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It’s out at last. After five years of writing and illustrating and designing, Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black is published on May 2nd in the UK by Walker Books. With a wonderful illustrative ‘voice’ by Alexis Deacon to carry our words along, and gorgeous design work behind the scenes by the team at Walker, this is a book of which I am very proud indeed.

We’ll be at the Imperial War Museum on the morning of May 22nd to sign copies, and at Forbidden Planet in London on the Saturday 25th.




Ruby is finally set to make the long journey home to conclude her trilogy. The final instalment of GHOSTS OF SHANGHAI will be called RETURN TO THE CITY OF GHOSTS and will be out in January 2018. I’ve just been drawing some of the means by which she might make the run for Shanghai - a few pictured below…



I am absolutely delighted to be taking up the role (and baton!) of Patron of Reading at Leighton Park School in Reading.

Having visited twice before I considered the offer for all of 30 seconds (probably fewer) before saying ‘yes’ to Chris Routh, the school’s wonderful librarian. Leighton Park was founded and is still run along Quaker principles, and the Friends’ spirit pervades the student and staff body. Open, enquiring, and holistically aspirational the values there fit incredibly well with the themes I want to write about in my books.

And more than that my family has a deep link to Quakerism - it was at the Friends Centre Brighton that my mum and dad first met. Dad was co-warden there and spent 1945-55 using the arts and education to help make the better society that everyone longed for after the Second World War. It was at his puppetry group that my parents first crossed paths - I always say I owe my existence to Quakerism and marionettes…

Over the next three years I hope to work deeply with the students, teachers and Chris to further enrich reading and writing at this wonderful school.



I’ll be judging the Ely 501 creative writing competition again this year - and looking forward to reading all the entries!

Competition rules and regulations, frequently asked questions and ENTRY FORMS can be collected from Burrows Bookshop and Mr Simm’s Sweet Shoppe in Ely. Alternatively you can download them HERE.

I’ll be talking about the competition on BBC Radio Cambs with Jeremy Sallis on Feb 2nd.

Some images form the last two glorious years…

Ely 501 award winners 2016

Ely 501 winners




With Mysterium now launched in the US with Lerner Books, and an interesting discussion with members of the Golden Egg Academy the other night, I thought it was time to mention a long-running, informal competition about the trilogy…!

It can take a long time to negotiate your way to publication, and even then the waters often aren’t smooth. Hidden, or worn proudly, somewhere in a book or series should be a scene, a moment, an image, a piece of dialogue that you are desperate to write. That powers the effort along, lends it heart, keeps your spirits up in bad moments, and hopefully shines through - even subconsciously - when the book is finally read.

And whatever happens to that book after publication, you at least have the prize of knowing that you said the thing you wanted and needed to say.

The Mysterium trilogy is a very personal story at its core. Beneath the chases and explosions and tricks is a deep emotional current. Each book contains a key page or two that I ‘wrote towards’ - but one page in particular carries the heart of Danny’s story. I often ask people in signing queues if they can work out what it is and let me know, but so far nobody has claimed the prize!

And what is that prize? Well, this is an informal competition - and the eventual prize will depend on the reader who spots it. Maybe signed books, maybe a visit to your school, maybe an appraisal and comment of your manuscript if you’re an aspirant writer…
© Julian Sedgwick 2019