Thursday, 21 April 2016


Today is the day where Queen Elizabeth II becomes not only the longest reigning monarch in British history, but the first to reach the age of 90. Massive congratulations are in order!

Lovely author and passionate Royal-watcher Colin Edwards has been making the headlines too this week, and even made a television appearance in BBC documentary "The Day I Met the Queen" lead by Aled Jones, in the run up to the historic event of Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday today!

Credit: ITV Cymru

Over the past thirty years, Colin has met the Queen hundreds of times and has taken over six thousand of snaps of her. Colin is a familiar face to many members of the Royal Family, and was always referred to by name by Princess Diana - "Boys, come and meet my friend Colin!"

Colin says: “You’ve got to have a lot of stamina and be prepared to wait for hours sometimes, standing behind the barriers at the front. The Queen has obviously got to know me very well now, and she will come over and have a few words.”

Photograph from A Personal Portrait of the Royal Family

From these warm interactions, Colin has collected an impressive touching and honest portfolio of photographs, capturing a more personal and natural side to the Royal Family, displayed in his book published in 2014, A Personal Portrait of the Royal Family.

Colin continues: “My photographs are different because, unlike the paparazzi and professionally taken photographs, these were taken for my own pleasure. Yes I am an amateur, but my photographs benefit from that, they capture Her Majesty’s informality”

Credit: Ian Lang (Twitter)

In celebration of the historic 90th birthday, Colin is hosting a fortnight-long photography exhibition in his home town of Ruthin in North Wales, where he's displaying previously unseen photographs of Queen Elizabeth.

He also was interviewed by Aled Jones in a BBC five-part documentary “The Day I Met the Queen” which started on April 18th, and he has written a poem for the Queen which he sent to Windsor Castle as a birthday present, as is his tradition. Colin's photograph exhibition marking the Diamond Jubilee in 2000 was even attended by the Queen Mother herself (albeit with a few bodyguards as +1s)

“The Queen Mother attended my exhibition to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee accompanied by several bodyguards. She stayed admiring my photographs for nearly an hour, and she even signed my guest book. I think that, after all my interactions with her and her family over the years, it was her way of saying ‘thank you’. That was probably the highlight of my life.”

Candy Jar wishes a Happy 90th Birthday to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and many more!

A Personal Portrait of the Royal Family is a Candy Jar Books publication, and is available to purchase now directly from Candy Jar and to order from at all good retailers.

A Personal Portrait of the Royal Family

A familiar face at royal events, Colin Edwards, has collated his vast collection of photographs of the Royal Family to create a new book. Featuring never-before-seen images of Her Majesty The Queen, The Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales a public events, the author also provides emotive, personal accounts of his meetings with the Royals.

The House on March Lane - out now!

Happy Publication Day Michelle Briscombe!!

We're incredibly pleased to officially release Michelle's latest endeavour, The House on March Lane. 

Full to the brim with mystery and ghostly goings-on, The House on March Lane is the second children's fiction novel from Barry author Michelle, and with an beautifully created cover by the wonderfully talented illustrator Hannah Peck, we're  proud to release this book to you!
With a cover that pulls you in to the mystery that lies behind the door, you won't be able to resist opening the book and taking that first step in to the story.

In 1836, Harriet’s papa, a ship’s officer on HMS Beagle, returns from a long journey at sea. On his arrival home, Harriet and her friend Lily become involved in a dangerous secret with tragic consequences.

Almost two centuries later, Flora’s best friend Archie experiences a ghostly encounter at her dad’s reclamation and salvage yard.

The haunting takes the two friends on a detective adventure with a difference, and leads them to an unexpected and supernatural discovery.

Flora and Archie & Harriet and Lily’s lives are soon entwined in a way that they could never have imagined possible.

The House on March Lane follows Michelle's first novel Silent Mountain, also published by Candy Jar Books. The story followed the adventures of Jack Jupiter, a hero with a difference. Readers who enjoyed Silent Mountain have been waiting for Michelle's return to children's fiction, and The House on March Lane is absolutely Michelle back with a bang.

Michelle Briscombe was born in Cardiff but now lives in Barry, South Wales, with her two children and husband. For the last twelve years she has worked in a primary school in the Vale of Glamorgan and is currently undertaking her final year for a BA in Primary Education.

If you want to find out more about Michelle, you can find her on Author Hotline, or follow her Twitter @MichelleBrisc.

If you love Hannah's artwork as much as we do, you can find her on Twitter and Instagram, and check out her website.

The House on March Lane, Michelle Briscombe
Cover work by Hannah Peck
ISBN: 978-0-9933221-2-9
RRP: £6.99
The House on March Lane is available to buy directly from Candy Jar Books, Amazon and all good retailers.
This title is available from Marstons, Bertrams and Gardners, as are all of our titles.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Search For Mister Lloyd by Griff Rowland shortlisted for Tir Na n-Og Award

Big News! The Search For Mister Lloyd by Griff Rowland has been shortlisted for the Tir na n-Og Awards 2016. We couldn't be prouder!

The Welsh Books Council has announced the titles on the shortlist of the prestigious Tir na n-Og Awards for 2016. The awards celebrate a special 40th birthday this year and there is much excitement surrounding the announcement of the winning title.

This year’s shortlisted titles for the Best English-language Book with an authentic Welsh background, as chosen by the awarding panel are:

The Search for Mister Lloyd – Griff Rowland (Candy Jar Books)
Longbow Girl – Linda Davies (Chicken House)
The Four Branches of the Mabinogi – Siân Lewis (author) and Valériane Leblond (illustrator) (Rily)
Ruck in the Muck – Ceri Wyn Jones (Gomer)

Bethan M. Hughes, Reading Services Manager at Denbighshire Libraries and Chair of the English-language Selection Panel, said: “The panel was pleased with the general standard of the output, with particular praise for the physical quality and design of the selected titles. We were delighted to agree on a shortlist which provides for the widest age range, from a picture book to young adult fiction.”

The Search for Mister Lloyd by Griff Rowland (Candy Jar Books) tells the tale of Mostyn Price’s attempts to find his racing pigeon, Mister Lloyd, which failed to return from a race. Full of rich language and creative images, this is a pacy modern quest story full of emotional peaks and troughs. Told from different narrative viewpoints, it intrigues and engages the reader from the outset with its chatty direct style which cleverly parodies old public information films and modern online chat. It explores family relationships, especially the role of the father figure, and the support and loyalty of friendships. Set in both Bangor and London, it weaves Welsh phrases and names effortlessly into the narrative. This is a novel which makes you laugh one minute and which tugs at your heartstrings the next, full of memorable scenes and dilemmas.

Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Books Council, said: “It’s more important than ever that publications for children and young people are exciting, attractive and of the highest quality. This is the way to attract children and to ensure that they become lifetime readers. The Tir na n-Og Awards, for Welsh and English books from Wales, have an obvious role in exhibiting and promoting the best in the field and we congratulate the authors, illustrators and publishers who have reached this year’s shortlist.”

The Tir na n-Og Awards were established in 1976 with the intention of raising the standards of children’s and young people’s books in Wales, and to encourage the buying and reading of good books. Three awards are presented annually by the Books Council and are sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Cymru/Wales and Cymdeithas Lyfrau Ceredigion.

Also highly commended by the 2016 judging panel were:
· White Petals by Maria Grace (Firefly Press)
· Mo Can’t Go by Rob Lewis (Pont Books)
· Elen’s Island by Eloise Williams (Firefly Press)

Full details and reviews of the books can be viewed on

Woo! We're so pleased that The Search For Mister Lloyd has been recognised for its quality, creativity and all around greatness. A massive congratulations to the talented author Griff Rowland.

The name of the winner of the English-language award will be announced at a special event at Swansea Library during the CILIP Cymru Library and Information Conference on Thursday, 26 May.

The full Press Release can be found here

We'll be keeping our fingers crossed!

The Search For Mister Lloyd, Griff Rowland
ISBN: 9780993119170
RRP: £7.99

The Search For Mister Lloyd is out now and available from the Candy Jar webstore and other good retailers.

Check out the GWALES review of The Search For Mister Lloyd here

Monday, 4 April 2016

The House on March Lane by Michelle Briscombe: Now available to pre-order

Candy Jar Books is releasing the much awaited second book from Michelle Briscombe, author of Silent Mountain and Literature Wales Writers Bursary recipient of 2015. The House on March Lane is here, and the cover has finally been revealed! 

Following her first book featuring Jack Jupiter, a normal boy on a not so normal adventure, readers have been waiting with baited breath for Michelle's return to fiction. After Silent Mountain's Tir na n-Og award nomination, as well as it being the book of choice for the winning school of Bookslam 2014, we're certainly not the only ones who have been dying to see what other stories Michelle has to tell, and with The House on March Lane she definitely hasn't disappointed...

In 1836, Harriet's papa, a ship's officer on HMS Beagle, returns from a long journey at sea.

On his arrival home, Harriet and her friend Lily become involved in a dangerous secret with tragic consequences.

Almost two centuries later, Flora's best friend Archie experiences a ghostly encounter at her dad's reclamation and salvage yard.

The haunting takes the two friends on a detective adventure with a difference, and leads them to an unexpected and supernatural discovery.

Flora and Archie & Harriet and Lily's lives are soon entwined in a way that they could never have imagined possible.

With an elegant and and gorgeously eery design by the incredibly talented illustrator Hannah Peck, we are so excited to finally be able to reveal this new cover!

The House on March Lane is out April 21st, currently available to pre-order on the Candy Jar Store and Amazon.

Check out Hannah's other beautiful work on her Instagram and at

The House on March Lane by Michelle Briscombe
ISBN: 978-0993322129
RRP: £7.99
            Michelle Briscombe was born in Cardiff but now lives in Barry, South Wales, with her two children and husband. For the last twelve years she has worked in a primary school in the Vale of Glamorgan and is currently undertaking her final year for a BA in Primary Education.

Keep up to date by following us @Candy_Jar, see what Michelle's up to @MichelleBrisc and have a peek at Hannah's latest creations @hpillustration_

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Brian Moses @ Chiddingstone Literary Festival 2016

Our fabulous author Brian Moses is set to appear in the event line-up at Chiddingstone Literary Festival this coming May with his childhood autobiography. 

Organised over the May Bank Holiday, this year will mark the first Chiddingstone Literature Festival, set in the iconic Chiddingstone Castle, Kent. Local author and poet Brian Moses, a tireless and passionate advocate for spreading his love of poetry and literature to children across the nation, will be appearing on Monday 2nd May talking life, love and growing up on the sea-side, as well as performing his performance poetry workshop “The Alternative 3Rs – Rap, Rhythm and Rhyme”.

This Bank Holiday workshop will see Brian performing a few of his best-loved poems including Shopping Trolley, The Ssssnake Hotel, Billy’s Coming Back and his well-known hit Walking With My Iguana – the most listened to poem on The Poetry Archive – as well sharing some of his favourite parts from his childhood memoir Keeping Clear of Paradise Street which tells the tale of exactly what he got up to growing up in 1950s Ramsgate.

As always, we're super proud to see Brian heading off to entertain the masses with his charming words, and with a resume of over 3000 school visits throughout his career, we know that his will not be an event to miss out on!

The events will be taking place in quite a location; the impressive Chiddingstone Castle in Kent is sure to offer excellent acoustics for Brian's percussive poetry.

See the full schedule for Chiddingstone Literary Festival here, and tickets for Brian's event are available online:

If you want to get ahead of the game, Brian's book Keeping Clear of Paradise Street is out now and available from the Candy Jar webstore, as well as other good retailers. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

Are today's children mollycoddled?

When you think about your childhood, what are the memories that stand out most? 

These days, the average child spends less than half an hour a week playing outside; a third of children have never climbed a tree and only 10% walk to school. And yet study after study has confirmed the benefits of children spending time, unsupervised, in the great outdoors.

Brian Moses' childhood was, well, somewhat different: “I would be shooed out of the house in the morning, not to be been seen again until mealtimes. Between those times, I was effectively free to do whatever I liked, whether shutting down the street with impromptu go kart races, terrorising the park keeper in pursuit of conkers, or letting freshly caught crabs run havoc across the sea front."

Brian, one of Britain's most loved poets, is hoping that his newest book Keeping Clear of Paradise Street will help parents re-examine their own childhood adventures. He believes that the great outdoors can be beneficial to young minds.

The Ramsgate writer and poet, with over 200 published works, has now written his childhood autobiography. Keeping Clear of Paradise Street is a heart-warming coming-of-age story that transports the reader back to 1950s Ramsgate, and the tail-end of the golden age of the British seaside.

As a former teacher and frequent speaker at educational conferences – with more than a million book sales to his name – Brian feels it’s time to revisit his Ramsgate childhood. His book is aimed principally at children, but nostalgic adults will find his stories of equal interest. Covering universal themes such as first days at schools, first loves, bullying and teenage mischief, Keeping Clear of Paradise Street is a timeless account of the trials and tribulations of growing up.

In the last 30 years Brian has visited more than 3000 schools and has seen fads come and go, but he believes children have stayed the same.

“The current generation gets a lot of flak for just wanting to sit inside and play video games all day. But I think this a symptom of parenting. Often, these days, parents are so wary of letting their kids out their sight. My book urges these parents to set their children free. In the 1950s and 60s, my friends and I would invent games for ourselves to play, and our success in these games would depend on our own imaginations.

“Of course, it’s important that children are always safe. However, keeping a child physically active is also important for their long-term emotional wellbeing: a child who regularly plays outside is likely to be more sociable, self-sufficient and self-disciplined than one who is instead kept inside and under supervision.”

Keeping Clear of Paradise Street is out now, available from the Candy Jar webstore and other good retailers. 

Brian Moses is available for interviews and appearances.

What are some of your favourite - and craziest! -  childhood memories? Tweet us @candy_jar

Thursday, 31 March 2016

The London Book Fair 2016: We're Going!

We love a good book fair, us.

Candy Jar is excited to be going on a road-trip to the London Book Fair once again this year, and will be there on 12th & 13th April. After last year's great experience of meeting some really interesting people and talking all things books and publishing, we're especially looking forward to networking and building some new relationships and making connections at one of the most esteemed literature events of the year.

If you are planning on attending, give us a shout and we will come and say hi! 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Easter Bank Holiday Deals!

Easter Bank Holiday is here, and we've got some exciting Candy Jar offers for you!!

This Easter Bank Holiday, we're feeling pretty generous and have got a bunch of sweet offers on our exciting book titles!

While we whole-heartedly support the giving of Easter eggs this weekend (and if you have any spares we will happily accept them), don't miss out on our egg-cellent  book deals! 

Check out the Candy Jar store to indulge on our treats!

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Schizoid Earth £8.99 
NOW £5.99

Lethbridge-Stewart: Beast of Fang Rock £8.99 
NOW £5.99

Space, Time, Machine, Monster £6.99 
NOW £4.99

Thinner Than Water £7.99 
NOW £4.99 

The World Champions Boxing Quiz Book £4.99 
NOW £3.99

A Personal Portrait of the Royal Family £15 
NOW £7.50

Beware Of The Mirror Man £6.99  
NOW £4.99

Breaking The Surface 
£10.99 NOW £2.99

Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 
£8.99 NOW £6.99

Tommy Parker: Destiny Will Find You! £6.99 
NOW £4.99

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son Audio CD including The Schizoid Earth paperback £26.98 
NOW £18.99

Don't miss out!

Friday, 18 March 2016


A Glamorous Evening Awaits
Last night we glammed up for the Cardiff Life Awards to celebrate the best of Cardiff and beyond. We were thrilled to be nominated as one of the finalists in their Creative Category for 2016.  Although we didn't win, we had a wonderful evening and Hayley even managed to win free flights to Berlin! Result! It was wonderful to be considered for such a prestigious award and to celebrate all the different companies making a difference in the development, creativity and culture in Cardiff. Congratulations to all the winners last night:

Shaun and Hayley looking dapper!
  • Event- Cardiff Children's Literature Festival
  • Creative- Real SFX
  • Hair- Goji Hair
  • Restaurant- Moksh Restaurant
  • Property- Moginie James
  • Arts- Chapter Arts Centre
  • Cocktail Bar- The Dead Canary
  • Leisure and Tourism- The Vale Resort
  • New Business- The Danish Bakery
  • Professional Services- Mrs Bucket Cleaning Services
  • Retailer- Home By Kirsty
  • Watering Hole- Old Swan Inn
  • Gastropub- Hare & Hounds
  • Cafe and Coffee Shop- Penylan Pantry
  • Interiors- Project One
  • Health- Nicola Taaffe
  • Beauty- Laguna Health Spa
  • Platinum Award- Chapter Arts Centre
A huge thank you to the Cardiff Life Awards team for the nomination and we hope to come back again next year!
Free flights to Berlin!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Spread The Word!

Last Thursday was World Book Day, and to celebrate we headed on mass down to Merthyr Tydfil for the inaugural Spread The Word Festival, organised by Stephens and George Charitable Trust. School children of all ages were invited in their thousands to enter a world of pure imagination from loads of the local schools. Among the sea of craft stalls and fairground rides, Candy Jar was on hand selling books signed by our authors and meeting all the local school children. There were nearly three hundred events at various locations across Merthyr Tydfil, including a drama workshop with Waterloo Road’s Richard Mylan. Candy Jar authors Mark Brake and Jon Chase, Alison Thomas, Andy Frankham-Allen and Lorraine Bowen hosted sessions at the event, as well as a workshop run by illustrator Richard Young. Even Captain Jack Sparrow was able to turn up, also known as entertainer, performer and illustrator Terry Cooper.

In St David’s Parish Church Andy Frankham-Allen hosted a workshop talking about the everyday dilemma’s of time-travel, covering everything from Doctor Who and Anthony Ormond’s Tommy Parker: Destiny Will Find You! to Back To The Future.
Science duo Mark Brake and Jon Chase were there too and blew away the children of Merthyr with their The Science of Doctor Who road-show, talking all things sci-fi and inspiring the audience to make their own real life science experiments for their Space Time Machine Monster Competition, in partnership with the Welsh Books Council.

In the Tydfil Training Centre, author Alison Thomas lead a workshop with her magical friend Ddraig, chatting about her children’s fantasy-adventure book Amulet and inviting the children to take part in a fold-over poem. At Hope Church, Britain’s Got Talent contestant and crumble enthusiast Lorraine Bowen put on an all-singing all-dancing show for the children, who sang along and learnt that everybody’s good at cooking something, and Lorraine’s good at cooking crumble! 

With all this excitement going on elsewhere, the rest of us were all hands on deck at our outdoor stall, selling signed copies of the author’s books and getting involved with the action in the Charitable Trust’s spectacular reinvention of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It got really intense...

Thanks so much to Stephens and George for inviting us to get involved with the Merthyr literary community. We met a load  of great people, and it was so lovely to see all the school children getting into the workshops and dressing up as their favourite book characters. With the Roald Dahl theme, we have never see so many Oompa Loompas in our lives! 


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

World Book Day: Candy Jar Talks Roald Dahl and Childhood Favourites

You've probably heard that Candy Jar will be at the Merthyr Tydfil Spread The Word Arts & Literary Festival on World Book Day this coming Thursday 3rd March; one of the largest growing World Book Day events across in the UK. We are very, very excited!

This year’s Spread The Word Festival is a celebration of one of children’s literature’s greatest, Roald Dahl. This year marks what would be the 100th birthday of the iconic writer on September 13th 1916, and there will be events celebrating the mind who brought us institutions like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda going on throughout the year and across Cardiff and Wales.

With the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed festival looming, we’ve been chatting away about our favourite Roald Dahl books from when we were growing up.

Shaun’s favourite: The Magic Finger 

We've got all the Roald Dahl books in our house - my girls love them! The Magic Finger really caught my imagination when I was younger, I just thought it was quite strange. It’s the Roald Dahl book that people don’t talk about as much, and I really like the juxtaposition of the characters and how the ducks and the people swap roles.

My favourite part is when they wake up and the Gregg family first realise that they’ve swapped places; they’ve turned into tiny people with wings and the ducks have grown to people size and they have arms instead!

Favourite quote:
“Don’t shoot! Please don’t shoot!”
“Why not?” said one of the ducks. “You are always shooting at us.”
“Oh, but that’s not the same! Said Mr. Gregg. “We are allowed to shoot ducks.”
“Who allows you?”asked the duck.
“We allow each other,” said Mr. Gregg.
“Very nice,” said the duck.” And now we are going to allow each other to shoot you.”

 Will’s favourite: George’s Marvellous Medicine 

I think George’s Marvellous Medicine was my favourite as a kid, purely because I remember reading it so many times. I loved that it was all about wanting to “one-up” the grown-ups and the rubbish relatives!
I think my favourite part was when George blew up the nan!

Favourite quote: 
“Lalalalalalalala I have nothing to say!”
(Either that or: “Never grow up – always grow down.”)

Hayley’s favourite: The Twits

The Twits is definitely my favourite Roald Dahl book. I really liked the illustrations by Quentin Blake, I remember a really gross one of the beard with all food in it!

I love that the characters were always playing tricks on one another and that they were really badly behaved – and I went to see a show of the book when I was little.

Favourite quote: 
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Lauren’s favourite: The BFG 

I loved The BFG, the book and the animated film; I’m a bit nervous about the remake! I liked that the main character Sophie was a bit lonely until she meets the BFG, and they sort of find eachother even though they’re both sort of left out in their own worlds. And the snozzcumbers, I liked them too.

My favourite part is when the BFG takes Sophie to the room full of the dream jars, and I always like the idea of “witching hour” which I fully believed in as a child!

Favourite quote: 
“Two rights don’t equal a left”

... and one from our author Jane Cohen who popped in to say hi!

Jane's favourite: The Witches

Roald Dahl is one of my absolute favourites! I loved The Witches; the magic in it, the way the girl moves in the picture into different positions and grows old in the photograph, and I loved that the witches all owned sweet shops to entice the children.

Favourite quote: 
"Witches of England you're a disgrace!" (and then she brings her potion out!)

We’ve also been obsessively browsing the internet for all things Roald Dahl, and here are a few of our favourite facts about the Llandaff-born author:

  • His first children’s book is usually considered to be James and the Giant Peach, but actually it is The Gremlins, based on WW2 RAF folklore. The Gremlins was written when Dahl was stationed in Washington in 1942. Dahl already has a career as a WW2 fighter pilot, having flown planes in North Africa. The Gremlins takes place in southern England during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The made-up "gremlins" were commonly given the blame by the RAF personnel when anything went wrong throughout the Second World War, as Eileen Younghusband will well know.
  • Roald Dahl actually co-wrote the screenplay for the children’s classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the novel of the same name by Bond writer Ian Fleming. He was, in fact, the creative mind behind the chilling and villainous character The Child Snatcher (who terrifies the best of us to this day... even if we are too old for bedtime stories!), as the character didn't appear in the original novel. Thanks, Roald Dahl... 
    Sorry for the nightmares...

  • The Fantastic Mr Fox was, at least partly, inspired by a tree that sat outside Roald Dahl’s house in Great Missenden. He used to call it the “witching tree” and tell his children stories about the family of foxes who lived inside it.
What was your favourite Roald Dahl book? Tweet us and tell us your favourites at @Candy_Jar!