News and Stuff


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!


Awards Fun

I had a great time at the recent Tees Valley Education Book Awards in Middlesbrough. It was an honour to be on a shortlist that included some of my favourite authors, who are also all fab people (yes, authors are people too!).

Catching up with Gabrielle Kent, Em Lynas and Dan Smith is always a pleasure, but it was a shame Sophie Anderson couldn’t make it (as she was adventuring in Canada!). I also got to meet Tom Palmer for the first time, which was brilliant.

It was a pleasure spending the morning in a local school and getting to meet lots of the keen readers involved in the process. An awards scheme like this is all about the readers – we just come along at the end and steal the glory! The teaching staff and all the pupils had put huge amounts of work into it and had obviously had fun. The awards ceremony itself was wonderful entertainment. A choir sang (thankfully not including the authors), awards were given out to the outstanding readers contributions and there was a quiz too! Although my book didn’t win (and you can see by the photo that I wasn’t upset by that!), I think the children chose very well as Tom’s Armistice Runner is an amazing book and a worthy winner.

Hugest of thanks to everyone involved, especially to Dan Mount, who came up with the idea and organised the event. Good luck with next year!


Website Issues!!

After a recent website update, this site has gone all wobbly!

The basic information is there, but pictures, links and other bits and bobs have decided to have a little holiday. I’m in the process of sorting it out, so please don’t think this is how my website always looks.

It should be up and running properly soon! 🤞


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!


The Tees Valley Education Book of the Year 2019

TVEd Book Award

Yay!!!

It is a massive honour to be shortlisted in the inaugural Tees Valley Education Book of the Year 2019 Award!

Especially as my book is alongside some AMAZING books by fantastic authors – most of who I am friends with! I hope that doesn’t cause any problems to our friendships!! It is an award that encourages school children in the area to share, express and hopefully develop their love of reading and this year it has focussed the shortlist on Northern authors.

It is a thrill to be involved. Thank you to all the organisers and best of luck to everyone.

The full shortlist is:

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer

Knights and Bikes – Gabrielle Kent

Below Zero – Dan Smith

You Can’t Make Me Go To Witch School – Em Lynas

Some chocolatey book – by some bloke!


World Book Month

I’ve been lucky to not just be able to celebrate World Book Day, but I’ve been out and about for a busy World Book Month!

It’s been my busiest year and I’ve almost lost count of all the schools and libraries that I’ve visited during this time. It’s a huge honour to get to do what I do. I’ve been able to talk (and sometimes shout) about my silly story and had so much fun. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting so many keen readers and book fans – and chocoholics too!

I must admit, there were a few times when I didn’t think my voice was going to make it! Strepsils have been my saviours!

Thank you to everyone that has made me feel so welcome in your halls and classrooms. And to everyone who has shouted, ‘Chocopocalypse!!!’. And many thanks to Authors Aloud, who have been so brilliant at helping me organise all these amazing events.

I’m a tired, but extremely happy author. I hope everyone keeps on reading and having fun all year round!

Thanks to Arthur Bugler Primary for this wonderful photo.


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.


Patron of Reading

Patron of Reading, Chris Callaghan, The Great ChocoplotIt’s a huge honour and pleasure to be the new Patron of Reading at West Thornton Primary School in Croydon.

Last year, as a Northerner, this was the first London school that invited me to come in for an author visit. I was hugely impressed with the fantastic welcome I received, and the incredible school itself. It is such a stunning building. When my family and I moved into the capital, we were delighted that my wife became the Deputy Head there. What a coincidence!!

I’m convinced my role as Patron was nothing to do with my wife … but I’m sure it helped!

It’s a school, and an area, that has a lot of challenges ahead. I’m delighted to be part of the big plans that are being put into place to build upon the character and enthusiasm that so clearly exists. It’s an exciting time and I’m a little nervous, if I’m honest, but I can’t wait to get involved.

Reading should be a pure pleasure. I hope to encourage the joy of reading and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot along the way.

West Thornton, Patron of Reading, Chris Callaghan, The Great Chocoplot