Monday, 20 January 2020

Stories from Poland

The story squirrel?
I've just returned from my first visit to Poland. It wasn't a research trip for a specific book, but whenever and wherever I travel I'm always on the lookout for stories, and squirrel many of them away as possible inspiration for future books.

We started out in the capital, Warsaw, where I was fascinated to learn about the Warsaw Uprising in WW2. There is whole museum devoted to it, telling the stories of so many brave people who stood up to the Nazi occupation of their city. People like the poet, Krystyna Krahelska, who volunteered for the dangerous work as both a messenger and a nurse. She wrote the words of Hey Boys, Bayonet on the Gun, which became the most popular song of the uprising. Sadly, she was killed at only 30 years old when rescuing a wounded soldier. Her image lives on in Warsaw - she was the model for a famous statue of the Warsaw Mermaid. 

(Why the symbol of Warsaw is a mermaid when it nowhere near the sea is whole other story!)

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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Yours Hieroglyphically


Shortly before Christmas I received a fabulous package of letters from Class 5F at Shakespeare Primary School in Leeds, who had been reading The Phoenix Code. I was SOOOO impressed by your writing - both the polite, thoughtful and interesting content, and the neat, clear and stylish presentation. Every letter was enriched with striking artwork that made the letters a pleasure to behold.




















I'm really honoured that you put in so much time and effort to write and tell me that you enjoyed reading The Phoenix Code. It was a pleasure to write back and answer all your questions. I'm just sorry I didn't have the time (or talent!) to illustrate my replies as beautifully as you did.