Welcome to 'A Year on the Cloud'

We have called our online events programme  “A Year on the Cloud”.

It launches on Monday 12th October at 7.00pm with the innovative formula that is - “Books that shaped me” – a series of illustrated interviews.


The author is restricted to six books that he or she feels have influenced their writing. The interview concludes with the question “ If you gave the younger you a book – what would it be?”

To view our fabulous interview with Sophie, just click HERE!

For Sophie's Website, just click HERE

Repton Schools Welcome Author Tom Palmer


On behalf of Repton Literary Festival, Rachel Smedley Wilson hosted a meeting between St Wystan’s School and Repton Primary School

See Tom's Website here

Organised by Frances Wimbush, the author, Tom Palmer spoke about children’s literature and his contribution to improving literacy, for which he has won awards. 


The children, in five classes across the two schools, asked a variety of most interesting questions. 


When asked where his favourite place was, Tom answered that it was his home where he is comfortable and happy.  He travels a great deal to research his books, though; he made visits to France, Czech Republic and Poland to research his WWII books – “D-Day Dog” and “After the War” and his favourite, Leeds’s Elland Road Football stadium, of course.

Tom explained that reading others’ work is his inspiration, but he has also been inspired to write by things like running with his daughter and his spaniel, Finn.  He has always been an avid football fan and so writing about football made sense. 

He recalled the time he was in Swansea and walked past an abandoned football stadium; that’s really spooky, he thought and felt he could write a good ghost story.

Tom talked about how happy he felt when he was first published.  He loved making his wife proud and it felt like a dream come true.  He’s always wanted to become a writer but felt that it wasn’t something a boy like him could achieve; yet with perseverance and resilience he forged ahead until he got there. Tom told the children you must write what you’re passionate about, what you know and love.

How does Tom make his characters believable? By basing them on real life people, animals and relationships.  It was easy to write the dog, Finn, character in D-Day Dog because he lives with him and has learnt his moods and gestures.  When he was writing “After the War”, he read the books written by those children and was able to meet some of the individuals involved.

Tom was asked what were his favourite books by authors other than himself and he cited “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë and the works of Rosemary Sutcliff, a children’s author, writing really good historical stories about the Vikings, the Iron Age, Anglo Saxons and so on – he felt sure she must have visited Repton when researching the Vikings.

The children thanked Tom for his insightful talk as did Rachel on behalf of Repton Literary Festival.


Repton Preparatory School (formerly Foremarke Hall)

20 classes Years 3 – 8 and some from reception.

Tom introduced himself and spoke about After the War, a story about 300 Jewish children who escaped the holocaust in Poland and came to live in the Lake District as refugees.

Tom used his book D-Day Dog to explain about the writing process and what had inspired him to start writing.

The children were interested to know how long Tom takes to write a book and he explained that the football stories take about 6 weeks but the history ones can take as long a 6 months because of the research required.

Favourite book: Armistice Runner – daughter being a runner – 8 book prizes – really great.

First book - Being a Leeds fan

Best-selling book – Football Academy, published 12 years ago 50k sold, 7 languages – really successful.

But, After the War – published only 3 months ago is turning out to be a faster seller.

Tom showed some artefacts he had collected that help him visualise the scenes in his books:  he had a silk map which had belonged to a spitfire pilot who had crash-landed in France; a spitfire pilot’s helmet and a pack of WWII airmen’s playing cards, depicting the appearance of different aircraft and how they appear when flying. Most poignantly, Tom has an airman’s RAF bible, inscribed on the fly leaf “with love from Sonny”.

Tom’s latest book is The War At Sea, which is a story about the arctic convoys during WWII.

Tom was helpful in giving some useful tips to all those budding writers about choosing a subject, meticulous planning and, most of all, perseverance.

The children asked wide ranging questions, were engaged and really enjoyed the event. 

The children involved in today’s visits will receive a signed bookplate to put into their favourite Tom Palmer book.

Thank you to all the teaching staff at St Wystan’s, Repton Primary and Repton Preparatory School for making these virtual visits possible. 

Thank you to Tom Palmer for being a super guest author. And thank you to Repton Literary Festival for presenting the event.

Mute-off! The children generated a great, voluminous thank you to Tom.

info@reptonliteraryfestival.co.uk or call us on:

07568 673301

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