unformed as yet, but waiting to grow.

Different Class is the third of a series of novels set in the fictional Northern town of Malbry. It follows on directly from Gentlemen and Players, revisiting St Oswald’s Grammar School (and most of the characters therein) a year after a series of distressing events, which culminated in murder. In narrative terms, it also precedes Blueeyedboy, which is set in the area around the school, and it features some of the main characters. So technically, this is a trilogy (I’ve always rather liked trilogies) although each story stands alone, and the books can be read in any order.

St Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys has been through some rough times over the past year. The murder of a schoolboy; the loss of the Head and several key members of staff, coupled with a disastrous set of exam results, have brought the place to the brink of ruin. Only a Crisis Intervention – designed to salvage failing schools – can save it now, which is why Roy Straitley, the eccentric Latin Master and main protagonist of Gentlemen and Players, is (not quite reluctantly) delaying his retirement for one more year. But a trendy new Head, a Crisis Team, a paper-free environment and a prospective merger with Mulberry House, St Oswald’s all-female counterpart, is only the start of a wave of change that promises to engulf him.

And when the Head turns out to be an ex-pupil of Straitley’s, the boy at the heart of a scandal that ended with a St Oswald’s master in jail, can Straitley’s loyalty survive, or, as he discovers the truth, will he find himself faced with the task of destroying the school he loves?

Read more about it here!

 

RUNEMARKS blog tour!

The new edition of RUNEMARKS, re-edited and with a new introduction, with cover art by the same marvellous Andreas Preis who designed the jacket for THE GOSPEL OF LOKI…

Artwork by Andreas Preis: publisher: Gollancz.

Artwork by Andreas Preis: publisher: Gollancz.

Blog tour dates: (each blog will be running extracts from the book, and lots of other things, too…)

parmenionbooks.wordpress.com 21-Nov

ifthesebookscouldtalk.com 22-Nov

bookslifeandeverything.blogspot.co.uk23-Nov

fromfirstpagetolast.wordpress.com 24-Nov

aliterarypotion.wordpress.com 25-Nov

chouett.com 26-Nov

ebookwyrm.blogspot.com 27-Nov

ourfirstyearhere.wordpress.com 28-Nov

bookmagpie.uk 29-Nov

nutpress.co.uk 30-Nov

theninjabookswap.blogspot.com 01-Dec

teenlibrarian.co.uk 02-Dec

bookaholicbabe.co.uk 03-Dec

Coming 21st April…

Click on the picture for Q & A, background and advance info on DIFFERENT CLASS.

Click here for advance reviews.

Click here for signings, readings and festivals.

Click  here for Radio 3’s In Tune podcast, with interview and reading from the book.

Click here for the Radio 4 interview with Jim Naughtie.

Click here for an interview with Joanne (Swindon Litfest, 2016).

Click here for BBC TV Meet The Author with Jim Naughtie.

Click here for Barry Forshaw’s review for the Independent.

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Grimm & Co

Grimm & Co is a terrific new literacy project in Rotherham, of which I’m delighted to be a patron. (Visit their website here)

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On a street corner in Rotherham, a rather beautiful old pub has been converted into a magical apothecary’s shop, selling all kinds of wonderful artefacts, phials and potions, from Extract of Genius to Tinned Beard, Goblin Mucus, wands of all different kinds, Knight Peelers, Middle-Aged Vitriol and giant feather dusters for cleaning giants’ bellybuttons.

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But Grimm & Co isn’t just an ordinary magical apothecary. Sponsored by the Ministry of Stories, it’s also a story workshop, accessible via a hidden door in the back of the shop. Here, children of all backgrounds enter the Imagination Gym, then climb up the secret Story Stairs to the top floor, where all the resources of Grimm & Co are available to them. Here there are costumes and characters; storytelling workshops; everything a young person needs to help them unleash their own magic.

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Sometimes visiting authors come to answer questions, read stories (and avail themselves of the apothecary’s magical supplies).

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Sometimes groups of schoolchildren come in with their teachers, to collaborate in writing their own little books, printed and illustrated for them to take home and show their parents.

Even the exit is magical…
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Best of all, this is a charity, run by volunteers of all kinds to help improve literacy, engage young imaginations and explore the countless possibilities of reading and writing stories. And you can help; either by visiting the shop (all money from the magical supplies goes straight into the charity), or by volunteering (I’ve done it: it’s fun!) or by donating (learn more here).

Language helps us communicate with the people around us. But literacy gives us the means to communicate with the whole world, to travel in time, and to learn from the greatest minds the world has known – which is why Grimm & Co and their counterparts are performing the greatest magic of all: bringing the gift of literacy, helping our children to save the world, one story at a time.

#Storytime in Huddersfield

Many, many thanks to everyone who came to Bradford’s #Storytime: you were great, and we all appreciated your warm welcome. Thanks also to Martin from Blackwell’s, who kindly supplied the books, and who organized everything so beautifully.

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If you missed it (or if you’d like to come again!), the next #Storytime is at The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on March 4th. Tickets are still available: to order one, click here…
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