News and Stuff


Beanstalk Resources

It’s wonderful to see reading charity Beanstalk supporting families in these tough times. They are providing links and resources to help homeschooling and to keep the love of reading active.

I’m particularly flattered that they have chosen me and my daughter’s funny faces to front the scheme!

Please find out more here while we all stay at home and make the most of this reading time.

With huge and never ending thanks to all the Key Workers out there doing an amazing job. Stay safe people x


Return to the Roald Dahl Museum

A few years ago, I had one of the greatest experiences of my time as an author: I got to talk about my book in the home of Roald Dahl himself!

Mr Dahl’s home is now a world famous museum all about the great man and his books. It is a fantastic place and was a real honour to be asked to do some events during their Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrations.

Well, I must have done an OK job as I’ve been asked back!! I’ll be there during the Easter Holidays on Tuesday 14th April and be doing three events. It would be gloriumptious to see you there.

Please find more whizz-popping details here.


Something Exciting is Coming this way …

I’m not allowed to say too much at the moment, as publishers REALLY like to keep secrets! But I have just signed a contract with the amazing Harper Collins!!!!

It’s been something bubbling away since summer 2019 and is now well under way. I’m having a blast writing what I’m writing (sorry no spoilers!) and working with the team and editor at Harper Collins. I’ve visited their stunning offices high in the clouds in Central London and had hugely exciting meetings.

It is something I’m very proud to be part of and I’ll release more details when I’m allowed! Squeeeeeeee!!!!!

Signed Contracts!!

Radio Chocoplot!

Even though I have moved away from my native North East and into London, it was wonderful to hear that me and book were still being talked about up there!

Radio Tees has a weekly Book Talk slot hosted by Bob Fischer and author (and school librarian) Rachel Coverdale. I first met Rachel on a school visit and she is a real champion of books and reading. Rachel has such enthusiasm for getting the right book into the right young hands. So it was especially wonderful to hear her talk about my book in such a lovely way. It was great to share some of the limelight with one of my favourite authors, and North East favourite, Dan Smith. Dan writes fantastic adventure stories full of action and suspense, like ‘Boy X’ which they talked about. Luckily, Rachel said great things about him too!

Although I’m not on the radio, I can still say that I’ve read Rachel’s book, ‘The Boy Who Couldn’t’ and would highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful story of friendship in unexpected places and is a cracking read.

Thanks to Rachel for the photo and for being so kind to me! Please check out Rachel’s website and her books here.


More Waterstones Selfies!!

I know, I know. It’s shameless shelf promotion. It’s egotistical. But I love it!

Going into bookshops and seeing my book never gets old. Now that I have moved from Newcastle to London, it’s been brilliant to see it my adopted home. Here are some of my cheesy grins of me and my signed book in Watersones Kingston, the flagship Waterstones Piccadilly and Waterstones Gower Street, where the staff were wonderful enough to rearrange the shelf so I could have a much appreciated ‘face-out’!!


Christmas is coming …

Personally, I think ‘The Great Chocoplot’ would make a perfect Christmas present. A book about chocolate! But then I would think that, wouldn’t I!

So, just a little reminder that it is available at all good bookstores and all the usual places online.

Please support your local book shops and libraries when choosing books.

Wishing you all a happy and chocolatey Christmas!


Proud Northerner

I’m from Tyneside, but have recently moved into the big capital of London (it’s still a little scary, but I’m starting to get used to it!). We were incredibly sad to leave our home but have been made to feel welcome down south. I always try and return whenever I can.

I’ve always had huge support from from my local bookshops and libraries in the North East and was delighted to see on a recent visit that me and my silly book have not been forgotten!

My heart leaped at seeing my familiar purple cover proudly on display in the magnificent Waterstones Newcastle. It was part of a display from a local Headteacher, Mrs Wall. I had the honour of visiting her school early in the year and had a wonderful time. Thank you, Mrs Wall for this huge honour.

It was also a pleasure to visit beautiful Durham’s Waterstones and see my book still on display there too. The good people and booksellers of Durham have been so kind to me for a long, long time. The thrill of seeing my book next to so many fantastic books never gets old. Thank you, Fiona and all the staff there for your loveliness.

It’s especially lovely to be a ‘Shelf Buddy’ with the incredible Emma Carroll too!


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!


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