Author who created book-loving dragon returns to native North East for Durham Book Festival

Jen Campbell is a full time author after working as a book seller.
Jen Campbell is a full time author after working as a book seller.

An author will spread her love of literature as she shares her first children’s book with an audience.

An author will spread her love of literature as she shares her first children’s book with an audience.

Jen Campbell’s passion for books and inspiring youngsters have been combined in her latest work, Franklin’s Flying Bookshop, which has been illustrated by Katie Harnett.

It follows the story of a dragon who loves to read and his friendship with a girl called Luna.

The 30-year-old, from Cleadon, went to Whitburn Academy and South Tyneside College before going on to study a degree in literature at Edinburgh while she took up her first job in a book shop.

She left book selling to become a full-time writer a year ago and runs a YouTube channel, recommending books and more.

Jen, who now lives in London, was determined to write her own stories as a child after she was told she would struggle to hold a pen when she was born with genetic disorder Ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (EEC) syndrome.

She underwent surgery to form fingers, with her experiences playing a part in her new tale, which deals with the importance of empathy and celebrates differences.

She has teamed up with Changing Faces, a charity which supports people with a disfigurement, on a series of events based around her new book.

In addition to a talk at Durham Book Festival next month - and others in Newcastle and Hexham - she will visit the New Writing North-led celebration to explore fairytales with Sara Maitland.

The front cover of Jen Campbell's Franklin's Flying Bookshop, which has been illustrated by Katie Harnett.

The front cover of Jen Campbell's Franklin's Flying Bookshop, which has been illustrated by Katie Harnett.

Jen, whose mum Janet, Duncan, sister Frances, 28, and brother John, 20, still live in the North East, said: “I’ve worked with New Writing North before and I’ve done a few workshops with Northumbria University for them.

“Last year I was their vblogger in residence at the festival, so I was invited back as I have a new book out.

“I do get a bit nervous before a book tour.

“But now I’ve set out with Franklin, and children have been very enthusiastic about it.”

I do get a bit nervous before a book tour.

Jen Campbell

Jen has previously published two editions of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshop, based on inquiries she and colleagues took as booksellers, a collection of poems and is preparing to publish a book of short stories for adults, The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night.

More about Jen’s work can be found at http://www.jen-campbell.co.uk/ and information on the book festival is available via http://durhambookfestival.com/.