Now I like the look of this! The lovely people at the Jackfield Tile Museum near Ironbridge in Shropshire open the John Scott Gallery in October that will be home to a world-class collection of British decorative tiles. The 1,300 individual tiles and 310 panels feature a roll call of design names including Pugin, Dresser, Morris, De Morgan and Bawden, donated by errr…Mr John Scott who kept the display in his London home. The stunning tile, pictured here, is one of the particular treasures created by William De Morgan. The gallery opens on October 16th. For further details go to

York Theatre Royal which got some great news at the end of last term – namely a £4.1million redevelopment project that starts next March. Find out more at

The appeal of Harry Potter continues unabated with Bloomsbury unveiling a new children’s jacket for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (pictured here). This is part of a new look for the children’s hardback and paperback editions of the series, illustrated by award-winning artist Jonny Duddle, whose work has also appeared in Terry Pratchett novels. The jacket depicts Harry’s Patronus and the Dementors. All seven new editions were published this month (September) and will also be exclusively available in eBook format at the

I had a bit of fun with the latest teacher resources from Globe Education. Called Staging It, it brings alive the experience of directing for KS3 and 4 students. Developed by design and creation studio Play Nicely, it features key duologues from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing which are presented, line by line, in specially-created footage shot on the Globe stage. My Beatrix and Benedict went from dismissive to flirty – didn’t quite work in my opinion but what fun! Check it out at On another note: The lovely Janie Dee emails to tell me that she be playing Titania/Hippolyta on the Globe’s forthcoming tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the Far East and Russia this autumn. Safe journey, Janie!


Jane Austen’s House Museum has appointed Maura Dooley, above,  as its first poet in residence Marura, who teaches at Goldsmiths College, University of London and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has published a number of collections of poetry and has twice been short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Award. She will spend about a day a week at the Museum organising workshops, readings and other poetry inspired activities while also working on her own poetry. The residency, funded by Arts Council England, will give students and writers the opportunity to respond to the house and village where Jane lived and worked.

And here is some good news from the National Literacy Trust which reports that children’s enjoyment of reading has increased for the first time in eight years. The survey  of 30,000 8 to 16-year-olds found 53.3% of young people enjoy reading either ‘very much’ or ‘quite a lot’, compared to 51.4% in 2005. Only 10% of children and young people say they don’t enjoy reading with 32.2% of young people reading outside class daily. And there’s more: around 39% of children surveyed said reading is cool. Well, knock me down with a feather…

Time to get booking for this year’s Manchester Literature Festival 2014, which has, as ever, a fantastic line-up. It runs from October 6-19 and features a glittering stage of literary stars far too many of whom to mention here. More info at

Talking of ‘lit’ if you have a mo,  head for Winchester, which hosts a major new Poetry Festival bringing together 30 poets and writers to the city, including Brian Patten (who lived in Winchester during the late 60s) Patience Agbabi, Ros Barber, David Constantine, Christopher Reid, Michael Longley, Kate Firth and Jackie Kay. More info at

And finally, talking of booking: I expect Ink Pellet which will be enjoying a trip to Neverland at the Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells where Mark Moraghan and Gemma Hunt will be leading the cheers and boos. Get inspiration for your Christmas treat in our panto  advertisement spread on the centre pages…