In My Wildest Dreams: Adventures in Children's Fiction

about Giles Diggle
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I was born in the Home Counties, where I spent many happy hours playing in the long grass, down by the River Lea and collecting insects in jam jars. I wanted to be a footballer and play for Brazil. Then I spent a lot of time after school gazing at album covers.

I moved up North in the mid sixties with a head full of Beatles music. I went to a boy's grammar school where I made good friends and began to understand their accents.

1971 I started at University, where I lingered for 6 years, taking a degree in American Studies and researching Nathaniel Hawthorne & Henry James for a PhD. I didn't finish writing up. I wrote a novel instead. I hand-delivered it to one publisher, was rejected after two weeks, and gave up. It is in the attic somewhere.

Rather than go to Paris to find myself as a writer, I went to the coast to live by the beach and qualify as a teacher. That was 1977. I thought it would give me time to write. I was wrong.

In 1978 I began an eleven year English teaching career in three secondary schools. While I was in Cheltenham, I started a performance poetry group with two friends I met at a writers group. We had a good time and made a lot of noise, but work took us our separate ways after a couple of years.

In 1988 the itch to write novels returned. I used school exercise books to write my first novel for teens, Inside the Glasshouse, by hand. I wrote at night and in the holidays. I bought and Amstrad computer and typed it up. I sent it to Faber & Faber (I had been rejected by 12 publishers before that) and miraculously they accepted it from the "slushpile." I gave up paid work for two years.

Roosters and Badgerman & Bogwitch followed. I used a word processor.

In 1992 I went back to paid work, part-time, supporting Traveller Children in schools. By 1993 I was working full-time again, and with a colleague started an LEA Traveller Education Service.

I stayed with the LEA until 2010, having become an adviser with the School Improvement Service and managed the Race Equality & Diversity Service.

I started writing again in 2010. Why the long break? I don't know.

I never did finish writing up my PhD.