A. F. Harrold - Author Picture

A. F. Harrold - Author

A.F. Harrold is an English poet (1975-present). He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. He was Glastonbury Festival Website's Poet-In-Residence in 2008, and Poet-In-Residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010. He won the Cheltenham All Stars Slam Championship in 2007 and has had his work on BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC7. He is active in schools work, running workshops and slams and doing performances at ungodly hours of the morning, and has published several collections of poetry. He is the owner of many books, a handful of hats, a few good ideas and one beard. He spends his time showing off on stage, writing poems and books, and stroking his beard (it helps churn the ideas). He is the author of the Fizzlebert Stump series and the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal longlisted The Imaginary, illustrated by Emily Gravett. The Imaginary is the winner of the 7-11 category of the UKLA Awards. A.F Harrold lives in Reading with a stand-up comedian and two cats.

A Q&A with the author

1. What are your 5 favourite books, and why?

Again, no favourites, per se, but at various times in my life the following five have been important to me: Barbara Firth (the greatest illustrator of bears in children’s books full stop, no argument); J.R.R. Tolkien (for, almost accidentally, allowing us a glimpse into his lifelong private world-building exercise); Norman MacCaig (one of the great poets of nature and time and thought – never fussy and complex, but always sharp, charming and short); Iris Murdoch (for her ungainly, unlikely, unworldly novels of love and philosophy; Jill Bennett (I have a print of her drawing of the BFG (from Danny Champion of the World) on the wall by my desk, which is so many times more mysterious and fascinating than Blake’s BFG that became the standard).

Let’s plump for The Hobbit. It was a book that certainly hooked my imagination and tangled me up in its world. I went to sleep listening to the tapes of it.

How about the boy in The Witches simply for what he does and what he goes through and how he ends up. There’s pluck for you.

I have a soft spot for both Mr Gum and Mr Twit. Every villain needs a good beard, surely?

I’d like to think I could be Professor Calculus, but I’d probably discover I was Thompson or Thomson.

7. If you could recommend just one book for everyone to read what would it be?

My inability to think of anything else to do. To make poems was the only thing that felt right. Every now and then one of them isn’t terrible. And now stories seem to happen as well.

The Imaginary came about because of two thoughts that occurred around the same time. One was the image of an imaginary boy stood by the side of the road after an accident. He was on his own for the first time. He was beginning to fade. The other was a thought of a canteen, a greasy spoon sort of place, full of big blokes with ‘I love Mum’ tattoos and mugs of builder’s tea and cigarettes on the go. A foreman type walks in with a clipboard and says, ‘Little Billy Jones needs a friend …’ and one of the hairy Neanderthal-ish chaps gets up and says, ‘Okay boss,’ and goes out the door, squeezing himself into whatever shape Billy Jones wants his imaginary friend to be. So, an agency for imaginary friends. Neither of the those images/pictures/thoughts makes it unchanged into the book, but they were the initial spurs.

I began writing poetry seriously (and awfully) as a teenager, but I’d had a typewriter as a kid and banged away on it, though I’ve no idea and no memory of what I was writing.

Just keep on with it. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. And read lots.

Photo credit: Naomi Woddis

Featured Books, with extracts, by A. F. Harrold

The Song from Somewhere Else
A. F. Harrold - illustrated by Levi Pinfold
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month November 2016 Award-winning A.F. Harrold blends reality and imagination in a moving and thought-provoking story about friendship, loneliness and being brave when things are difficult. Bullied at school and unsupported at home,...
Lovereading Price: £10.39 - Saving £2.60 (20%) Featured in: 9+ readers | 11+ readers
Format: Hardback | Released 10/11/2016
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Reader ReviewedThe Imaginary
A. F. Harrold - illustrated by Emily Gravett
Winner of the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 7 - 11 year old category. A richly visualised story which explores imaginary friends and the very special role they play in children's lives. Amanda and her imaginary friend Rudger have...
Lovereading Price: £6.39 - Saving £1.60 (20%) Featured in: 9+ readers | 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 05/11/2015
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Fizzlebert Stump and the Girl Who Lifted Quite Heavy Things
A. F. Harrold
A story of circus rivalry, learning who you really are, and the problem of oddly-shaped vegetables. Fizzlebert needs to reunite his friend the Bearded Boy with his long-lost parents, and find himself a new act. Luckily, the strongest girl in...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Featured in: 9+ readers | 7+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 12/02/2015
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Reader ReviewedThe Imaginary
A. F. Harrold - illustrated by Emily Gravett
November 2014 Book of the Month A richly visualised story which explores imaginary friends and the very special role they play in children's lives. Amanda and her imaginary friend Rudger have the best of times playing together. While Amanda's mother...
Lovereading Price: £10.39 - Saving £2.60 (20%) Featured in: 9+ readers | 11+ readers
Format: Hardback | Released 23/10/2014
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Fizzlebert Stump: The Boy Who Cried Fish
A. F. Harrold
More adventures with Fizzlebert Stump. Can Fizzlebert solve the mystery of the missing sea lion, avoid an over-enthusiastic crocodile, and find his friend?
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Featured in: 7+ readers | 9+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 13/02/2014
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Reader ReviewedFizzlebert Stump and the Bearded Boy
A. F. Harrold
March 2013 Book of the Month Fizzlebert Stump's Circus is back for a second riotous show during which everything can – and does – go terribly wrong. The new act features the very, very hairy Barboozul family which includes Wystan,...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Featured in: 9+ readers | 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 14/03/2013
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Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library)
A. F. Harrold
July 2012 Debut of the Month. A hero with a difference! Fizzlebert Stump wants to make changes to his life. Bored with life in the circus, he is determined to run away and join…the Library! How Fizzlebert sets out to...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Featured in: 9+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 07/06/2012
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Author Info

Author's Website

www.afharrold.co.uk/

Author's Blog

afharrold.tumblr.com/

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