Events and Appearances

The MY NAME IS O launch party was a HOOT. 😀

Here, below, is a video I just uploaded of the two-minute reading I did from the book.

Do you see the web address at the bottom of the screen – Click through and take a look!

Yes, thanks to the sterling work of Katie WebSphinx the all-new My Name Is O website is live at last! Katie is making final adjustments (and doing maintenance tweaks to my other sites) as I’m typing this. SNEE HEE HEE!


…Ahem, sorry, rather excited. What I mean is, these are finished copies of my new novella for Barrington Stoke, MY NAME IS O. I knew about the stickers, which (NB) are fully removable and come off without leaving a mark. What I didn’t know was how the mirror effect on the cover was going to turn out. The answer is, very nicely indeed.

To celebrate the book’s launch I’m having a party – tomorrow night (Fri Feb 3rd) from 7.30 at The Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, London, England. For those who don’t know about the party already, if you’re reading this and you’re available then consider this a formal invitation: please drop by for a chat and a glass of something, it would be great to see you there!

If you can’t make the party, then signed copies of MY NAME IS O (and my other books!) will be available to order from The Big Green Bookshop (here’s their website) from tomorrow night onwards until I’m back in Japan. The book’s cover price is £6.99. Samurai booksellers Simon and Tim will gladly arrange delivery to anywhere in the world, and postage inside the UK is free.

Now another pic. Look at the middle one, so shiny that in the right light / right angle almost everything disappears except the O…

…Mmm. SHINY! 😀

Two school visits, this past week. I had a great time at both, as I think you’ll see from these pics…

Here I am (above), gesticulating and grimacing as usual for the Year 8s of Meadowhead School near Sheffield.

In this (below) I’m taking awesome questions from another group at Thistley Hough High School near Stoke-on-Trent.

As anyone who’s been to one of my talks will know, bitter (and damp) experience has taught me to be careful to the point of mania about drinking water without making a mess and an idiot of myself. I’m proud of this next pic, because it captures me not spilling a drop!

Finally, here’s one that’s a bit blurry, but it sums up how great school visits like these make me feel:

These were my last school appearances for quite a while. That’s partly due to the summer break of course, but beyond that it’s also due to a sinister masterplan I’m developing – the long-awaited realisation of a lifelong ambition of mine. I’ll explain more in future posts.

Meanwhile I’d like to thank everyone at Meadowhead and Thistley Hough, and all the schools I’ve visited. I get a big kick out of school events, and after what’s now been five years of doing them pretty often I reckon six months without is going to feel very strange.

Best wishes all,


A big thank you to everyone I met and spoke to today at Chilwell School in Beeston, Nottinghamshire for their warm welcome.

The audiences for my two talks were my biggest in a while, and they were absolutely brilliant — enthusiastic, astonishingly pin-drop silent for the readings and full of awesome questions.

At lunchtime in the library I had a thoroughly disturbing conversation about squirrels. For a taste of my feelings as regards that particular topic I refer you to this horrible short story.

Steve Feasey, William Hussey, Stephen Deas and I will be teaming up for another Chainsaw Gang Extravaganza at The Stoke Newington Literary Festival this Friday 3rd June. We’ll be doing our stuff from 2pm to 3pm (plus signing time) at The Gallery in the library on Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 — unless the weather is fine, in which case (get this-!) we’ll be in the gorgeous GRAVEYARD just up the road: Abney Park Cemetery!

Tickets for our event are £3, but the entire festival looks like it’s going to be a hoot. See you there? Hope so. 😀

I’ve received two wonderfully heartening messages about how all my events this past week went…

Mrs E Roberts, English and Humanities Learning Co-ordinator at (all new!) Heartlands High School, Haringey, said:

“The feedback from the pupils was outstanding!  They were unanimous in their opinion on the day: they loved it! Many of the pupils are now reading your books, I think your reading of Crawlers encouraged many of them.  You especially inspired our more challenging boys, which is not easy to do! As a teacher I can see your books making a difference to our pupils and I know how excited you would be if you could see it too!”

…And following on from yesterday’s lightning visit to schools in Nottinghamshire to tie in with Crawlers being shortlisted for the Notts Brilliant Book Award, I’ve just been forwarded this:

“Can you please pass my thanks on to Sam for the visits to Nottingham University Samworth Academy and Kimberley School. I have heard from several of the librarians who attended and they have all said what an excellent and enjoyable event it was, and how good Sam was with the students. We really appreciate him coming to visit and the author events always come out very highly in our evaluations of the award! Best wishes, Janet Huffer, Principal Librarian, Education Library Service, Nottinghamshire County Council.”

A huge and gleeful THANK YOU to everyone I met and spoke to over this last week. 😀

If anyone reading this would like to find out about how to arrange a visit from me to your school or library, you can find out all the details on my Contact An Author page, here.

As for me, I’ve ended Book Week exactly as I always seem to do – namely by catching an ‘orrible cold! Today my head only seems interested in producing mucus instead of writing, so I’ve spent the afternoon updating my LibraryThing Review Page: hit the link for all my latest book recommendations. AhhhhPHLOOPHTCH! Ahem, ‘scuse me.

Book Week is upon us again, and I’m gearing up for three school visits this week: Ken Stimpson Community School in Peterborough, Heartlands High School in my neighbouring London borough Haringey and a long-awaited return visit to The Ridgeway School in Swindon.

In the mean time, my esteemed Trapped By Monsters cave colleague Ali Sparkes has just come up with something a bit tremendous – a new author initiative called Adopt A Bookshop. I’ve adopted mine. Here’s a quiet word from them:

If anyone reading this would like to know how to buy my books and have them signed and personalized for you by me, then The Big Green Bookshop is the place to place your order. Call Samurai Booksellers Simon, Tim and Mark or contact them via their website: they’ll let me know, I’ll drop by the shop to sign the books, they’ll post them out to you wherever you are in the world. Easy.

Bookshops – especially spirited independent ones run by people who love and care about books – are an all-too-rare treat to find on our increasingly homogenized high streets. Just like libraries, you have to use them or lose them. If you’re an author, Adopt A Bookshop. If you’re a reader, visit one today!

Today I did two talks at Hornchurch Library, Havering and helped out with their Best of the Best Book Award

It was awesome. Both groups I spoke to – KS2 and KS3 students from various different schools in the area – were enthusiastic and charming. The video presentations by students on which books they thought should win were brilliant and the quizzes were ace, but the biggest thrill for me was witnessing the way these young readers discussed the shortlisted books – in depth and detail, and with passion. It was a great day and I was honoured to be involved.

Here’s another thing that made me happy today: a road sign I spotted near Forest Gate station on my journey to the event…

Hee hee hee!


PS: My thanks to everyone who was there at Freedom of Expression for my reading of Family on Tuesday night. It’s always a pleasure to meet new people – and HORRIFY them. ;D

This Tues 15th Feb I’ll be testing my new short story Family out on a live audience for the very first time at Freedom of Expression, a fantastic variety night at The Green Dragon in Croydon.

At half an hour in total this will be the longest public reading I’ve done so far, and by quite a stretch: as anyone who’s seen me do my stuff before will know, while my talks last around an hour, up ’til now I’ve kept my actual readings down to around five mins a go. This will be an experiment – and right now I don’t mind telling you I’m a little nervous about it! Still: also on the bill will be singer-songwriters Chris Parr and my friend the brilliant Adrian Taylor – so even if my own performance crashes and burns I still know it’s going to be a good night! 😀

Hope to see you there?? Mean time, here’s something I just posted to Trapped By Monsters about some great comics I’ve read lately…

At my visit to Bushey Meads School yesterday not just one but two of the young people I spoke to asked to have their first names used in my next book.

I did my best to warn them that their names might go to characters who, say, eat children but, strangely, that didn’t seem to put them off. 😀

I was asked all sorts of other excellent questions throughout the day, for which I had to scramble hard to find what I hope were decent answers. Here I am being interviewed by student librarians for the school magazine and (by the look of it) preparing to shoot bolts of plasma from my fingertips:

This was my last school visit of 2010, and a great one to finish off on. An enormous THANK YOU to everyone involved.

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