Welcome to my Website.

I hope that this website will give you the information you need about my book, other work that I’ve been doing and forthcoming events, as well as links to relevant websites. There is information about my published work, with extracts or full text, as well as news about forthcoming publications.

My first book for children is Ben and the Spider Gate, published by The Book Guild Ltd.
The second book in the series, Ben and the Spider Prince is also available now.
The final book in the trilogy, Ben and the Spider Lake will be available soon.

 
Read More About
The Trilogy

About Me

I was born in Cardiff, South Wales and grew up in Tongwynlais, a village some five miles north of the capital.

Castell Coch (Red Castle) designed by William Burges for John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquis of Bute (1870s/80s) stands on a hill overlooking the village and I guess this fairy-tale castle was the inspiration for a number of my earliest experiments with storytelling and writing. My parents encouraged me in my love of books and reading has played a big part in my life. There’s no specific genre that I favour – I’ll read anything that (I consider) is well written!

As for the writing side of things – well, that was less of a constant initially, as I had no real focus for it. Most of my creative energies went into English essays. It wasn’t until I returned as a full-time (mature) Humanities student that I had the opportunity to both study, and participate in, Creative Writing. Most of my energies were directed towards poetry, although I did have some minor success with a short story competition. Over the following years I had poems accepted for publication in magazines, together with a critical article on the work of the Welsh writer, Menna Gallie. In 2014/2015, I was awarded both a runner-up prize and a highly commended place in Writers’ Forum magazine poetry competition.

It was only after I took early retirement from my job as Principal Lecturer/Director of the Wales Centre for Intergenerational Practice, at the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales), that I returned to writing prose and began experimenting with writing for children. In 2014, Ben and the Spider Gate, was accepted for publication by Book Guild Publishing Ltd.

Follow Me

Ben and the Spider Gate

Ben and the Spider GateBen loves chatting to his wise gran, playing computer games with his best friend Jess, and helping his dad to train his clever dog Scoot. Best of all though, he likes playing ball in the garden with Scoot. Then one hot summer day Ben meets Lox, the gate-keeper of the spider kingdom under the garden hedge. Lox desperately needs Ben’s help before the end of the autumn, but can Ben save the spider kingdom without leaving the garden and going into the deep, dark wood? The leaves are starting to fall, and Ben and Jess must take a brave decision if the spiders are to have a safe winter. Talking to Gran, Ben begins to suspect that she might know more about his quest than she’s admitting.

Ben and the Spider Gate is available at all good bookshops, or online at Amazon.

A heart-warming and magical tale which will really capture your child’s imagination. My son really enjoyed the book and very much identified with Ben and Lox. Each evening he wanted to hear the next instalment and was very captured by the story.
Maria Grachvogel

Ben and the Spider Prince

Ben and the Spider PrinceLox, the gate-keeper of the spider kingdom under the hedge in Ben’s garden, asks Ben for help again. The Spider Wizard needs three special ingredients before the next full moon to make a magic potion to cure the Spider Prince, but can Ben find them in time? He meets some unusual creatures on his quest who are not all as scary as they first seem. Ben wants to tell his best friend Jess but she’d rather spend time with the new girl in school, so he asks his gran instead. They look for clues on the computer and in the library, but how much does Gran really know, and will she tell Ben a secret that will keep him safe from Spindra, the evil sister of the Spider Queen?

Ben and the Spider Prince is available at all good bookshops, or online at Amazon.

The Spider Prince is a wonderful sequel full of adventure and magic. A story about loyalty and friendship that will totally capture your child’s heart.
Maria Grachvogel

Ben and the Spider Lake

Ben and the Spider Lake
In the summer holidays Ben, his family, his dog Scoot, and his best friend Jess, stay in a cottage near the Dark Mountains. Ben and Jess find out that there’s a lake inside the mountain called Spider Lake and they wonder if it’s the place that Ben’s Gran had told him about in the spring, when she gave him the power to make himself small so that he could help the Spider Wizard to save the Spider Prince. Scoot gets into trouble when he finds a way through a cave onto the path around the lake where Ben and Jess meet a white owl called Hiboo and a mysterious lady.

When Ben arrives home he finds out that the lane at the back of his garden is going to be dug up. He’s worried because he knows that the spiders who live under the lane will lose their home and could even be hurt. He has to find Lox, the guardian of the spider kingdom to tell him what’s going to happen. Ben and Jess try desperately to think of somewhere that the spiders could live but they only have four weeks before the workmen arrive. Can they find a safe home for the spiders in time? If they do, how will they move them? Is there anyone who could help? Maybe Gran has some ideas.

Find out more in September 2016.

The Spider Lake is a wonderful and enchanting adventure that continues the story of Ben and Jess. The quest to find their insect friends a new home tests their imagination and develops their friendship.
Maria Grachvogel

Published Work

Poetry

4.8.88 in Rearranging the Pyramids, (Polytechnic of Wales anthology) 1990

Farmhouse at Newry & A Lifeful of Haiku in Painting Pontypridd (Polytechnic of Wales anthology) 1991

Montserrat Ordonez's Instructions to Women: how to turn talk into action and write a thesis, a poem, a book, or nothing at all - New Welsh Review, 21, 1993, pp 120-122 (Full text)

Llandaff Cathedral, New Welsh Review, 47, (VolX11/111) Winter 1999-2000 p.63 (Full text)

Colours, New Welsh Review, 56, (Golden Jubilee Edition), July 2002 p.105 (Full text)

Wipe Out in Writers’ Forum Magazine poetry competition No.155 (Aug 2014) (Full text)

Call Collect in Writers’ Forum Magazine poetry competition No.159 (Jan 2015) (Full text)

Critical/Educational

Flight-deck of Experience - an exploration of the life and writings of Menna Gallie, New Welsh Review, 18, (Vol V No 2) 1992, pp 60-64

Wales at War: Alun Lewis and Other Writers - Study Guide,
University of Glamorgan, 1993. ISBN 0-948634-65-0

Fiction

Ben and the Spider Gate, Book Guild Publishing, 2015

Events

2015

23 October. Connaught House School, London.

04 November. Richard Pate School, Cheltenham.

27 November. Howell’s School, Llandaff, Cardiff – Christmas Fayre.

28 November. Garth Olwg Lifelong Learning Centre and Library, Pontypridd -  Christmas Craft Fair and "Storytime".

05 December. Book signing at Books and Pontyclun.

11 December. Book signing at Cafe Rana, Tonteg, Pontypridd.

14 December. Gwauncelyn School, Tonteg, Pontypridd.

16 December. Howell’s School, Llandaff, Cardiff.

·

2016

06 January. Became a member of the London Book Fair Authors’ Club.

23/24 January. ‘Write Now’ short course for authors re publication, pitching, agents and social media. Organised by the London Book Fair.

03 March. World Book day at Rhydypennau School, Cardiff.

12-14 April. London Book Fair, Olympia – first appearance of Ben and the Spider Prince.

04 June. Opening of Octavo’s Book Store, Café, Wine Bar, Cardiff Bay.

16 June. Maesybryn School, Pontypridd.

25 June. Maesybryn School Fete.

29 June. Connaught House School, London.

·

Forthcoming Events

Date TBC. Howell’s Junior School, Llandaff, Cardiff.

Date TBC. Pontyclun Junior School.

12 July. Howell’s School, Llandaff, Cardiff for Year 10 Employers’ Day Event.

03 September. Rhondda Book Fair, Soar Chapel, Penygraig.

24 September. Tenby Book Fair.

01 October. Carmarthen Book Fair/Pontyclun Book Fair (TBC).

22 October. Children’s Literature Fair, Garth Olwg Lifelong Learning Centre, Pontypridd – plus Writing for Children workshop for adults.

16 November. Howell’s School, Llandaff, Cardiff – Careers Convention.

02 December. Howell’s School, Llandaff, Cardiff – Christmas Fayre.

03 December. Garth Olwg Lifelong Learning Centre – Christmas Craft Fayre.

Praise for Ben and The Spider Gate

The author and ex-Howell's girl Angela Fish visited Year 2 today. Angela's book "Ben and the Spider Gate" isn't out until this September, but we were lucky enough to be sent a sneak preview copy a few weeks ago and so were thrilled to meet the author. We all had masses of questions to ask Angela, not only about the story, but also how she writes her books and where she gets her ideas. We saw illustrations from the book and learned all about the process of how it was published. We then had a real treat when Angela read out an extract from the next book in the series and had a huge surprise when she left us a copy of the new story to read. It won't be out until Spring next year so this is a real thrill - thank you so much, Angela!
Howell’s Junior School (Independent Girls’ School), July 2015

I sat in when the class teacher was reading Ben and the Spider Gate to the children at story time. It was clear from their faces that they were enjoying it. When it was time to finish the session, even I didn’t want the teacher to stop!
Classroom Assistant, St Michael’s R C Primary

The pupils were really keen to move on from chapter to chapter. I think they would have been happy to have heard the book all in one go! They were keen to find out more about how the story was written, so Angela Fish was invited in on World Book Day in March and I think she was surprised at the number of questions that they asked. I know that the teachers in the other classes that read the story feel the same way.
Teacher, St Michael’s R C Primary

Gran was my favourite – I think she’s wise and she’s kind.
Pupil, St Michael’s R C Primary

I liked Scoot because he’s like my dog – clever but a bit naughty.
Pupil, St Michael’s R C Primary

Ben was naughty to go into the woods and to take Jess with him, but he was only trying to help Lox and the other spiders.
Pupil, St Michael’s R C Primary

“A heart-warming and magical tale which will really capture your child’s imagination. My son really enjoyed the book and very much identified with Ben and Lox. Each evening he wanted to hear the next instalment and was very captured by the story.”
Maria Grachvogel, London-based Fashion Designer

Ben and the Spider Gate is a fantastic hardback book by Angela Fish. It is a stunningly well-written and delightful book for children and parents and very well-illustrated with some engaging and enchanting artwork throughout the book.
Extract from a review on “That’s Christmas”. http://thatschristmas.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/ben-and-spider-gate.html?spref=bl

Illustrated with some beautiful black and white drawings, it is the kind of book you will enjoy reading to your young children or grandchildren.
Extract from review by Brian Lee, in Cowbridge Gem and also in Bridgend and Porthcawl Recorder

My children aged 3 and 6 were hooked by this story and wouldn’t let me stop until we finished it all. I liked it as much as they did as it was quite different to the normal children stories we read. We can’t wait to read the next one when it’s released.
Amazon.co.uk review

We bought a Kindle Fire for our daughter for Christmas and she really wanted to read this book as the Author came into her school to talk about it. She was really pleased with it!
Amazon.co.uk review

A wonderful tale that will inspire children to explore their garden and all the secrets it holds, Ben and the Spider Gate is a heart-warming tale with themes of friendship and magic.
Lauren Lewis, Group Customer Services Manager (selected as one of The Book Guild "Staff picks").

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