Authors4Oceans – Join Us!

OCEANS IN PERIL

Let’s face facts: our seas are in crisis. Of the 330 million metric tonnes of plastic consumed worldwide annually, over 12.7 MILLION tonnes of plastic – that’s everything from bottles and packaging to glitter – is dumped in our oceans. One truckload a minute, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. As a consequence, there are an estimated 1.8 trillion bits of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and an estimated 300 billion pieces of plastic adrift in the Arctic. A million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals die from plastic pollution annually. Turtles, dolphins, seals, albatrosses and even whales are being ensnared by nets and plastic bags. There are other marine conservation issues too. Over 60 million sharks are slaughtered every year for shark fin soup. Almost all turtle and tuna species are threatened or edging towards extinction. Line-caught tuna are not caught by a lone fisherman on a beach but by thousands of hooks on lines over 5kms long. Dolphins and orcas, which suffer huge distress in captivity, are being rounded up for the ‘encounter’ and bogus ‘therapy’ industry in record numbers. Mass extinction events are on the rise as the plastic soup clogging our oceans filters up through the food chain.

OUR MISSION

As authors and illustrators, we’re passionate about inspiring children, teachers and parents to love nature and wildlife. But saving our beautiful oceans for future generations is going to take action as well as words. It’s going to take radical, creative choices. It’s going to mean stepping out of our comfort zone at times. And it’s going to take a village. Literally. But if we come together as a book community, as writers, illustrators, booksellers, publishers, literary agents, festival organisers, teachers, parents and young readers and say ‘Enough!’, imagine what a difference we could make. Imagine if we stood shoulder to shoulder as a book community and resolved to make single-use plastic bags, cutlery, straws and bottles within our book spaces relics of the past. If we said that we will in no way be responsible for overfishing or pushing tuna towards extinction. That we will never endorse the buying of tickets to dolphin shows because we believe that dolphins and orcas should be free.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

If you’re a bookseller, publisher, literary agent, festival organiser, teacher, student and/or reader, we’re asking you to join us in doing everything in our power to stop the plastic tide. Sir Michael Morpurgo, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Quentin Blake, Chris Riddell, Katherine Rundell, Abi Elphinstone, Lauren St John, Dr Ben Garrod, Piers Torday, Gill Lewis, Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Tom Moorhouse, MG Leonard, Elizabeth Laird, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Natasha Farrant,  Patrice Lawrence, Holly Smale, Nicolette Jones, Jonathan Stroud, Philip Ardagh, Liz Kessler, Catherine Hyde, Rachel Hickman, Marcus Sedgwick, Nicola Davies, Maz Evans, James Mayhew, Jacinda Bilan, Alom Shaha, Emma Carroll,  LA Weatherly, Linda Newberry, SF Said, Tamsyn Murray, Catherine Barr, Christopher Edge, Elissa Elwick, Julia Green, Georgie Adams, Victoria Eveleigh, Laura Dockrill, Annabel Pitcher, Robin Stevens, Vivian French, Yaba Badoe, Geraldine McCaughrean, Hilary McKay and Chris Vick are just some of the authors and illustrators who’ve come together to ask you to stand with us to make a difference. If it’s within your capability to change the way you do things as a company, school, family or individual, we’re hoping to convince you to do just that. Be the change you want to see in the seas.

 

For more information go to: authors4oceans.org

 

 

Why I Wrote The One Dollar Horse

The One Dollar Horse is a wish fulfillment book for me. Growing up on an African farm, I used to dream about winning the Olympic gold medal for eventing like Tatum O’Neal in International Velvet. We had eight horses, including my black horse called Morning Star, the son of a champion racehorse, who had been born in a rainstorm – I was there and covered him with my raincoat. To me, Star was the greatest horse that ever lived and it was only a matter of time before we got to the Olympics.

The best thing about growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere is that there’s tons of space and free wood, and loads of people to help you with crazy ideas. I persuaded my dad to build me a cross-country course in our 100-acre game reserve. It sprawled through the whole thing, and even incorporated a water jump. I used to race around the game reserve on Star, watched by our pet giraffe and the impala, dreaming of Badminton.

Quite apart from the fact that I wasn’t a good enough rider, Badminton didn’t happen because our farm was sold, we had very little money, and because before very long writing took over from riding as my chief passion. But I love horses and eventing as much as I ever did. Writing The One Dollar Horse was my way of living out my dream through Casey Blue.
With all my books, I find that my characters become friends, and I’ve never felt that more strongly than I did with this novel. I pined for them when I’d finished it. For that reason and many others, it was a joy to be able to move on to a new horse book, The Glory, which is about a race across the American West. I hope very much that you enjoy it.