In 1999 Emma Mathewson of Bloomsbury Children’s Books and Daniella Bernadette a literary agent from David Higham Associates conspired to offer me the opportunity of writing a children’s book of poetry.
12 months later the slim volume was published with illustrations by Gail Newey. The Financial times called it “a remarkable debut” and The Guardian said it “celebrates the medium which Sissay is not only at ease, but in love”. The book sold out and was never reprinted. I’ve never known why.
But on its publication in 2,000 I was asked to present it to the Bloomsbury Sales people who sell Bloomsbury Books to the bookshops. It was a golden slot. But on the same day I was filming The Elevator my poem starring Ashley Walters and Gary Lewis for Channel 4. A tube station was booked for the filming and I didn’t make the sales conference. I was two tube stops from where it was taking place. I think Emma and I never did repair after my professional clumsiness and shortly afterwards my literary agent Danielle Bernadette left the business. Click for part 2.