Tony Mitton

Poet & Children's Writer

My News

Welcome to My News

Drop by to see what's happening in my world and read about new titles and recent publications.

By tonymitton, Jun 22 2020 11:45AM

Hi there. Just a few notes about recent and latest books.

1. The Amazing Machines series : Two new titles are in progress. Coming out first in America, I think, but maybe following on in UK too. One is on Robots, the other is on Cranes (the mechanical kind). Two more titles will follow also in due course. The series is now very popular in America, more so than in UK by the sound of things. Recent titles on Ambulances, Police Cars, Motorcycles and Helicopters are all up and running now, both hardback and paperback. Once the latest 4 titles are in place the series will be up to 18 titles altogether, I think. The first book came out in 1997, so the series is over 20 years old and still going strong. Along with my Guy Parker-Rees books for Orchard/Hachette (titles such as Bumpus, Jumpus, Dinosaurumpus / Down by the Cool of the Pool and others), these are certainly my most commercial ventures in publishing in terms of sales and longevity. They owe a lot to the witty and ingenious illustrations created by Ant Parker who is jointly responsible for the evolvement of the series.

2. My novel Potter's Boy (published in USA as The Potter's Boy) has for a while been out in paperback in UK, in a very good looking version, though not as visually impressive as the hardback original.

3. My picture book Snow Ghost (illustrated by Diana Mayo) will be released on 1st October 2020 as a significant part of their Autumn list for Christmas. A senior editor told me that it was to be their lead picture book title on that list, but I can't officially confirm that here. Still, bodes well, I think.

That's about it on the publishing front from me for now. I get the impression that DFB don't want to publish my 2nd novel. It doesn't work for them. I may discuss with my agent something she said about helping me to put it out on a digital platform. It's a book I wanted to write. And I did so. So, for personal purposes, it's done it's job for me. It would be nice for it to find some amenable readers though.

Best wishes to you all in this 12th week of Lockdown in UK, Tony

By tonymitton, Aug 3 2019 02:29PM

Hi there. Just checking in to leave a bit of news. I finished a full version of my 2nd novel recently. David Fickling of DFB is looking at it and we're going to talk soon. David published my first novel Potter's Boy back in 2017 and it got onto the Branford Boase shortlist. Classed as a Young Adult / Adult book by category, though for me it was simply a 'novel', one I wanted to write and which came out in the way it did. This 2nd novel (title not declared yet) is to my view an adult novel, though probably very readable to young adults, depending on how you categorise them. Again it's simply a book I wanted to write. I don't consider myself a novelist by definition, more a poet really. But both of these books were books I wanted, perhaps needed, to write, so I shall be glad if this new one is somehow publishable, if not by DFB then by someone else. If it comes to it I'll self-publish and distribute it myself in a modest way.

I am still waiting for my first picture book with Diana Mayo to come through from Bloomsbury. As an illustrator her work is meticulous, which may account for the long wait for it to be finished. Meanwhile I've written another text for her to follow with, though that's still under review. At this rate I doubt I'll live to see it published. Posthumously perhaps?

I think it's this Christmas that my verse retelling of A Christmas Carol illustrated by Mike Redman will go into paperback with Orchard / Hachette. I've nothing further in the pipeline with them.

I think that's about it on the publishing front. Now that my 2nd novel is written in good first draft I mean to get back to several piles of unpublished poems written over the last decade, on and off, to see if there might be a viable collection in there for me to put together. That's my next proper writing task over the summer. Here's to it.

Much of my backlist is still in print, which is good. And still lending from libraries too.

The Halle Orchestra in Manchester, along with their educational director Steve Pickett, have been performing a version of my picture book Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus with great success at their family concerts. They are about to add a new number to their repertoire : Alien Tea on Planet Zum Zee. Steve has written the musical score to that, plus a script surrounding the verse text. It sounds good on the pdf audio I listened to on my laptop recently. They give me top quality musical interpretation, which is very encouraging to me as an author. It feels like the work is being taken seriously, though not too seriously of course as the content is quite light in tone and feel. But they're on to that of course.

All from here for now on this sunny Saturday in Cambridge. Best wishes, Tony Mitton

By tonymitton, May 2 2018 09:37AM

This is just to say that my recent novel 'Potter's Boy' is on the Shortlist this year for the Branford Boase Award, announce today 2nd May. There are seven titles on the shortlist. The Branford Boase Award is for first novels marketed as being for anyone of 7 years and indefinitely upward of that. It seems to be characterised as a 'children's book award'. That's the overall feel of it, looking at the shortlist. But some titles on the lists, Potter's Boy not least, have a distinct crossover character, I would say.

This is really good news. The Branford Boase is considered a prestigious award in the children's book world these days. Winning or not, being on the shortlist is an accolade in its own right.

I am still holding back from beginning a second novel, not because I have doubts, but because I'm busy dealing with archive sorting (my own) and with editing and small publishing my adult poems. The first volume of those, called Breath Words, is now published. For news of that see my adult poetry website at

By tonymitton, Nov 25 2017 11:16AM

I was just nearing the end of a long, thoughtful, informative post on the recent publication of Potter's Boy, my first novel, when the screen froze and refused to co-operate. In trying to refresh the screen I lost the whole darn thing. In future I shall write long blogs in microsoft and then paste them in when they're complete. So much for writing direct blogs into the posting window, unsaved.

I haven't the heart to try to repeat what I wrote first time around. Maybe another day now.

But it's out. Potter's Boy. A novel. Not a book for young children, as so many of mine are. Just a novel. Could be read by 'young adults' if you want to make those kinds of categorisations. But just read it as an adult novel. It's a narrative, but quite a serious, thoughtful book with what you might call philosophical passages and exchanges.

Do go see. There's much in it of Buddhism, Zen, Mindfulness and the arts and cultures of Japan and China. Oh, and martial arts too, I should add, for those who lean that way.

Also Snow Penguin, my follow-up verse picture book to Snow Bear, is out too. A different kettle of fish to Potter's Boy, though they both follow a picaresque trajectory, now I come to think of it. Do I always write the same story, in essence? Maybe.....

All for now, lest this too be lost, Tony (Cambridge, Saturday morning)

By tonymitton, Jan 20 2017 02:01PM

I've several projects in progress at present. Firstly, two new Amazing Machines titles have recently come out in USA : Marvelous Motorcycles and High Flying Helicopters. These should come out later this year (2017) in UK under the titles Marvellous Motorbikes and Hovering Helicopters. The American editions tend to have slightly adjusted text and altered titles (I do this myself in collaboration with the American editors and my UK editor, at present Jane Walker at Macmillan). The series is very popular in the States as well as over here. This year is its 20th year as a series, in that the first two books came out 20 years ago now in 1997 (Dazzling Diggers and Roaring Rockets). Little did I know then that the first two titles would spawn a series of 12 books, so far, that have survived so long in what is often a rather brisk turnover of titles in today's market. The series started with Kingfisher. When the series had grown to 10 titles Kingfisher were bought as an imprint by Macmillan where they are still housed.

A follow-up title to my Bloomsbury picture book Snow Bear is due out this autumn, if I have the dates right. This new title will be called Snow Penguin and is illustrated, like its forerunner, by Alison Brown, working in a similar style to that of Snow Bear. Another Snowy picture book, therefore. A third book is written for this series, but that title will for now remain a snowy secret.

I have also written, for Orchard Books (Hachette), a retelling in verse of a popular classic, though I think I'm not yet allowed to reveal the title or identity of the story. This will be in picture book format but illustrated by someone who has formerly worked in animation and is making the switch (at least for this project) over to static picture books. Watch this space. It may be out during Autumn 2017, but I can't be sure of that yet.

Finally, for now, my first ever published novel, Potter's Boy, should be out during Autumn 2017 also. This is not a novel for the very young. It could be regarded as a 'crossover' read or a book for readers of any age. Its setting, while imaginary, is based on historical realities. I'll leave it at that for now. The Potter is a real potter nb -- someone who makes pots and ceramic wares.

Oh, and I've just had a phone call this morning to ask me if I'd like to translate two new Dick Bruna 'MIffy' titles into English verse. That's a little sideline I do sometimes for Mercis publishers in Amsterdam. I've translated 16 of the Miffy books so far, over the past few years. I enjoy doing this work. I like the craft aspect of the job. Getting the essence of Dick Bruna's Dutch original texts into English verse that is as simple as possible yet fluent and easy on the ear. I enjoy that kind of writing challenge.

I wonder sometimes about returning to my first love... writing poems, like the ones in Plum, my first poetry collection. I don't get much time or much request to write like that these days. Perhaps soon I'll make some good time to muse and ruminate and see if I can still do that kind of thing. No promises, but who can say where that might take me... ? ;)

All for now, Tony

RSS Feed

Web feed