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Michelle Harrison Michelle Harrison

This competition is now closed and the results will be published soon!

In the age 8-10 category:

Oi, by Sheeryn Tan, age 10, England

By Joanna Kollia, age 9, Greece

Fliss by Joanna Kollia, age 9, Greece

Charlie by Joanna Kollia, age 9, Greece

Betty by Amelia Scally, age 9, Australia

Willow by Mae Radford, age 9, England

Charlie by Charlotte Vine, age 9, England

Willow by Phoebe Aldridge, age 10, Scotland

Fliss by Phoebe Aldridge, age 10, Scotland

Charlie  by Maia Bartram, age 10, England

Betty by Maia Bartram, age 10, England

Fliss by Maia Bartram, age 10, England

Hoppit, by Bethany Jordan, age 10, England

Ronia by Lizzie Holbourn, age 10, England

Betty by Lizzie Holbourn, age 10, England

Granny by May Rands, age 8, England

Fliss by Autumn Munro, age 10, England

Betty by Quinn Munro, age 8, England

 

Charlie, by Amber Watterson, age 10, England

 

Charlie & Hoppit, by Lucy Young, age 9, Australia

 

Oi, by Lucy Young, age 9, Australia

 

In the age 11-13 category:

Granny, Willow and Charlie, by Anya MacDonald, age 11, England

Betty by Jessie Gates, age 12, Australia

Granny by Jessie Gates, age 12, Australia

Fingerty by Jessie Gates, age 12, Australia

Sorsha by Edie Hodgson, age 11, England

Granny by Leuan Jones, age 11, England

Bunny, by Rebecca Frank, age 11, England

Betty, by Emily Del Carmen McLean Palmeros, age 11, England

Betty, by Nour Elshirazy, age 13, England

 

In the age 14-16 category:

By Sam Byrne, age 14, England

Betty by Olympia Kollia, age 15, Greece

Charlie by Olympia Kollia, age 15, Greece

Fliss by Olympia Kollia, age 15, Greece

Betty, by Daisy Annandale, age 16, England

Charlie and Hoppit, by Poppy Annandale, age 16, England

Charlie & Oi, by Malak Elshirazy, age 15, England

 

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all keeping safe in this strange new world we find ourselves in since coronavirus hit the headlines. I’m wondering when – and if – things will ever get back to normal. It doesn’t feel like it right now, does it? I’m getting a taste of what it’s like being trapped in one place, just like the Widdershins sisters. I’ve got quite a lot to put into this blog, so I’ll keep it brief.

Things to do

The following ideas may help pass some time and are either low cost or free:

Widdershins quiz – how well do you know Betty, Fliss and Charlie?

Draw a map to the secret island in A Sprinkle of Sorcery.

Listen to A Pinch of Magic on audiobook completely FREE on the World Book Day website.

• If you’re a member of a library you can also get A Pinch of Magic and A Sprinkle of Sorcery on the BorrowBox app as audiobook downloads or ebooks, completely free.

Bake some gingerbread! TIP: this dough freezes really well, so you can divide it into 3-4 balls to wrap in clingfilm and put in the freezer. Take it out the night before you want to use it and let it defrost in the fridge. This cuts down on mess and time, and keeps you in a steady supply of fresh gingerbread. WIN!

• Enter some competitions – see below!

 

News

I’m thrilled to say there’s going to be a THIRD book in the Widdershins Adventures! This is due to publish in the UK in February 2021, and here is the title. What do you think?

 

Competitions

To help keep you busy, I’ve been thinking up two exciting competitions for you while we’re on lockdown.

Competition 1: Draw a character from the Widdershins books (CLOSED)

This could be Betty, Fliss, Charlie or anyone who features in the stories. Don’t forget Granny, Colton, Sorsha, Prue, Spit, Ronia, the Winking Witch . . . or even Oi and Hoppit.

Rules

• You can use any medium, eg. pencil, pen & ink, paint, collage, digital artwork (but not photography or 3D artwork).

• You must not copy any existing artwork of the characters from on or inside the books. You may look at these for inspiration, but your entry must be your own original creation.

• You may send up to three entries for this competition, but you can only win or come runner up once.

All art work entries will be displayed in a separate blog gallery on my website along with the entrant’s name and age. They will be added in the order they arrive.

• The competition is open worldwide to anyone aged between 8 – 16. Winners will be chosen in the following age categories: 8-10, 11-13, 14-16.

• The decision of the judge (Michelle Harrison) is final, and no discussion will be entered into.

• Finally, please do not email me asking for character descriptions. That is for you to figure out, and I want to see how you imagine them! If you don’t have a copy of the book to hand, you can currently listen to the audiobook free here if you need to jog your memory.

The Prize

One winner in each category will receive this fabulous pencil case by Chase and Wonder (I have the same one) plus a signed dedicated book of their choice. Runners up will receive a signed, dedicated book of their choice.

Tips

• Most artists cannot draw things right out of their head. They have to look at an object or person in real life, or in photographs, to see how that thing really appears and bring it to life in a convincing way. For example, if you were drawing a fairy you could study the wings of butterflies, birds and insects. This is called using reference. Perhaps you have a friend or sister who would make a great Betty, a cat like Oi, or an uncle who resembles Fingerty?

• Don’t forget the background. Props such as the magical objects, or settings like the prison can make your picture even more exciting, if you want to. If you’ve chosen Charlie, perhaps Hoppit appears too.

To enter

Email your picture as a jpeg or png file to mh@michelleharrisonbooks.com along with your full name, age and address. (Your address won’t be published anywhere).

Closing date 31st May 2020, although this may be extended depending on how long the UK lockdown lasts.

 

Competition 2:  Write a short story or poem of up to 500 words on the theme of ‘family’. (CLOSED)

Your story/poem can be any genre: humour, mystery, adventure, magical . . . it’s up to you.

Rules

• Entries must be no longer than 500 words. Anything longer will not be considered.

• The competition is open worldwide to anyone aged 8-16. Winners will be chosen in three age categories: 8-10, 11-13, 14-16, and displayed on this website.

You may only enter this competition once. Additional entries will not be considered.

• Poems do not have to rhyme.

• Fan fiction (using someone else’s characters/settings) is not allowed. Entries must be your own original idea.

• Regrettably, feedback cannot be given on individual entries, so please do not ask!

• The decision of the judge (Michelle Harrison) is final, and no discussion will be entered into.

 

The Prize

One winner in each category will receive this beautiful magical forest notebook, plus a signed, dedicated book of their choice. Runners up will receive a signed, dedicated book of their choice.

 

Tips

• Think about different ways to tell a story. Will you start at the beginning? Or later on, using flashbacks to build suspense? Could your poem or story take the form of a letter or diary? Be creative! Think about how your favourite stories are told.

• Take your time. All writers have to re-do parts of their work, it’s the best way to improve. Put your work away for a few days after you finish. It’s easier to see mistakes when you’ve had a break from it. Ask someone you trust for their opinion. How do they think you could make it better?

• It can be difficult to write a story without planning it first. Brainstorm. Look at news stories, and talk to your family or friends about interesting things that have happened to them – ideas can come from anywhere.

• Get the story or poem finished, then go back and improve it. If you keep fiddling with the beginning then you’ll find it much harder to complete.

 

To enter

Email your entry to mh@michelleharrisonbooks.com with your full name, age and address. (Your address won’t be published anywhere).

Closing date 31st May 2020, although this may be extended depending on how long the UK lockdown lasts.

Good luck!

The Widdershins sisters are back in a tale of kidnap, witchery, pirates and shipwrecks! 

A Sprinkle of Sorcery, the sequel to A Pinch of Magic is out now. Officially, the publication day is Thursday, 6th February, but early copies are already trickling into bookshops. If you’re quick you may even find a signed copy in your local independent book store or Waterstones – and Waterstones are also stocking beautiful limited edition copies with orange sprayed edges. The finished books are extremely lovely – I can’t stop gazing at mine! And it looks even better next to its big sister, Pinch . . .

 

A Sprinkle of Sorcery is already receiving wonderful reviews in the national press, having appeared in the Daily Mail and The Times as its Children’s Book of the Week!

I’ll be visiting a number of Waterstones stores and literary festivals this year. To see if I’ll be at one near you, keep an eye on my events page, or sign up to my newsletter. I’ll be updating this as new events are confirmed, and I’d love to see you at one of my signings.

I’m delighted to reveal the title of my 8th book: A Sprinkle of Sorcery, which is a sequel to A Pinch of Magic. The Widdershins will be back in the Spring!

Here’s a taster:

The family curse has been lifted and the Widdershins sisters: Betty, Fliss and Charlie are free to leave the prison island of Crowstone. But when a mysterious girl arrives at the Poacher’s Pocket with a pocketful of hagstones and accompanied by a will-o’-the-wisp, it seems another adventure has landed on their doorstep. And when Charlie goes missing, it’s up to Betty and Fliss to journey through misty marshes, past wisp catchers and on to a secret island that doesn’t exist on any map…

And now for the SHIPWRECK COMPETITION RESULTS

I had so much fun reading through your entries to name the shipwreck that appears in A Sprinkle of Sorcery – thank you SO much to everyone who took part.

The winning entry is THE SORCERER’S COMPASS by Tanya Lace, age 12.

As soon as this came in I just knew it was the one. And now you’ve seen the title for book two it’s clear why it’s such a perfect fit. Congratulations, Tanya! You’ll receive a signed copy of the book and a mention in the acknowledgements.

The entries were so good that I’ve decided to choose some well deserved runners-up, who’ll each receive a signed copy of the book when it’s published:

HOLLOW BONES by Annie Robins, age 14
THE SLEEPING SOULS by Zora Hosen, age 9
THE BRINY WITCH by Andrew Bird, age 41

There are also some honourable mentions for the following people who’ll receive a little something in the post:

THE MORRIGAN by Georgina Salwey, 11
THE BASHED BOOTLEGGER by Hannah Bee, 22
THE RAVENOUS RAGAMUFFIN by St. Albans High School for Girls Year 6 Book Club
THE MARDY MERMAID by Jo Davies, 43

As many of you will know, I’m currently working on a sequel to A Pinch of Magic. It doesn’t have a title yet, although my editor has come up with something I LOVE. We’re just getting the thoughts of the rest of the team at my publisher, but I’m hopeful that it’s *the one* and that I’ll be able to share it with you all soon.

I can’t say too much about the story yet except that it involves a runaway, a secret island, and will-o’-the-wisps. And finally, a shipwreck – which I’d like YOU to name! As you know, names are very important to me, so I’m looking for something suitably spooky, mystical, magical, quirky, and everything you’d expect in one of my books.

This is a chance for you to put your stamp on the Widdershins sisters’ next adventure and receive a mention in the acknowledgements page at the end of the book (where I thank everyone who has helped me during the writing of it). You will also win a signed, dedicated copy of the book when it is published (which won’t be until next year, so you’ll have to be patient)!

RULES:

1. You may send up to three suggestions for the ship’s name.
2. You may enter as an individual, a family, a class, or a school (this is for the purpose of the acknowledgement and whom I will sign the book to).
3. The competition is open to all ages worldwide, but entries must be written in English.
4. The signed book will be the UK edition.
5. The closing date is midday (12.00pm GMT) on 31st May 2019. Entries after that date will not be considered.
6. Entries must be your own, original idea.
7. The decision of the judge (Michelle Harrison) is final, and no discussion will be entered into.
8. The winner will be notified by email and announced in an upcoming newsletter.

Email your entry to mh[at]michelleharrisonbooks.com using the subject line ‘Shipwreck’. Remember to include your name, age, and full postal address. (If you’re under 18 make sure you have your parent/guardian’s consent).

TIPS:
• Do some research. Look at the names of historical or current ships for inspiration, do some brainstorming and try different combinations.
• Don’t rush it! You have heaps of time, and often the best ideas aren’t the first ones that pop into our heads.

I can’t wait to read your entries. GOOD LUCK!

The clever folks at my publisher, Simon & Schuster UK Ltd have made this beautiful book trailer for A Pinch of Magic . . . check out that music, it’s pure magic!

Having now seen a mock up of the finished cover, with gold foil and emboss, I cannot WAIT for the finished book to hit the shelves in February so everyone can see just how gorgeous it is. I have this cover proof propped on the shelf next to me as I work and I can’t help but repeatedly glancing at it.

And that’s not all. Pinch has been garnering astounding early praise from authors, teachers, reviewers and booksellers alike. Here’s what some of them had to say:

‘BRILLIANT’Emma Carroll

‘A mesmerising magical quest with freedom and sisterly love at its heart.’The Bookseller

‘An enchanting story’The Bookbag

‘The story everyone will be wanting to read in 2019’The Reader Teacher

‘Stupendous, dark and enticing . . . perhaps her best yet.’Susan Chambers, Waterstones bookseller

 

Here, at long last, is the beautiful cover for my seventh novel, A Pinch of Magic, which is publishing with Simon & Schuster in the UK on 7th February 2019. The illustrator is the hugely talented Melissa Castrillon, whose work you might recognise from the Winter Magic cover. I love how vibrant and colourful it is, as well as the amount of detail she has included. The finished cover will have areas of shiny gold foil to catch the light – it’s going to be gorgeous.

And here’s the back, which includes even more stunning detail, as well as a taste of what the story is all about:

 

I can’t wait for you to read this story and meet the Widdershins sisters: Betty, Fliss and Charlie. It’s been a long time in the making, and is a magical fantasy inspired by a snippet of Essex folklore. It’s aimed at readers of 9-12, but confident younger readers may also get along fine with it – as well as older ones, of course. I think fans of my 13 Treasures books will love it.

I’m also running a prize-draw for readers who pre-order the book (UK only). You can order from wherever you like, all you have to do is send me a photo of your receipt by February 1st 2019 and I’ll enter you into the draw. The prize is this beautiful set of wooden nesting dolls, which are hand-painted and similar to ones that feature in the story. You can email your receipt snap to: mh(at)michelleharrisonbooks.com, or send it via my Facebook or Twitter pages if you prefer.

 

I’m thrilled to share the fantastic new cover for my ghost story, Unrest. Periodically, book jackets get a makeover and so, after six years, I feel this book has earned it (even though I loved the original cover). The beautiful design is by James Fraser, and I couldn’t be happier with it. My editor and I have also rewritten the blurb, and given it a new teaser line on the front, both of which I much prefer and think are more immediate to the reader. You’ll also notice that my name appears as M. Harrison rather than Michelle Harrison. This is to set it apart from my other works, as it’s for a slightly older readership of 12+ (and there’s more in this age bracket on the way . . .)

And here’s the back. I’d love to hear your thoughts below! This edition publishes in the UK on October 18th 2018. You can preorder here from the Book Depository, who offer free shipping worldwide.

 

On February 13th 2008, I got on a train from Oxford and met my agent in London. We had a meeting with Simon and Schuster, one of three publishers who wanted to meet with me after reading my first manuscript, The 13 Treasures. After almost four years of working on this story and with numerous rejections under my belt, I still couldn’t quite believe I had an agent, let alone meetings with actual publishers who wanted to talk about my writing – despite this being the very thing I’d dreamed of for so long.

I could almost hear my nerves rattling. Julia (my agent) and I had already met with one publisher earlier in the week, and the meeting hadn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. They’d liked my story, but wanted a lot of changes; more than I was prepared to make for fear of losing the essence of the story. This second meeting was vastly different. They asked me what I was going to write next. A sequel, I suggested, written from the perspective of another character. They were keen. Upon leaving, they told my agent they would be making an offer to buy two books from me.

I was going to be a published author.

Ten years . . . it’s a long time! Yet in some ways it feels so recent. Much has happened within that decade. The high of being a published author was the first of many: holding my book for the first time; seeing it in an actual book shop; winning the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize; being translated into sixteen languages, as well as selling rights in the USA.

Since then, there have been another five novels (six counting the one that’s written and next to be published)! I gave up my job in publishing to write full time, and later became a parent. And of course, with life’s highs must come the lows. My wonderful mum – who was my biggest fan – died last year from cancer, followed only four months later by her partner, whom I thought of as my dad (also from cancer). I’m thankful they got to see me achieve my dream of making writing my career, and of how proud they were. Equally, I’m devastated that they will never get to read any more of my books or, more importantly, get to see my son grow up.

So, what a decade it’s been: both cruel and kind as is the tricksy, unpredictable way of life. If you are reading this, thank you for sharing it with me. I’m excited about what the future holds and all the stories yet to come – and I promise I’ll try to write faster!

Winter Magic full Cover (finished)1 (2)

Dreamsnatcher’s Abi Elphinstone heads up this gorgeous collection of wintery stories, featuring snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers . . . from classic children’s writers Michelle Harrison, Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Katherine Woodfine, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward and Emma Carroll.
An unmissable, enchanting treat of a collection that will be enjoyed for years to come, by readers of all ages.

My contribution to this book is a tale from the world of The Other Alice, called The Voice in the Snow. It’s a mini-sequel of sorts, featuring Alice’s characters, Gypsy and Piper, and what happens to them when The Other Alice finishes  or should I say, when the last page is turned for no story ever finishes completely . . .