Dan Smith

Judging Category: Aged 13. 

Your judge is a super talented chap, who has written amazing books for both adults and young people, Dan Smith. You can see all his books here.

Growing up, I led three lives. In one I survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another I travelled the world, finding adventure in the paddy fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life I lived in a world of my own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say I still live most of the time.

I have lived in many places that inspire my writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. I’ve even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but I’m now settled in Newcastle with my wife and two  children to keep me on my toes. And, boy, do they keep me on my toes!

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, I always loved stories, I always loved a good adventure, and I always kept writing.

I write for both children and adults. My latest book is ‘She Wolf”

“Ylva, a young Viking girl, is swept by a storm to England where she is orphaned. Determined to avenge her mother’s death, she tracks the killer north. But when a stranger steps in, Ylva has to choose between vengeance and trust.”

If you want to see what books I’ve been reading and what films I’ve been watching, you can have a look at my Instagram and Pinterest.

Dan’s Top Writing Tip:

I am sometimes asked what kind of stories I like to read, and the answer is always ‘good ones’. I like to read all kinds of things, from adventure, to sci-fi, to horror, historical, mystery … anything! One of the most important things is that the writer enjoys writing the story, and that they let their imaginations run wild. Write the kind of story YOU would want to read. Having said all that, something I haven’t read in a long time, is a really good ghost story. Good luck!