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New Writer 2021: Hazel Knox

Children's and YA

Hazel Knox headshot

Originally from Thurso (just before you fall off the top of mainland Scotland) Hazel now lives in Edinburgh. She has been writing picture books and middle grade books for children for six years. Her passion is writing funny books and she shamelessly harvests material from her two children.

Hazel was shortlisted in the 2020 Chicken House Open Coop and given an honourable mention in a 2020 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) slush pile challenge looking for funny middle grade books. She is a regular contributor to MADE (Mums and Dads Edinburgh) magazine.

In her day job Hazel is a Children’s Occupational Therapist which has given her lots of practise in using humour to engage children and seeing the world and its challenges from their perspective. She has a special interest in health literacy.

Hazel is looking forward to putting a finished stamp on her first middle grade book and diving into her second.

You can find her on Twitter(this will open in a new window).

Writing sample

I’ve got alpaca spit in my hair. Again. Police Constable Murray is on the phone. Again. I can’t face the lukewarm shower yet so I wrap my head in a towel, climb into the hammock and pull the covers over my face.

Reasons why moving here was a stupid idea:

1. Dunnet (my new home) is really far from Edinburgh (my actual home) and only about nine people live here.

2. We didn’t need to move to 'be closer to nature'. What about the fox that kept knocking over the food waste bins? Or the pigeon that pooed straight in Dad’s eye. How close do they want to be?

3. It smells. My mum and dad are forever sniffing in big lungfuls of air and talking about how fresh it is. Fresh manure maybe.

4. It’s windy all the time. My hair has expanded to three times its size and detangling takes about an hour every night. Luckily my glasses being permanently coated in sea salt adds a helpful filter. Suzy (my BFF) would be mortified for me.

5. Alpacas are ugly. They look like sheep except someone has stretched their legs and necks and replaced their head with a camel’s. U.G.L.Y.

6. Alpacas don’t like to do what they’re told. Ever.

7. To run a farm you have to be good at fixing things. My parents are not. The fence needs fixed in seven different places. Fence holes = escaped alpacas.

8. When alpacas get stressed they kick and spit and being chased makes them stressed. The first time they got out Dad came back with a bruise the shape of Australia on his leg and no alpacas.

9. Village police officers get annoyed when they keep getting called out because the city incomers’ alpacas are:

               A. Blocking the road.

               B. In someone's garden.

               C. In the local shop.

Reasons why moving here was a good idea:

1. The farm came with a cat. I’ve named her Sooty because she looks like she’d been living up the chimney.

Hazel says:

'I missed the call from Scottish Book Trust and after I spoke to them I went back and listened to their message six times to convince myself it definitely happened. I’m excited they see potential in my writing and very grateful for the opportunity. I plan to drink in every moment of support and advice in the year ahead.'