Doctor Who

Back in August, I filmed a small role in the New Year's Day special of Doctor Who. I played a character called Zak who *spoiler* doesn't last long against a Dalek.

It was such a brilliant experience, as I'm a fan of the show anyway. I got to hang out with Jodie, Bradley, Mandip, Tosin, Charlotte, Nikesh, and Daniel - the principal cast for the episode, and even gave them copies of my book, The Almost Animals.

Great way to start the New Year.

Writing in, writing out, writing shake it all about...(and Toppsta Giveaway)

I have my desk set up just how I like it. I built it into a just-big-enough alcove in my rented Georgian flat in Bath (what to do with it when I move out will very much be a bridge to cross at the time). Upon it: my MacBook (with an additional screen), an antique copper lamp, my notebook in which I have been writing the story, and another - smaller - notebook with my notes. My phone is normally hanging around there too, quite distractingly. I like there to be plenty of bare space on my desk. Perhaps it helps my mind focus. Maybe it's more comfortable on my arms. It's probably just because it looks better.

Having said all that, I can't write there all the time. I like to write in different places. Coffee shops (*cliché acknowledgment*), of which there are many good ones in Bath (Colonna & Smalls is a particular favourite), pubs, and of course, the Bath Central Library (which I think the council are wanting to move to a less prominent location - which they shouldn't!) In warmer months, Henrietta Gardens, Victoria Park, or any of the other beautiful outdoor spaces around the city are lovely settings for getting some words on the page. It's in these cold, dark times of winter that it is all too tempting to wear comfy clothes ('slouchies' in my personal vernacular), and stay in my flat, at my desk. I'll be honest, I do succumb to that temptation frequently. However - and I'm sure most writers will agree with me here - it really does help productivity to get out there into the world. To force yourself to wrap up in waterproof layers and venture out to the coffee shop, or pub, or library, with the trudge of someone who is on a mission, even if they'd rather not be. If you do stay in, you must promise yourself to be as disciplined as you would be if you were out. I've learnt, and am still learning, that.

Anyway, it's slightly drizzly out, so I'm in my slouchies, sitting at my desk, drinking a free cup of tea that I made myself.


The lovely people at Toppsta are running a giveaway for a copy of  The Almost Animals.

A little about Toppsta, in their own words:

Toppsta aims to solve this problem for children aged from 0 to 14. Whether you’re a busy parent, a generous grandparent or a baffled auntie, we want to become THE place where children and parents recommend the very best books to each other

Fantastic Beasts

I loved seeing the next chapter in the Fantastic Beasts series, and it reminded me of the amazing times I had as an Auror in the first film, and watching that first film in the cinema with my fellow Aurors. I am a huge fan of JK Rowling's Wizarding World (obsessed is probably the correct word), so it was a wonderful experience to play a wand-wielding wizard - even if most of our scenes ended up on the cutting room floor!

Darley Anderson's #DACBaccess

Through November, DA are running an open month for BAME writers and illustrators to receive feedback from the agents and partnering authors. The agency decided to run this month after the CLPE's Reflecting Realities report, which showed that only 1% of books published in 2017 featured a non-white protagonist. Having an open month will hopefully encourage underrepresented writers and illustrators to submit their material.

What a brilliant idea, and I hope they receive loads of truly amazing entries.

DA Blog - Why We're Launching the #DACBaccess

Why Polly Ho-Yen is supporting #DACBaccess


New website, now with added blog

Well, my new website is now up and running after a much needed overhaul. I decided to add this blog/news section, just to throw in updates about me, my work, my life, and anything else that for some reason falls outside those categories.

I've also added some backdated entries, just know...get the ball rolling.

Thanks all, and keep on truckin'.


Shakespeare Masterclass with Mark McGann

I spent last Saturday with the marvellous Mark McGann, and a small group of actors. It was wonderfully enjoyable and instructive. Mark is extremely knowledgable and talented, as well as being unfailingly enthusiastic. I had been given Macbeth's final soliloquy to prepare. I must admit, Macbeth is one of the plays from which I turned away after being taught about it very poorly in English lessons, but it was rewarding to return to it after all these years.

In a stroke of luck, the workshop was held at the beautiful Holburne Museum, which is about a five minute walk from my flat.


Interviewed by DJ Forrest

I was interviewed by DJ Forrest over at Project: Torchwood about my (brief) appearance in the first series of Torchwood way back in 2006.

Interview with Hugh Holman

Oh gosh 😳 - "Hugh Holman wows at Edinburgh International Book Fair with The Almost Animals"

From the Strident blog:


WP_20160830_11_38_08_Pro"It wasn’t easy getting close enough to grab a photo of Hugh Holman at Edinburgh International Book Festival today. There were so many pupils carrying pictures of their own made-up aminals (mixed-up animals) that he was much in demand, with lots of signing of The Almost Animals being done.

A big hello to St Cuthbert’s and Fox Covert Primary Schools, just two of those in the excited audience.

Teachers are invariably up against time pressures at the festival. So if anyone wanted a signed book but wasn’t able to get one, let us know and we will do our best to sort something out. Alternatively, you can order direct from our distributors here."





By Keith Charters - Strident Article

Edinburgh International Book Fair

I was lucky enough to be invited to present at the Edinburgh International Book Fair. It is a massive and wonderful festival that runs at the same time as the Fringe and other events that comprise the Edinburgh Festival.

My first presentation was part of the wonderful and important BOOKED! programme, which sends authors to other cities so that under-privileged children who might not be able to visit Edinburgh can get involved. I went up to Aberdeen, and had a brilliant time. I hope the kids did too!

It was on the packed train up to Aberdeen that I found myself eventually sitting next to Ross Montgomery, whom I knew to be talking at the festival as well. He is a lovely chap and has written some amazing books. Check out his website. I dare you not to be charmed. (@mossmontmomery)

Marvellously, I found that I could spot seals from the train back down from Aberdeen.

Back in Edinburgh, I was able to see my good friend William Seaward (@willseaward) and his hilarious one-man show, before my presentation the next morning.

The children were amazing - how do they always come up with such unique and surprising questions! Anyway, the whole trip was fantastic, and so was my t-shirt.

South East Asia Travels!

We spent a few months travelling around South East Asia. We flew to Bangkok (via Dubai), an then made our way from Thailand, through Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysian Borneo, Indonesia, then up to the Malaysian Archipelago, to fly home from Kuala Lumpur.

I kept a micro-journal of our trip, so friends and family could follow our journey. It is still available to view here - TrackMyTour

What a wonderful adventure! At some point I will sort through the 10,000+ photos we took.