Events


Great to be Back in the North

The Northern Children’s Book Festival and a grinning Northern Author

It was wonderful being asked to be part of The Northern Children’s Book Festival again. I had an amazing time visiting a number of schools in Gateshead and Durham. It’s always a joy to return back up North and spread my chocolatey panic with such engaging, enthusiastic and funny audiences. It was also a pleasure meeting our brilliant librarians again. I was well looked after by Maria, Chris (from Gateshead Libraries) and Julie (from Durham) and received warm welcomes in the schools.

The amount of work and effort that goes into this festival from librarians across the North East is staggering. Thanks also to Rachel and Catherine for inviting me. I had a choctastic time!


The Northern Children’s Book Festival

I am flattered and excited to have been asked to take part in the Northern Children’s Book Festival (NCBF) again this year.

As a proud Northerner it is always great to have an excuse to return up north, especially for the chance of visiting some brilliant schools.

The NCBF is a very special festival, in my opinion. It goes to huge efforts to get authors into schools that don’t normally get those kind of opportunities. This always guarantees the most amazing welcome from the most excitable kids around. It’s such a fun event to be part of and is organised and supported by the hard-working librarians in the area. I can’t wait to get involved next week.

The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, The Northern Children's Book Festival

Seven Stories Dahl-itious Day

I had so much fun on my visit to Seven Stories celebrating Roald Dahl Day. It was an honour to be asked to take part and talk about my chocolatey book. We also had a workshop where my lovely audience dug into their own imaginations and came up with chocolate stories and apocalyptic ideas. I was incredibly impressed with them.

It was also fantastic to see Sophie Anderson talking about her amazing new book, The Girl Who Speaks Bear and her inspiration from folk tales. I was thrilled when Sophie and her family stayed for my event too!

Huge thanks to everyone who came along, including Sandra Russell who drew this amazing sketch of me during my talk. The staff at Seven Stories were wonderful and many thanks to Sharleene for inviting me along and for the photos in the bookshop! A truly gloriumptious day!


Celebrating Roald Dahl Day

It is a thrill and an honour to be asked to come along to Seven Stories, The Nation Centre for Children’s Books, to help them celebrate our greatest storyteller, Roald Dahl‘s birthday.

Mr Dahl needs no introduction at all, as his stories have been loved by generations of readers. It will be wonderful to add my own chocolatey twist into the celebrations and talk about my own book, reveal some unusual chocolate facts and join my audience in writing their own chocolate story or create their own apocalyptic story plan.

I’ll be there on Saturday 14th September from 2pm at Seven Stories, 30 Lime Street, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PQ. Booking is required here. There is limited space, so get your tickets quick!

Why not call in and see the wonderful Sophie Anderson talking about her new book, The Girl Who Speaks Bear, too? It would be great to have a lovely audience of readers and chocoholics!! It’s going to be gloriumptious!


Chocoplot Returns to Durham Waterstones

It was wonderful to be invited back to sign copies of ‘The Great Chocoplot’ in store at Waterstones Durham. It is one of my favourite bookshops in one of the most beautiful places around, where I also always get made to feel incredibly welcome.

I was even treated to a queue of keen and patient readers/chocoholics for an hour or so after first arriving. I try to arrive at these events nice and early to get set up and shake the nerves away, but I was greeted by a couple of young readers sitting on the floor, already a few pages into their new copies. What a thrill to see that!!

Thank you to everyone who came along – some travelling quite a distance! It was an honour and I always appreciate these special occasions of meeting my readers and scribbling in their copies. After a few fantastic hours, here’s a picture of me emerging into the strong sunlight, with a bag full of newly purchased books (Fiona is an unstoppable bookselling machine!). I especially like this man’s ‘who are you?’ expression to immediately burst my short-lived ‘famous author’ bubble!! Great day!


Easter Chocoplot Signing at Waterstones Uxbridge

If you are looking for some chocolatey Easter fun in the London area, then come along to

Waterstones Uxbridge on

Wednesday 10th April 2019.

I’ll be there from 11am to talk about my silly story and tell you some unusual chocolate facts. In addition, you’ll get to write your own chocolate story or create your own apocalyptic story plan. How does that sound?

After that, I will be signing books and chatting to anyone who’ll let me. Come along and say ‘hello’.

I might even bring chocolate!


Beanstalk Celebration of Reading

Beanstalk and Jon Snow

Recently, I had the pleasure of celebrating a new collaboration between Beanstalk (a charity for helping to get kids reading) and McCarthy & Stone (a retirement house builder).

It was an ideal opportunity for me to meet some Beanstalk volunteers, as I have been considering becoming a volunteer myself. They all spoke so positively about their experiences of reading one-to-one with pupils who are struggling with reading. I was one of those kids myself. Reading was extremely hard work when I was young and as a result I didn’t read much at all. I certainly never read at home or for my own pleasure, which is something I wish I had done. I’m busy catching up on all the wonderful children’s books now, but feel like I missed out on so much of the magic of a young reader getting lost in an amazing story.

It was a lovely morning where I also got to meet the wonderful Beanstalk staff and author – and Beanstalk volunteer – Matt Oldfield, who writes fantastic football stories. There was also a chap called Jon Snow – Channel 4 News legend!! He was a real gent. It was brilliant to have such an esteemed reader supporting the event. And his socks were just as jazzy as his tie!!

As for myself – yes, I have started the process to become a volunteer. I’m excited and also nervous. But really looking forward to it. Hopefully, I’ll help young readers, like myself, to discover the pure joy of reading.