Get FREE printable fun to your inbox, every other Wednesday with The Meow!

Elevenses with… Sylvia Bishop

Good afternoon! Today I’m tucking into a steaming bowl of apple crumble with the brilliant Sylvia Bishop, author of Erica’s Elephant and The Bookshop Girl (amongst others!). 

Hi Sylvia! What is the first thing you remember writing?

There were various projects at school, but the first thing I remember getting really stuck into at home was a magical story about quadruplets who could talk to each other telepathically, and were royalty on an island where four was a portentous number. I found some of it recently and honestly I’m not sure I’ve got much better in the meantime. Not sure whether that makes me feel good or bad.

What location from a story would you like to visit?

Sara Crewe’s attic in the Little Princess, after it’s been secretly filled up with beautiful things by her neighbours, to surprise her. I’m a sucker for anything cosy and that scene just blows me away.

Which character from a book would you like to meet in person?

Oh, that’s hard! Right now in lockdown I might choose Olga da Polga, Michael Bond’s mischievous guinea pig. I used to love the quiet company of my guinea pigs on my lap as a child. I’m missing a lot of people right now, and it might be nice to have a cheeky Olga da Polga on my lap while I work to cheer me up.

From whom would you most like to receive a letter?

I’ve already had it in real life! Dianna Wynne Jones is my writer idol, and she wrote to me when I was nine. It’s a wonderful letter, and I still have it. I can’t beat that.

Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Start writing! No-one gives you permission to be a writer, and the job never gets fancier or more ‘real’ – it’s still just me, a biro and a notepad (I like to hand write first). I often do it in my pyjamas, and it’s just the same as doing it when I was young. So don’t wait. Read, too; that’s the single best education in writing well.

What is your next book about?

I have a book coming out on 23rd July about a girl who wants to please her pianist parents by getting good at the piano herself. She receives some mysterious help in the form of forty-four African pygmy mice… It’s a story about being yourself, and truthfulness. And lots of mice.

What is the silliest word you can think of?

Discombobulate. Mmmm. Sometimes when things are a bit serious it’s soothing just to remember that this is a real actual word in the world.

Sylvia’s book 44 Tiny Secrets is available to pre-order now!

Enjoy this blog?

Find out more about Banjo Robinson on our website here.

Sign up to receive free printables every Thursday here.

For more blogs including our Holidays at Home features click here.

Animated gif of Banjo Robinson on a typewriter.
The world of Banjo Robinson banner Image.