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 museum installations to international feature films. For more information about what I’ve done, click on “What I’ve Done”.
Growing up on Exmoor gave me a lifelong love of nature, adventure and the mysterious. It also, one way or another, 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 cartoons, 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 will write for grown-ups (I adapted Marina Lewyka’s novel Two Caravans, into an animated feature for Blue Zoo) but please don’t ask me to be all urban and gritty. I don’t do gritty but I do do muck.
Snort: I wrote do-do! Do-dos! I do 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. Or is it the other way round?
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. I write stories that give kids a hug.
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.
Toad and Friends, HoHo Entertainment/Cartoon Network
Showtown, The Museum of Fun and Entertainment
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
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!
THE GREAT MIGRATION
Twenty-two toads were crossing the road
To get to their ancestral pond;
Along came a berk, driving home from work,
And the twenty-two toads were all gone.
Stunned by the shockwaves of wheels whizzing by,
Squashed by rubber on road;
Stuck in the tread, it’s fair to say all were dead.
And in the pond not one tadpole or toad.
Twenty more toads were crossing the road
And in danger of The Great Beyond.
I don’t like to brag but I had a bucket, not bag,
And took all twenty toads to the pond.
Centuries of lies have given toads a bad press;
No one cares if they’re squished in the end.
Misunderstood, in fact toads are good:
Eating pests, they’re The Gardener’s Friend.
But with housing developments, habitat loss,
Fast motor cars and new roads:
The future’s not bright and it’s really not right
That we’re losing our once common toads.
So please watch for amphibians crossing your roads
(Creatures of which I’ve grown fond),
Help stem this loss; help them to cross
And bring Life back to field, garden and pond.
Toad Patrolling- quite frankly, there are probably better, certainly warmer, ways to spend a night in early spring but I can’t think of them. The silence that falls after the last blackbird has roosted, the sight of an owl, a badger…and then they start to appear: walking with purpose, sitting up on the look out… and then you hear them singing. Frogs croak but toads sing. And that, my friends, you need to experience for yourselves.
If you have a mind to help the UK’s declining amphibian population (toads, frogs, newts), Froglife is a fantastic organisation. They’ll put you in touch with your nearest patrols. Otherwise – I mean also!- please support the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust or -and I mean also!- your local Wildlife Trust
Wahey! I’m getting better at these update bloggery things – only six months has passed since the last post.
Is it too late to say Happy New Year?
We’ve already passed the Ides
Well I’m going to say it anyway
It’s my blog: I’m the one who decides.
And ‘Twenty Four” looks to be a peach,
At least in my world anyhoo:
With that museum opening, and Toad on TV,
I have lots to look forward to:
Like a new commission just starting
Full of laughter, fun and good cheer.
So I’m going to blog you blessings
And wish you a very Happy New Year.
There, I’ve said it. A whole year of tests, more tests, then- ooh tests. And trying not to worry, and trying not to feel glum. Which of course meant on top of being ill I got the glurries – which is when you worry that you’re feeling glum – and then I got the worms. Which is a different thing altogether.
But it all gave me time to slow up, slow down, and finally get that book written!
Actually it’s a series of books. Eight, maybe nine. Odd number I know but as it’s about things in the natural world, of which there are eight (plus a Christmas special), I can’t really augment reality.
They still don’t know what was wrong with me. The test results suggest my inner workings are all in tiptop condition. I paddled 60 miles down the River Severn in a coracle just to make sure. A GP friend told me there is a medical condition called ‘just one of those things’. I think that’s what I had.
OK. So maybe I can augment reality.