June 9, 2019

‘One small step…’  my top ten moon stories for kids

On July 20th1969, three days before my ninth birthday, I crouched in front of our TV set, mesmerised by the grainy, black and white images of Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon.  I watched the footage over […]
April 25, 2019

My top five aliens

A top five list of aliens?  Out of the wealth of alien-ness available in the field of science fiction how could I possibly settle on only five?  Well, I don’t claim this is a list everyone will agree with but […]
April 5, 2019

My top ten sci-fi reads for teens

Science Fiction was practically my entire life when I was a kid and it’s still one of the most imaginative and exciting genres available to young readers.  Whether you come for the science or for the fiction, sci-fi has something […]
March 24, 2019

Behind the green door – secrets from a writer’s shed

Pt1:  “Lashings of ginger beer” A writer’s inner sanctum is surely the holiest of holys.  The place where creative juices flow and much-loved characters are born, live and die. It is a place where empires rise and fall and magical folk […]
March 20, 2019

No such thing as MG!

Those of us who are blamed when old for reading childish books were blamed when children for reading books too old for us. No reader worth his salt trots along in obedience to a time-table – CS Lewis Ok, so […]
July 30, 2017

The chocolate porter

Our porters on the journey are all from the local tribe of Pemon Indians. 
November 12, 2016

In the Lost World

The real adventure begins when our gear is loaded into 4X4s for the 20km journey to the start of the trek.
September 4, 2016

How Roraima got its name

Once there was a time when the animals and the humans knew the same language and they could all understand each other.
August 31, 2016

Poison darts, murder and gold

At Ciudad Bolivar we pause to examine Jimmy Angel’s plane, rescued from a tepui top from where he crash landed in the 30’s.
August 29, 2016

Chocolate trees, wombles and maggots

The eight hour drive to the Gran Sabana offers the prospect of getting to know our travelling companions a little better.
August 27, 2016

Murder, cash and a decent burger – welcome to Venezuela

“Caracas – murder capital of the world!” trumpet the uncomforting headlines.
August 5, 2016

Allan Boroughs is in the jungle – he may be some time…

How much adventure is too much? It’s a question I ask myself again as I prepare to leave for 3 weeks in the Venezuelan jungles.
May 4, 2016

There may be dinosaurs!

In 1908 the adventurer, explorer, cartographer, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and occasional spy, Perceval Harrison Fawcett, visited the great sandstone plateaus of the Franco Ricardo hills in Bolivia.  Of the plateaux he wrote, ‘they stood like a lost […]
September 6, 2015

UKMG Extravaganza!

I am like the proverbial two tailed canine at the prospect of being at the UK Extravaganza – 17th October at Nottingham Central Library.  Do come!  Lots of multi-talented world-famous MG writers…AND ME!
April 4, 2015

Radio stars!

Last week saw the hyper-talented Rachel Kellehar and me celebrate International Children’s Book Day by going to Share Radio.  We talked at length about Children’s Literature, the state of the market, what publishers look for in new work and how […]
February 10, 2015

Ironheart is shortlisted for the Portsmouth Book Award!

So delighted to learn that Ironheart has been shortlisted for the Portsmouth Book Award (Longer Novel Category) – thanks so much and best of luck to all shortlisted authors
November 21, 2014

BLOODSTONE Cover reveal

November 21, 2014

Bloodstone cover reveal

Very excited to receive the final artwork this week for the cover of Bloodstone. A Fantastic job by Jeremy Reston! (Bloodstone is published on 1st January 2015 by Macmillan)
June 14, 2014

IRONHEART in top 5 children’s books for 2014

Hugely exciting that Charlotte Eyre from the Bookseller has included IRONHEART in her top 5 children’s books from 2014. In such great company too! Thank you Charlotte.
June 12, 2014

Researching children’s writing – Part 1 – Going places

It was while I was packing my bag for Antarctica that my son gave me his carefully considered assessment of my research habits. ‘Dad, isn’t it true that you’re just writing books about the places you want to go and […]
February 24, 2014

“More gripping and engaging than anything that needs a charger”

IRONHEART receives a four star review in the Sunday Express
February 24, 2014

IRONHEART receives 5 star review from the Daily Express

February 4, 2014

At last, girls are at the centre of the action in books and films

Amanda Craig interviews Allan Boroughs in The Telegraph newspaper on 1st Feb 2014. Female characters in adventure stories like The Hunger Games no longer obey the sexist stereotype. The heroine is central, and her 'quest’ is not to find love, but to save the world
January 20, 2014

Reviewers, get your copy of IRONHEART here

Are you a reviewer, book blogger or someone who recommends books to others either on-line or in print? If so, and you would you like to obtain a free copy of IRONHEART in exchange for an honest and fair review, […]
January 17, 2014

IRONHEART launch party!

16th January saw the official launch party for IRONHEART at Waterstones in Islington. Wonderful to have so many of my friends there to support me – thanks to everyone who came along
January 2, 2014

IRONHEART – a Siberian adventure!

IRONHEART was finally published today. It is a hugely exciting time for me; I am very proud of the finished book and extremely grateful to everyone at Macmillan who worked really hard to make it look so fabulous. So now […]
December 31, 2013

At the Edge of the World!

Less than two days to go until IRONHEART is published and I am like a small child that has had too much espresso. Here’s me at the Edge of the World bookshop in Penzance signing their stock in readiness – […]
December 10, 2013

Back from the printers!

It was great to be at Macmillan’s offices last week on the day that IRONHEART arrived back from the printers. Wonderful to actually hold this thing that I have lived with for the last three years – can’t wait for […]
December 9, 2013

How big would an asteroid have to be to cause a mass extinction?

The Chicxulub crater was caused by an asteroid hitting the earth approximately 65 million years ago. It was large enough to send a superheated cloud of gas and dust high into the Earth’s atmosphere and create worldwide Tsunami and earthquakes. […]
October 20, 2013

How vulnerable is the Earth to asteroid strikes?

The meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk in February was a reminder about of how suddenly asteroids can strike and how deadly they can be. It was also the third major meteor strike in Russia in just over a century. This […]
October 20, 2013

Jet boy

Ryan and I have been preparing for MCM Expo next week – we spent the weekend putting the finishing touches to his steampunk aviator costume – now if we could just get that rocket pack to fly…
October 4, 2013

Russian space troops ‘not ready to fight aliens’

What are they thinking? We’ll just have to rely on Morgan Freeman http://t.co/z0sGAleTR8
September 26, 2013

I want one of these too!

Not sure about the dog though – maybe an iguana?
September 25, 2013

I want one of these!

Although I’m not sure ‘a motorbike in the sky’ is a winner as a marketing slogan http://bit.ly/18oOelp
September 24, 2013

IRONHEART

Published by Macmillan 2/1/14 Ironheart could save humanity . . . or destroy it forever. A classic action-adventure novel for fans of C. S. Lewis, Philip Pullman and Steven Spielberg films ‘First comes the iron and then comes the snow, […]
September 24, 2013

Steam Punk Cafe

Worth a trip to South Africa for! http://bit.ly/1bacflW
March 8, 2013

Antarctic Lake Vostok yields ‘new bacterial life’

7 March 2013 Last updated at 21:51 By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website Russian scientists have claimed the discovery of a new type of bacterial life in water from a buried Antarctic lake. The researchers have been studying […]
March 7, 2013

Did UFO ‘hit’ Russian meteorite blasting it to smithereens? Conspiracy theorists’ extraordinary claim after new footage emerges – Daily Mail 27/2/13

Theory is based on analysis of several different pieces of footage U.F.O. watchers claim object seen close by could be a U.F.O. They suggest alien ‘guardian angels’ blasted rock to minimise threat Reports of a surge in UFO sightings in […]
March 5, 2013

In search of tentacles

Only one wild creature has ever been sighted at the South Pole, a Southern Petrel; an opportunistic bird that was most likely sifting through the rubbish bins of the other main species to be found there – Americans! The Americans […]
March 2, 2013

Big meteorite found in Antarctica

The fifth largest meteorite ever found in East Antarctica was discovered Jan. 28 by an international team of meteorite hunters. (Photo: International Polar Foundation) Meteorite hunters at the bottom of the world bagged a rare find this southern summer: a […]
February 27, 2013

Fava beans and a nice chianti…

As often happens with binary predicaments there turns out to be a third option.  In the morning a stiff westerly breeze (appx 125 mph) clears the fog and gives the plane a 2 hour window in which to land at […]
February 26, 2013

Wild thing

Tuesday (pretty early) – it is now shortly before the time I was scheduled to be home in London as a returning hero.  Instead I am still in the South Shetland Islands outside a Chilean Airforce Base at Frei Station […]
February 23, 2013

The price of fish

In the morning we take an early zodiac from the ship in the face of a wind that could cut glass, to visit the ‘icebergs graveyard’, a shallow sound where large chunks of the glacier have been grounded and then […]
February 22, 2013

An empire built on custard

To Detaille Island, home to an eight man team from the British Antarctic Survey between 1956 and 1959.  Like many other survey huts, this has been designated an historic site and preserved by the Antarctic Heritage Trust (although, given the […]
February 20, 2013

Swimming to Antarctica

On Tuesday morning we get the chance to visit what is possibly the closest thing to a tourist attraction in Antarctica.  Port Lockroy was (and still is) a British owned science station in the Gerlache Strait.  As part of the […]
February 19, 2013

Penguins!

  64 degrees South – Cueverville Island. This morning we will visit the Penguin colony of Cuerverville Island (as nothing in Antarctica possesses a ‘native’ name everything tended to get named after obscure steamship captains or rich expedition sponsors). This […]
February 18, 2013

In search of the red otter

Today will be a better day. Yesterday we left Punta Arenas early to make our good weather window.  Two hours later we arrive at Frei Airbase, run by the Chilean military.  It looks like we have landed on the surface […]
February 18, 2013

The big spit

Sunday – South Shetland Islands Swell: 3 metres Today I am mostly throwing up
February 17, 2013

Packed like Kate Moss

This morning I take a trip to the Punta Arenas cemetery to witness the Chilean way of death in all of its splendour.  Mausoleums of the size of provincial town halls are arranged along pine avenues, monuments to several generations […]
February 16, 2013

All points North

Today Punta Arenas is my oyster. Capital of the Magallanes region of Chile it sits on the Magellan Straits, a natural fracture dividing the South American mainland from Tierra del Fuego which provides a rather useful shortcut avoiding Cape Horn.  […]
February 15, 2013

A trip takes us

  A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. John Steinbeck
February 15, 2013

Meteor strike in central Russia

  A meteor strike in Russia has injured over 950 people – reports say the meteor broke up unexpectedly before impact. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21468116
February 14, 2013

Chilean surprise

Twenty seven hours of travelling later and I am approximately two thirds of the way to my destination having arrived in Santiago – much as I’d like to provide a stunningly informative viewpoint on the Chilean capital my experience so […]
February 13, 2013

Completely bonkers (but in a good way)

I am ridiculously excited to learn that I will be in Antarctica at the same time as Sir Ranulph Fiennes as he sets out to attempt the first trans-Antarctic crossing in winter where he will endure a permanent state of […]
February 11, 2013

OMG, they killed Kenny!

In 1914, on the eve of the first world war, the great adventurer, leader and Irishman, Sir Ernest Shackleton left England to undertake the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition.  It was an adventure that nearly ended in disaster when his ship, the […]
February 8, 2013

Allan joins Facebook

Allan has now created his own facebook page.
April 3, 2011

The perils of Winchmore Hill

A week on and I am still being struck by the ironies – the worst toilet on a 5,500 mile journey was in the arrivals hall at Heathrow; I have consumed strange and exotic foods without incident but somehow manage […]
March 28, 2011

Back in the bubble

The vastness of Beijing airport makes Heathrow Terminal 5 look like a provincial bus station.  Inside I watch the check-in crew line up for their formal morning briefing, standing to attention and holding their schedules in front of them while […]
March 27, 2011

The hairy foreigner

“Can we take your picture please?” She is about seventeen and accompanied by three generations of her family.  Standing in the queue for the cable car at the Great Wall they have been giving me sideways looks and giggling for […]
March 25, 2011

Thanks, but I had bugs for lunch

I am a little stunned to arrive in Beijing; it is quite the largest city I have been in since I left home.  I am not sure what I was expecting but my initial reaction is that it seems like […]
March 25, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

My eighth and final train takes me from Ulan Bator to Beijing.  It is by far the most modern and well equipped train I have been on so far – my cabin has a small armchair and an en-suite bathroom; […]
March 24, 2011

The horse master

My last day in the camp and we are invited to visit the nomadic home of Bachka who lives nearby (at least he does at the moment).  Bachka is the local horse master, I have seen him in action taking […]
March 23, 2011

Among the Golden Horde – Part 2

22nd March There are not many guests in the camp; apart from our guides there is Kevin, a fuel technician who lives in Alaska and works in Antarctica and Mel, Leah and Carol from Canada.  It feels like a snow […]
March 23, 2011

Among the Golden Horde – Part 1

21st March In preparation for arrival at Ulan Bator I get up at 5.00am and do the Indiana Jones thing over the open tracks to get to the washroom in the next carriage.  I am unprepared for the sheer intensity […]
March 20, 2011

Princess Anne vs Ghengis Khan

The Trans-Manchurian line runs from Irkutsk to Ulan Bator and on to Beijing for the next leg of the journey.  The rolling stock is considerably older and maintains a certain old-world charm such as a coal furnace on every carriage […]
March 19, 2011

Nikky Nakky Noo!

I spend the day  in Irkutsk before catching the train that takes me to Ulan Ude and then over the Mongolian border to Ulaan Baatur.  Irkutsk is a mixture of styles – originally a fur trading post, then a gold […]
March 18, 2011

A lesson in leadership

The dog sledging centre is based in the valley high above Listvyanka in the heart of the pine forest. The centre is run by Natasha and has around 30 dogs; large husky type things with blue eyes and foot-long tongues […]
March 17, 2011

Breaking the ice

I disembark from the train at 6:15am at Irkutsk.  In the last 24 hours the cabin next to mine has been occupied by two police officers (the police seem to use the railways extensively) – they spend their time watching […]
March 16, 2011

Camping for boys

Today is my last full day on board the #2 Moscow-Vladivostok train and there is a touch of cabin fever in the air.  The carriage is comfortable and warm and, because it is low season, not particularly overcrowded.  However, there […]
March 15, 2011

Fascinating facts file –Vol 1

Sometime during the night we passed over the Ural mountains and through Ekaterinberg (famous for being the birthplace of Boris Yeltsin and where the Tsar and his family were murdered in a basement); we have therefore now, formally passed into […]
March 14, 2011

The odd couple

Train number six takes me from Moscow to Irkutsk and is the longest single leg of the journey.  As I will spend four days on this train I find myself wishing for an interesting and personable companion to share my […]
March 12, 2011

Lenin is being washed

It’s Saturday morning and I have roughly 24 hours to “do” Moscow.  My guide is Lena, a Muscovite schoolteacher who works part time as a tour guide. She is articulate and funny and talks about Russia with dry humour.  She […]
March 11, 2011

Why the toilets are shut.

At 1am we cross the border into Belarus.  The train attendants wake us up and the border guards come on board to check passports.  There is a long wait while they make their way through the train during which time, […]
March 11, 2011

Get well Steve!

I have just learned that my friend and talented musician, Steve Dagleish is unwell and in hospital.  Get well soon Steve, we have need of your music back!
March 10, 2011

Anoraknophobia!

I have decided I like trains.  Not in a geeky sort of way; I am hopefully a long way from wanting to stand at the end of a cold platform and write down engine numbers as a substitute for having […]
March 9, 2011

My hovercraft is full of eels…

My first day of solitary travelling and already I am on my fourth train; the Belgian countryside is rolling past the window; cars are driving on the right and I am starting to feel hungry.  All of which means that […]
March 6, 2011

On Wednesday I leave for Siberia…

…and how often can you say that? When I broached the subject with my wife she was very understanding.  “I want to go to Siberia,” I said.  “I want to make the journey without going on an aircraft and to […]