WRITER

WRITING THAT PUTS THE GRR IN GIRL, THE ART IN FART: STORIES THAT GIVE KIDS A HUG.

HELLO


Urban and gritty I'm not

I'm more chocolate and snot

But stories need bite

So I'm never trite

Because children matter a lot.

My name is Jayne Kirkham and I am a writer with over thirty years experience working with and writing for children and young people.
I’ve written for theatre, film, television, radio and online. I’ve worked on projects ranging in size from small conservation films in Africa to international feature films. My most recent credits have been here in the UK for BBC’s Cbeebies: Tee and Mo, Bing and original poems and stories for radio podcasts. For more information about what I’ve done, click on “What I’ve Done”.

WHY I DO IT

Growing up on Exmoor gave me a lifelong love of nature, adventure and the mysterious. It also, surprisingly, nurtured a love of cinema, theatre and poetry. Having studied Film, Drama, English Literature and Screenwriting to Masters level, my first commission was a play for Radio 4. But having worked with children all my life, and having never grown out of watching kids TV, I decided to write for children and families.

Commissions include original feature films, adaptations of novels, shows for preschool, and older kids and online. I still write for grown ups (for example adapting Marina Lewyka’s novel Two Caravans, into an animated feature) but please don’t ask me to be all urban and gritty. I don’t do gritty but I do do muck.

Ha! I wrote do-do! Do-dos! I always like to squeeze out something earthy. But it has to be done with finesse, aplomb: I’m on a mission to put the art back into fart.

I’m also on a mission to put the grr back in girl. And boys actually: getting kids outdoors in stories and for real. I’m a canoe and kayak coach. I love the whoosh and wah-hay of white water. But I really love the woohoo of someone realising they are so much more than they ever imagined! I think stories should empower as well as entertain. Whether it’s explaining Armistice Day or exploring what it’s like to need a heart transplant, or simple whimsy and fun, I write stories that give kids a hug.

I do this because children’s media plays a powerful role in the development of our kids. This is also why I volunteer for the Children’s Media Foundation and spend a lot of my free time going into Parliament. I promote the need for diversity, quality and safety in all media for young people. As Baroness Floella Benjamin says, “Childhood lasts a lifetime.” That’s why I say children deserve the best media.

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Stories with action about

Girls that can fly,

Ostriches, bunnies and apes.

War stories, more stories,

Comedy, drama and tall stories

Of doctors, detectives and grapes.

  • Treasure Champs, Three Arrows Media

  • Little Roy – Jam Media, CBeebies/CBBC

  • Tee and Mo – Plug-in Media, Cbeebies

  • CBeebies Radio – CBeebies

  • Bing – Acamar, CBeebies

  • Ajani’s Great Ape Adventures – Nature for Kids

  • Olive The Ostrich – Blue Zoo Productions, Nick Jnr

  • Roze and the Robots – Gravy Media/Passion Pictures

  • NOKSU – Evergreen Films/Epidem, YLE TV1

  • Bowerbird – Artemisia Films

  • Last Night – Deadline Films/Irish Film Board

  • The Deadline – Deadline Films/Metrodome

  • Fei – Peach Blossom Media/Evergreen Entertainment

  • 6.6.04 – The Film Council

  • Where The Skylarks Nest – BBC Radio 4

  • The Children’s Media Foundation

  • Working with Young People

  • Brown and Sticky Productions


News, views, stories and stuff

No piffle or waffle, flimflam or guff

All things considered and not off the cuff

No more of this rhyme scheme: enuff is enuff!

  • TELLING THE STORIES OF CHILD REFUGEES

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Politics, Prix Jeunesse, Refugees, Religion, Writing for Children

    You might not have been aware that it was #refugeeawarenessweek recently.  No matter, the terrible situations that some people find themselves in sadly haven’t gone away so here are stories I wrote for #CBeebiesRadio

    With some minor adjustments to protect both the kids in the stories and the kids in the audience, each is a true story.

    You might want to rant that such subject matter is entirely inappropriate for young children but young children are living through these things.  Stories are there to help us understand and find ways to deal with what is going on around us.  These stories celebrate the resilience, courage and love of young people and nobody is too young to celebrate love.

    If you have read this far, then (oops I didn’t ask permission but as I wrote it… bad me) have this:

    Taking Flight

    Everyone needs a safe place to live,

    Like a bird’s nest lined with warm feathers:

    Full of kindness and love, it’s the place we call home,

    A refuge from the world and the weather.

     

    But storms can sometimes blow nests from the trees

    And winter brings frost, ice and snow.

    Birds have to fly south or else they would freeze;

    To survive until spring, they must go.

     

    Their journey can last for thousands of miles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest,

    Flying across deserts and oceans and isles

    With little food and no time to rest.

     

    And people too must sometimes take flight,

    Like birds they have to migrate

    From the cruelty of rulers and armies that fight,

    Blown by the ice winds of hate.

     

    This journey can last for thousands of miles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest,

    Crossing countries and deserts and oceans and isles

    With little food and no time to rest.

     

    But unlike the birds, these people have names:

    They’re not just a crowd on TV,

    They love and they laugh and they work and play games:

    They are people like you and like me.

     

    There’s Farah and Birhan, Hivi, Rafiq

    With sisters and aunties and mothers,

    Serbest, Amez, Natania, Sadiq

    With fathers, granddads and brothers.

     

    Refugee children love stories and art,

    They love chasing and shouting and play.

    They’re sporty, they’re funny, thoughtful and smart

    And dream of being grown up one day.

     

    Their journey can last thousands of miles,

    With little food and no time to rest.

    Crossing deserts and oceans with hope and with smiles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest.

     

    Then after the winter, the birds fly away,

    But not to wander or roam:

    They fly back to rebuild the nests that they left,

    To the safe places they once called home.

     

    And refugees too love the land where they lived

    And many hope to return there they say.

    When summer brings the warm wind that forgives

    There will be freedom and peace there, one day.

     

    Now that is a journey of thousands of miles

    And a daring and dangerous quest;

    Bringing peace and forgiveness, laughter and smiles

    But of all journeys, that one’s the best.

     

    For everyone needs a safe place to live,

    When we find it, there’s no need to roam.

    There we can grow and learn and forgive,

    Full of love, it’s the place we call home.

     

     

  • TOP TIPS ON TENNIS, TWINS AND #TISSUES ON #CBEEBIES RADIO

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Books, Children's Health, Children's stories, Education, Parenting, Screenwriting, Writing for Children

    This week it’s all runny noses in my #allergies story.  You can hear  about Shaniqua’s #hayfever with #DrRanj at

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio/tennis-twins-and-tissues

    Why doesn’t her twin sister get it?

    And what’s the top tennis tip?

    Is there a top tennis tip? You’ll have to listen to find out.  Carefully or you’ll miss it.

    You missed it didn’t you.

    Never mind.  The story isn’t aimed at you reading this – I suspect you are much older than six.  All of these allergy podcasts are written to help younger children.  Alongside the stories, children talk about their own allergies and Dr Ranj Singh gives helpful advice.  I hope that your little ones find them useful and of course enjoyable.

  • MY #CBEEBIES #PETALLERGY STORY: IT’S GOT #DRRANJ AND #GUINEAPIGS!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Books, Children's Health, Children's stories, Education, Nature, Parenting, Writing for Children

    Children and parents and, well anyone else, can listen to my story and find out what happens when a boy brings the school guinea pigs home in  Bohdan’s Beastly Allergy .  OK so the title has given away a bit about what happens but, look it’s got guinea pigs!  And pigeons.  And a little boy who desperately loves animals and cuddles.  And did I mention guinea pigs?

    This was possibly my favourite story in this series because the research involved guinea pigs and learning a new technical term: ‘pet dander’.   Jayne’s top tip: if dander ain’t dandy, then keep tissues handy…  Dr Ranj has proper top tips for sufferers of pet allergies at the end of the podcast.  But they don’t rhyme.

For screenwriting please contact Julian Friedmann -
Blake Friedmann Literary Agency Ltd,
First Floor, Selous House,
5-12 Mandela Street,
London
NW1 0DU
+44 20 7387 842
Julian@blakefriedmann.co.uk

For books please contact Chloe Seager -
Diane Banks Associates Ltd,
Cameo House,
11 Bear Street,
London
WC2 7AS
+44 20 7766 5290
chloe@dianebanks.co.uk

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