James Harris

James Harris

Middlesbrough's tallest author. Award-winning children's author, pole vaulter, wizard, exaggerator etc

Booking enquiry
James Harris - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview


Age 5 to 7, Age 7 to 11, Age 11 to 14


Adventure, Comedy, Fiction, Narrative, Picture book, Science fiction

Book types

Fiction 8-13, Picture book


  • The Hachette Children's Novel Award



"From the first second of the workshop the kids were entranced. James knew how to talk to them, how to listen to them and how to incite their creativity - they didn't even notice how much they were learning by making monsters! It was a pure joy to watch." - York Literature Festival

Whether it's 100 kids in a woodland clearing (Just So Festival) or five in a lesiure centre (don't ask) the result is the same - unbridled inspiration, creativity, and a bit of mayhem. I am a passionate advocate for imagination and creativity, both as a career path and as an end in itself.

"If you want the school session to end all school sessions you MUST get James in!" - Lisette Auton, author of The Secret of Haven Point

I have a background in performing and workshop-leading - 10 years of theatre in education, a (mercifully) brief stint doing stand up, a dabble in TV writing (I wrote for Shooting Stars) plus 15 years of running various writing and acting workshops for children and adults.

I would love to visit your school and play a part in getting your kids hyped about reading and writing, and creativity in general.

"You inspired a new generation of authors on Tuesday, James. Thank you." - Levendale Primary School

​(Bear in mind that visits will additionally be charged travel expenses - I live in Middlesbrough and charge petrol at 45p a mile, or train tickets at cost)

​Also - I am fully DBS-checked so you don't even need to accompany me to the staff room.

"James Harris was an absolute blast! His humour, enthusiasm and energy inspired so many children, and many left with ambitions of being an author. I can't recommend enough!" - Jack Gardner. Arts Leader Hotspur Primary

Here's what I offer:

Half Day Visit

£200 (plus travel expenses)

I’ll do a 30 minute assembly about reading and writing, and why they are both mint, with a Powerpoint presentation packed with pictures of me and my sister as children in the 1970's, with moustaches drawn on us. I might do a song, unless you specifically ask me not to.

Then I’ll do one or two classroom workshops featuring Everyday Monsters, a collaborative session exploring the link between drawing and creative writing, done via the medium of MONSTERS. The workshop is designed so that even kids who habitually believe they "can't think of anything" will be fully engaged, and will produce a brand-new character. Each workshop will generally last about 45 - 60 mins, with the last 15 minutes devoted to a Q&A if you'd like.

​Then, if appropriate, I’ll do a book signing. (I don't carry copies of my own books, but many local bookshops will provide copies if you ask them)​

"You were a big hit with our children yesterday. Our y5 classes have made me promise to book you in for another visit next term!"  - Fairfield Primary School
"Another fantastic author event! The energy in the room was brilliant, and the pupils absolutely loved it. It was great to see how enthusiastic everyone was (staff and pupils alike!) and it was fab to see lots of creative monsters. It created a real spark and we had lots of smiley faces by the end of it." - Ian Ramsey CE Academy, Stockton

Full Day Visit

£300 (plus travel expenses)

​The same as a half day visit, but more so, with one or two assemblies, up to four collaborative monster-making workshops, then a signing.

​Of course, I'm negotiable on the details so do please ask if there's anything specifically you'd like me to cover. I am very good on creating characters, and easy story structure if you'd like a more in-depth workshop.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Event feedback

James Harris came to visit our school on Thursday 29th February and was amazing. He delivered a whole school assembly which was very funny. He then did a number of workshops with different classes and all the children had a great time and learnt that anyone can be a writer!

Kate Loughlin (Romanby Primary School)

Books by James Harris

Hiya! I'm James. I live in Middlesbrough and I'm a writer. I write bonkers adventure stories for anyone who wants to read 'em! I've written two crazy, hilarious novels so far: The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory, which won the New Writing North Children's Novel Award in 2019, and Happytown Must Be Destroyed which never won nothing but I still love it dearly. My third book is currently hiding somewhere in my brain. Praise for The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory:​ "It’s funny, very funny, and it rattles along like a demented train. ☆☆☆☆☆" "A hilarious debut! ☆☆☆☆☆" Praise for Happytown Must Be Destroyed:​ "Energetic, effervescent, and utterly ridiculous in the very best way ☆☆☆☆☆" "This book made me very happy indeed. Buy it! ☆☆☆☆☆"
The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory

The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory

The biscuit factory in Haddie's hometown is absolutely 100% NOT a Super-Secret Science Lab. Or a portal to another dimension. With orange fluffy monsters. OH NO. DEFINITELY NOT. Or ... is it? A laugh-out-loud biscuit-bonkers adventure for fans of My Brother is a Superhero and Kid Normal. *Winner of the Northern Writers' Award* I live near a biscuit factory. Sounds like a dream come true, right? But it's not all fun and jammie dodgers. You see, the biscuit factory is really a Super-Secret Science Lab. Everyone pretends it makes biscuits. It just makes life easier. Until today. Because the biscuit factory tore a hole through dimensions, and now HUGE ORANGE MONSTERS are climbing through. Oh, and if we don't do something, the world is going to go KABLOOEY in the next thirty minutes. NOT ON MY WATCH. You coming? 
Happytown Must Be Destroyed

Happytown Must Be Destroyed

For fans of My Brother is a Superhero and The Demon Headmaster comes an outrageously funny story of brain control, friends, enemies and saving the world, even if you don't really want to. *From the award-winning writer of The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory* Leeza's parents are ordinary. Unfit, grumpy, a bit embarrassing. Totally normal, right? Until today. Today they are jogging. Eating salads and enjoying them. Smiling all the time. They're happy. Really, really happy. Who could complain about that? Leeza, that's who. Because it looks like someone's brainwashing everyone in town. Who's going to save the world? Oh no! It looks like it might have to be Leeza. OK then. Let's do this. You coming? By the author of The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory, winner of the Children's Novel category in the Northern Writers' Awards, this book is a must for anyone who wants something to make them snort with laughter. 
Help! We Need a Story

Help! We Need a Story

A wonderful book about storytelling and the art of creativity with an inspiring rhyming text from James Harris (The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory) and beautiful, characterful illustrations from Mariajo Ilustrajo (Flooded). It's a dull day in the jungle and Artie the macaque’s friends are bored, bored, BORED! But with paper, pens and ink, a splash of inspiration, and a pinch of imagination, Artie creates something magical . . . a book! Filled with hordes of zombie hens, a fire-breathing dragon and robot sharks (yikes!), Artie’s newly-created book busts the friends’ boredom, and the next day they can’t wait to do it all over again. With a clever book-inside-a-book concept, Help! We Need a Story illustrates the power of imagination and will help to nurture kids’ creative sides. Just like The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, Beautiful Oops! by Barney Salzberg and What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom, this is the perfect tale for book lovers and any child who enjoys creating their own stories.  

Photos and videos

James Harris - first image
James Harris - first image
James Harris - first image
James Harris - first image
James Harris - first image
James Harris - first image
James Harris - first image