Kieran Larwood, one of two male reception-class teachers on the Isle of Wight, has beaten off competition from more than 2,000 entries to win The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2011.
Reception class teacher at Wroxall Primary, Kieran had some idea of what it might feel like to be out of the ordinary – but now his novel, Plumpscuttle’s Peculiars has also made him the first male winner of the Times/Chicken House annual competition to find an unpublished new children’s author.
This year’s entry continues the theme for the unusual and the slightly beastly with Plumpscuttle’s Peculiars; the story of a gang of freak-show curiosities taking on the murky underworld of London’s crime-ridden streets.
Kieran has been writing for ten years. He did an English degree at Falmouth, but it’s his interest in Victorian London that is as much the inspiration for Plumpscuttle’s Peculiars as his initial idea of a freak-show.
“I’m fascinated by the way London changed from a Third World city in 1840, when the book begins, to something completely different. I also love Wilkie Collins and the dark side of the Victorian era. I live in East Cowes, which is near Osborne House where Queen Victoria used to live on the Isle of Wight. It’s very helpful for getting a feel of the period.”
Kieran Larwood is no stranger to hard work! Plumpscuttle’s Peculiars was written mainly in the evenings, with Kieran also juggling his job, and being a father and stepfather to two children (with another on the way), all with the support of partner Claire.
Julia Donaldson, writer of the The Gruffalo and one of the judges on this year’s panel says,
‘Winning the competition is Kieran’s first step on the road to becoming an author – though I suspect that his pupils will be disappointed if their storytelling teacher gives up the day job.’
Amanda Craig, children’s fiction afficianado from The Times, and one of this year’s judges of the competition, had this to say about the winning entry:
‘The judges…were all struck by the energy of the writing, and Larwood’s enthusiasm for describing the filth of the city and its many disgusting aromas’.
Barry Cunningham, Publisher and MD of Chicken House, is madly enthusiastic about this year’s winning entry:
‘Suddenly when we got to Kieran’s book the judges all starting talking about how wonderful the smells in the story were! Everyone was swapping their favourite smells – and laughing at how Monkey Boy was outrageous, rude and particularly pongy – but, as Amanda, Megan and Damian agreed, the writing was brilliantly evocative of all kinds of special senses too – and weirdly, really highlighted true tolerance of all kinds of disabilities and eccentricities!’
Read Amanda’s interview with Kieran click here
The book is due out in April 2012. If you want to follow my impending meltdown into insanity as I try to fit in editing and rewriting with work and fatherhood, please read my blog. at www.kmlarwood.com
Here are some facts to make me seem more interesting: my brother is a standup comedian (Marek Larwood), I am quite good at drawing zombies, I can read tarot cards and juggle (but not at the same time).
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