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Christopher William Hill is an award-winning playwright, radio dramatist and children’s author.

His stage plays include Lam, Inglorious Technicolour, Icons, Song of the Western Men and Blood Red, Saffron Yellow.

In 2013 his play Mister Holgado was shortlisted for best Theatre Play for Young People in the Writers’ Guild Awards and won Best Show for Children and Young People at the UK Theatre Awards. He has written two plays for National Theatre Connections, Multiplex and Heartbreak Beautiful, which have been performed throughout the UK and internationally.

Christopher has written many plays for BBC Radio 4 and three comedy series: On the Rocks, Says on the Tin and Tomorrow, Today! His play Killing Maestros won the inaugural Peter Tinniswood Award and a BBC Radio & Music Award.

Christopher is currently writing the Tales From Schwartzgarten series for Orchard Books: Osbert the Avenger, The Woebegone Twins, The Lily-Livered Prince and Marius and the Band Of Blood. The first book in the series, Osbert the Avenger, was shortlisted for the Leeds Children’s Book Award, was runner-up in the Northern Ireland Book Award and won the East Sussex Children’s Book Award.


The first book in the gruesomely funny Tales from Schwartzgarten series.

Meet Osbert Brinkhoff, the unlikeliest of avengers. His is a tale of dark delights and ghastly goings-on, of injustice and revenge. The villains are vicious. The settings are sinister. And good does NOT always prevail…

If you prefer cleavers to kittens and fiends to fairies…then welcome to the GRUESOMELY FUNNY Tales from Schwartzgarten.


When twins Greta and Feliks are sent to the ill-omened Schwartzgarten Reformatory for Maladjusted Children it seems their fate is sealed: that is until they are rescued by the glamorous Olga Van Veenen, a fabulously wealthy children’s author, plagued by writer’s block. But Olga’s life is apparently in danger, threatened by a second-rate novelist who wishes to see his rival dead. When Olga and her faithful retainer, Valentin, disappear from the eerie and imposing Castle Van Veenen, many miles north by train from Schwartzgarten’s Imperial Railway Station, Greta and Feliks conclude that the murderous novelist has finally exacted his revenge on Olga. Only by using their wits are the twins able to rescue their guardian before it is too late. As if by magic, Olga’s writer’s block lifts, and she quickly produces and publishes a new book for children. The novel has eerie similarities to the twins’ adventures in Castle Van Veenen, and Greta and Feliks begin to question whether their guardian has deliberately placed them in danger for literary inspiration. But Olga Van Veenen has come too far to have her reputation muddied by the allegations of the twins, and will stop at nothing to silence them forever.


Following the deaths of Marius’s parents in a cable car accident in an alpine town outside Schwartzgarten, the boy is sent to Schwartzgarten to live with his Great Uncle, the 96-year-old chocolate maker, M. Kalvitas. But is the city a safe place for orphans to live? The Department of Police has reports that children are being abducted and smuggled from the city – but how, and more importantly, why? When Marius encounters the Band of Blood, a group of orphaned children who live in a dilapidated hotel in Schwartzgarten’s mysterious Old Town, it seems they have a theory to explain the abductions. Could it be that the new chocolate shop in the artisan quarter of the city is a front for the kidnappings? Time is running out before they themselves are dragged from the dark city streets and spirited out of the city. Luckily, the members of the Band of Blood have Great Uncle Kalvitas on their side. But is Kalvitas really the ancient war hero he claims to be and can he save his Great Nephew from the abductors?


Meet Marius Myerdorf, the newest recruit of Schwartzgarten’s most secret of societies. His is a tale of adventure and abduction, friendship and fearlessness, as The Band of Blood race against time to unmask two of the foulest fiends in the history of the Great City. The deeds are DASTARDLY. The twists are TERRIFYING. And happy endings are NOT always guaranteed. If you prefer CLEAVERS to KITTENS and FIENDS to FAIRIES…then welcome to the gruesomely funny Tales from Schwartzgarten.

Such an encouraging day. I do feel a complete technophobe sometimes – but the course has done much to convince me that there’s a way forward.