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Ally Sherrick loves exploring ruined castles and decaying mansions and imagining what it must have been like to live in them without electricity and hot and cold running water – although she’s quite glad she doesn’t have to herself!

She has a BA in medieval history and French from the University of Newcastle and an MA in Writing for Children at the University of Winchester. She has spent most of her professional career working in public relations and marketing on a whole host of projects from the promotion of Britain to overseas visitors to science festivals and Olympics celebrations. Now, though, she is lucky enough to spend most of her time dreaming up characters and plots and getting them down on paper before they have a chance to escape.

She is married and lives with her husband and assorted garden wildlife in Farnham, Surrey. BLACK POWDER, Ally’s first novel, won the Historical Association’s Young Quills Award in 2017 and also won the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards in the ‘Moving On’ category in 2017, as well as being shortlisted for a number of other regional book awards.



England, 1605.

12-year-old Tom must save his father from hanging. He falls in with a mysterious stranger – the Falcon – who promises to help in exchange for his service. But on the long journey to London, Tom discovers the Falcon’s true mission – and a plot to blow up Parliament with barrels of black powder.

Tom faces a terrible decision: secure his father’s release, or stop the assassination of the king …


It’s World War Two and Britain is on the brink of invasion. Londoner George has been sent to live in in the countryside while his brother and guardian, Charlie, fights with the RAF. But the war is closer than he thinks.

An ancient burial ground nearby contains a priceless treasure, a magical Anglo-Saxon crown Hitler is desperate to possess. Alongside Kitty, the granddaughter of a Jewish archaeologist, George must find and protect the crown from the Nazi invaders before it’s too late …

Both PJ and Amy were fantastic – very encouraging, open and supportive. So pleased to have been able to attend the course.