Thursday, 15 December 2011

I'm an Autism Star! (well, an Asperger one anyway)


December 2011 sees the release of the book Autism All-Stars, edited by Josie Santomauro. I was approached by Josie a couple of years ago to pen a chapter on my TV series fixations. I jumped at the chance, wrote the piece, and forgot all about it.

I'm thrilled to see that the book is now being published. Looking at the other contributions within its pages, I can tell you this is a heart-warming and life affirming tome. I'm proud to have been a part of it.

Autism All-Stars is available from all good bookshops and online stores as of this month.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Meeting Grace Again!


On Wednesday 12 October I made a second visit to Birmingham, courtesy of Autism West Midlands, to talk to parents of children with Asperger's syndrome at the Four Dwellings unit in Quinton supervised by Max Tolley.
I regaled them with my own experience of growing up on the spectrum, read some excerpts from The Feeling's Unmutual as well as some of my song lyrics. I also got to meet young Grace again, who is now a big fan of Anne Droyd.
I was told afterwards that my presentation had been "inspirational" and that the parents were raving about it.
I'm glad I've done some good.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ladybridge High School


Above is the interview I did last month for Ladybridge High School and Sports College in Bolton. Under the supervision of Mrs Peachman, I chatted to students Mithun Kerai and Saeed Atcha and they made extensive notes. The piece has been written up from those notes and from memory. I think we have two promising journalists in the making!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Farewell Sweetens


I'm deeply saddened to learn that Bolton's independent bookshop Sweetens has closed for good. Proprietor Stella Morris gave me much support over the years and I'm going to miss the signings at her shop. My letter, recently published in Bolton News, is posted above.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Picnic in the Park with Autism West Midlands


I had a lovely time today signing books in Birmingham as part of the initiative organised by Autism West Midlands.

One lady came over and was keen to let me know that she already had The Feeling's Unmutualand that it had helped her understand her son's reasoning and behaviour, he having been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.

Another lady told a similar story about her son and bought the book.

Younger readers (and one or two older younger readers!) found my Anne Droyd books interesting. The young lady pictured above, Grace, was keen to read Anne as she loves the Famous Five adventures and thought Anne Droyd and the House of Shadows sounded as exciting!

I signed her a poster too. She was so thrilled, she came back over to tell me when she was going home.

It was nice to talk to people who either had Asperger's in the family or managed the condition themselves.

Thanks to Holly for inviting me, and to Theresa Cutts for representing me throughout the session.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

TALKING TO POST-GRAD STUDENTS AT CASTLE HILL


Today I visited the Castle Hill Centre in Tonge Moor, Bolton, to speak to post-graduate students about how Asperger's syndrome has affected my life.

I talked about my primary school years and how I struggled not only with sports at school, but with the concept of competitive spirit (Why should someone get a medal for being better than someone else?). I talked about my struggle with the transition from primary school to secondary school, and again from secondary school to the working world. I covered my tendency to obsess, my visits to a clinical psychologist, and my success as a writer.

I was keen to highlight that while those who have severe autistic traits might not secure employment, those who have Asperger's and those who are borderline like me might struggle in the working world but can still succeed. Indeed one's 'specialist subject' (one's obsession) can be channelled into a career.

The resulting question-and-answer session threw up some interesting points.

I wish the students well in their endeavours, and I thank the two Debbies for inviting me to participate. I'd definitely do it again.

Friday, 18 March 2011

WATERSTONE'S BOOKSHOPS STOCK ANNE


FINALLY, we have succeeded in getting Anne Droyd and Century Lodge onto the shelves at Waterstone's bookshop in the Trafford Centre, near Manchester. The branch in Manchester Deansgate is keen to stock my books, so is the one at the Arndale Centre. Our nearest branch, Bolton, will stock it if we support it with an event. Well, it goes without saying that we will be doing!

We are waiting for Anne Droyd and the House of Shadows to surface on their Phoenix system, and then we will press ahead. Shadows is the one we need to highlight at the present time.

If you haven't yet bought the books, and you live in the Northwest of England, go and ask for them at Waterstone's.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Episode Two Ready to DOWNLOAD


Gareth Preston of Fine Line Productions has released Episode Two of The Chattath Factor, my not-for-profit tribute to Doctor Who. It runs for 26 minutes, is a full cast drama with sound effects and music, and stars Joe Binks as the Doctor, Amy Elizabeth as Jenny, with John Ainsworth as Dr Joseph Winston.

As Winston struggles to control his biology, the Doctor is astonished to discover another humanoid creature on the prowl. Meanwhile Jenny has her hands full when villagers begin acting out of character...