A novel experience for Falkirk and Ayrshire teens

Press release - 28th October 2014

Schoolchildren in Falkirk and South & East Ayrshire will be preparing to welcome YA author Phil Earle for a lesson in storytelling this November as part of the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. Phil will be discussing the inspiration and the craft behind his novels with 1537 teen pupils as he visits 12 schools in the area.

Having spent most of his childhood in Hull doing anything but reading books, Phil discovered his love of children’s novels after being moved unexpectedly to the children’s department at Ottakar’s bookseller. He had previously spent time as a care worker in a residential children’s home, then trained to be a drama therapist to work with young people in a therapeutic unit in South London. It was from these experiences of working with damaged young people that Phil drew his inspiration for his first novel, Being Billy (winner of the 2012 WeRead Book Award and nominated for the Carnegie medal).

Phil has covered a range of difficult subjects in his novels, including self-harm, abuse and abandonment in Saving Daisy (shortlisted for both the 2013 Leeds and Hounslow Book Awards) and brotherly love in Heroic (shortlisted for Booktrust’s The Best Book Awards 2014). Phil’s most recent novel is titled The Bubble Wrap Boy and four more are on their way, starting with Demolition Dad, set to be published in summer 2015.

Phil’s novels tap successfully into themes of great importance to his teenage readers: issues of belonging; coming of age; being part of a family. His characters are not the typical literary heroes and the protagonist is often the underdog. They are bound to capture the hearts and imaginations of even the most reluctant readers.

Commenting on his upcoming tour, Phil said:
"I can't think of anything better than touring with Scottish Book Trust. Their passion for taking stories to thousands of students every year is legendary. I can't wait to be a small part of their tremendous outreach work."

Calum Bennie, Communications Manager at Scottish Friendly, sponsors of the tour, said:
"Pupils in Falkirk and Ayrshire are in for a treat when Phil comes to town! His novels, about teenagers whose lives are more challenging than perhaps those of many of his readers, are not only engaging stories, they help young readers build a more rounded understanding of the world around them."

Beth Bottery, Schools Events Manager at Scottish Book Trust, which is organising the tour, added:
"Phil’s novels tackle themes that resonate strongly with young people - of belonging, forming identity and overcoming life’s challenges. I’m sure he’ll show even the most reluctant readers how books can be meaningful to them."

The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour is run by Scottish Book Trust, Scotland’s leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing and is sponsored by Scottish Friendly, Scotland’s largest mutual with over 150 years of experience. The main aim of the Tour is to encourage children’s love of literature through inspirational author visits, which bring their books to life.


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