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Reader contributions

The York Book Award is a prize where a shortlist is voted upon by students in participating schools. The students can also enter competitions for the best review and the best creative project inspired by one of the shortlisted books.

These creative pieces were all based on Unraveller, and mostly created by students in Year 7. As you can see, the quality is very high, and I love how ingenious and varied they are – stories, poems, drawings, paintings, a papercut, a textile collage, sculpture and even embroidery! The winner of the creative project competition was Stella's amazing heron sculpture. The runner-up was Jillian's stunning graphic-novel-style page exploring Nettle's haunted mind set.

By Molly Unraveller Art Molly (click for full size)

By Michaela Unraveller Embroidery Michaela (click for full size)

Flying Like A Bird, by Emily (click to read)

Heron Drawing Unraveller Heron Drawing (click for full size)

By Emily Unraveller Heron Poem Emily (click for full size)

By Stella Unraveller Heron Sculpture Stella (click for full size)

Mini Heron Art Unraveller Mini Heron Art (click for full size)

By Jillian Unraveller Nettle Graphic Jillian (click for full size)

By Emily Unraveller Pale Mallow Poem Emily (click for full size)

By Kene Unraveller Papercut Kene (click for full size)

Short Interpretation, by Molly (click to read)

By Niamh Unraveller Textile Art Niamh (click for full size)

The Cursed City of Mizzleport, by Josh (click to read)

I didn't win the York Book Award, but seeing all these wonderful pieces made me feel as though I had.

Jessica, Georgie, Alisha and Kawthar from Lord Grey Academy painted these lovely, vivid pictures of the Glass Cardinal from Deeplight. I love the fact that these eye-catching images are so different from each other. It's a fine, tentacular collection, and I think they'd all make good posters for the book.

By Jessica The Glass Cardinal (click for full size)

By Georgie The Glass Cardinal (click for full size)

By Alisha The Glass Cardinal (click for full size)

By Kawthar The Glass Cardinal (click for full size)

By Alisha The Glass Cardinal (click for full size)

This picture of Faith was drawn by Isabel. Note the high Victorian collar, the secretive way she's watching us from behind her hair, and all the detailed highlights in her eye.

Faith Faith (click for full size)

Mel Camili has created this wonderfully indomitable image of Makepeace and Bear. Note the other little ghosts wisping around Makepeace. You can see more of Mel's work on her Instagram account.

Makepeace and Bear Makepace and Bear (click for full size)

For a school project, Charlie made this amazing scale model of a scene from The Lie Tree. In the presentation you can see how much care and ingenuity has gone into every stage of its construction. I love all the details – the boulders at the back of the beach, the paths, the vegetation, the reflectiveness and texture of the water, the wheelbarrow on its side and of course the tiny corpse in the jutting tree!

Lie Tree model

Dubhessa has created this lovely montage, incorporating details from several of my books into one landscape/seascape! I particularly like the fact that two ne'er-do-wells can be seen hiding behind the crown of my hat.

Montage Montage (click for full size)

I was delighted when singer-songwriter Rowan Stuart contacted me to tell me that one of his recent songs, 'Queen Emily', was written after reading The Lie Tree! It's a lovely song of female empowerment, directed towards young girls. The (very charming) video has lots of visual references to my books, which is hugely flattering! I also love the way that the fairy tale dream sequence subtly hints at the various careers that Emily might pursue and conquer.

Rowan's website is here:

Anastasia Ukolova has created this lovely montage of motifs from my books. I particularly like the decanter of True Wine (A Face Like Glass), the bear paw-print (A Skinful of Shadows) and the discreet ink-stain on one finger of the gloves (The Lie Tree). The goose also looks suitably formidable! You can see more of Anastasia's work on her Instagram account, @uzhiki. Thanks also to Kate for sending me the image!

Montage of motifs Montage of motifs (click for full size)

Dawn Harper has created this lovely Deeplight-inspired embroidery. Note the tentacle, sea urchin and jellyfish peeping out from behind the book!

Deeplight embroidery Deeplight embroidery (click for full size)

Izzy Baker has created this wonderful comic based on a scene from Cuckoo Song. I love the cover, the vivid sense of character, and the use of different angles and perspectives to enhance the drama. (Warning: although this scene occurs fairly early in the book, it does contain some slight spoilers.)

Cuckoo Song: A Graphic Novel Cuckoo Song: a graphic novel (click for pdf)

Lily Thomson has created these expressive images, two of them showing Faith in full Victorian dress, the third depicting Neverfell at a dramatic moment. You can see more of Lily's work on her art instagram,

Faith Faith (click for full size)

Sketches of Faith Sketches of Faith (click for full size)

Neverfell Neverfell (click for full size)

I love the feeling of motion and inhuman speed in this scene from Cuckoo Song drawn by Peter Markley. Note the dead leaves the character sheds as she leaps. More of Peter's artwork can be found on his website.

Cuckoo Song Cuckoo Song (click for full size)

Rutile has created these two lovely images. First, Madame Appeline from A Face Like Glass resplendent in her finery.

Madame Appeline Madame Appeline (click for full size)

And here are Makepeace and Bear from A Skinful of Shadows, looking wonderfully fierce and formidable. Note the 17th century costume details.

Makepeace and Bear Makepeace and Bear (click for full size)

Finally, here's a picture of the main character from Cuckoo Song. I love the way the apples weigh down the cloth, the leaves tumbling out of her hair and the little cobweb attached to her arm.

Cuckoo Song Cuckoo Song (click for full size)

Lorena Fierro has drawn this picture of Morgan Fellmotte from A Skinful of Shadows. I particularly like Morgan's forbidding but complicated expression…

Morgan Fellmotte Morgan Fellmotte (click for full size)

Here's Makepeace and Bear from A Skinful of Shadows, drawn by ninjadebbie. Look at Bear's trailing ghost-claws!

Makepeace and Bear Makepeace and Bear (click for full size)

This delightfully creepy picture inspired by Cuckoo Song was drawn by Fran Harvey. I like the way the huge scissors are threatening to slice the face in two...

Triss's scissors Triss's scissors (click for full size)

Nikoru drew these pictures of Dance and Arilou from Gullstruck Island/The Lost Conspiracy. Note Dance's skull cap and widow's arm bindings.

Arilou Arilou by Nikoru (click for full size)

Dance Dance by Nikoru (click for full size)

Here is an atmospheric scene from The Lie Tree, hand-drawn onto a postcard by Julian. Note the prow of the rowing boat, the stalactites and the little fruit hanging from the tree…

The Lie Tree The Lie Tree by Julian (click for full size)

Nine students from Tobermory High School on the Isle of Mull have produced this utterly brilliant book trailer for Cuckoo Song. They created story boards and generated their own sound effects, and spent weeks filming and animating to create this chillingly effective sequence. I have never had a book trailer before, and I'm so glad this is my first!

Lesya Blackbirdink has created these lovely Fly by Night drawings, three of them showing Mosca and Saracen, and one featuring Eponymous Clent. The colour image of Mosca and Saracen in Toll is amazing, with its dramatic night–day divisions. I also love the picture of Mosca in her wading breeches. Such a vivid and indomitable expression on her face…

Mosca and Saracen in Toll Mosca and Saracen by BlackbirdInk (click for full size)

Mosca and SaracenMosca and Saracen by BlackbirdInk (click for full size)

Mosca and Saracen in Chough Mosca and Saracen in Chough by BlackbirdInk (click for full size)

Clent Clent by BlackbirdInk (click for full size)

Mosca and Saracen in Chough Mosca and Saracen in Chough (click for full size)

Here's a splendidly fierce picture of Mosca and Saracen by Taylor Leong. I love the flame tones, the pen crossed with the keys and the way the flies surge out of the picture. Taylor has also created this great Fly by Night playlist. More of her pictures can be found on her art blog.

Mosca Mosca by Tomato Bird (click for full size)

Here is Taylor's picture of Faith, the fourteen-year-old heroine of The Lie Tree, during a dark epiphany. The snake skeleton writhing behind her is a particularly fine touch, recalling her pet snake and her love of fossils, but also suggesting the deceptive, dangerous path towards which she is turning.

Faith Faith (click for full size)

For Halloween, Lydia has created this steampunk outfit, with touches inspired by the Locksmiths from the Mosca books. Note the home-made chatelaine!


Locksmith costume locksmith costume by Lydia (click for full size)

This picture by Zoe shows Mosca and Saracen taking a breather amid their adventures in Toll. Mosca is even wearing her Palpitattle badge, complete with fly picture. I like the natural pose, and the unimpressed look on Saracen's face.

Mosca and Saracen in Toll Mosca and Saracen in Toll (click for full size)


Elizabeth Lewis has framed this quotation from A Face Like Glass with a picture that adroitly captures a certain character from the book. We see his distinctive (and expensive) smile through the vapour of malevolently swirling Wine, and there is just a suggestion of blood flecks on the stem of the goblet. (Image created using stock from Joslyn Williams and Kyle.)

Murder is like Romance Murder is like Romance (click for full size)


Donelle Lacy has produced this nicely surly and indomitable-looking sketch of Mosca and Saracen. More of her illustrations can be found on her website.

Mosca and Saracen Mosca and Saracen (click for full size)


Modelmaker Imogen Nagle has made this glorious version of Saracen as a steampunk-style stage puppet. It has a flexible neck, and a working beak so that it can actually snap at people! I want one, so that I can take it to every party for the rest of my life.
You can see how she made the puppet by visiting her Facebook page.

Saracen puppet Saracen puppet (click for full size)


Sculptor Thomas Hughes has created this amazing, fully articulated version of the claw worn by Laylow in Twilight Robbery. He decided to create his version in a Cold War style, which gives it a particularly sinister and intriguing look. You can see how he designed and constructed the claw here. More of his models can be found on his facebook page. (These include dinosaurs.)

Laylow's claw Laylow's claw, work in progress Laylow's claw, work in progress Laylow's claw, work in progress (click for full size)

Donavynn has kindly sent us these pictures of Mosca, complete with pipe and suspicious, coal-drawn eyebrows, and Neverfell from A Face Like Glass. Given all the things that happen to Neverfell, it's not surprising that she has that slightly worried look!

Mosca Mosca

Neverfell Neverfell

Carly Allen-Fletcher has created this lovely picture of Mosca writing at a desk. I do admire the way in which shadow flows out behind her, suggesting ink, flames and Mosca's black hair all at once. And the paper almost looks as if it's alight, doesn't it? Carly is a professional illustrator, and her other work can be found here.

Mosca writing Mosca writing (click for full size)

Here is Carly's picture of Chough, Mosca's home village. The longer I look at it, the more I love the moody sky, the gleaming, whiskery waterfalls and the lights gleaming from the shadowy houses on the hillside.

Chough Chough (click for full size)

Last of all, here is her majestic Lady Tamarind.

Tamarind Tamarind (click for full size)


Fran Morton has captured Linden Kohlrabi in a quiet moment, shortly before Mosca Mye drops into his life. I like the background details of the coffeehouse as well.

Kohlrabi at rest Kohlrabi at rest (click for full size)

Windflug from Germany has produced this drawing of Jimboly, the dentist and agent provocateur from Gullstruck Island/The Lost Conspiracy. Jimboly's personality is captured well in that sly and rather dangerous smile…

The flickerbird witch Birdcatchers (click for full size)

Emily has written "Words", a haunting song inspired by the Fly by Night books. Click here to listen to her song and watch her music video. The sharp-sighted amongst you may recognise the name she writes in the sand at the end…

The next picture is rather different. Beth Ahlers has created "Birdcatchers", a striking abstract piece with just the right suggestion of madness and menace.

Birdcatchers Birdcatchers (click for full size)

Janina Keskiniva from Finland has produced this very atmospheric portrait of Mosca and Saracen. I like all the attention to detail, such as the ship in the background, and the care with which the goose's expression has been drawn.

Mosca and Saracen Mosca and Clent (click for full size)

Tealin wrote a very nice commentary about Fly by Night: "There's all sorts of action and suspense and humour and all that, but the most riveting thing about the book is that you never know who the 'bad guy' is. As soon as you think you've got it figured out, the tables turn – sometimes 90°, sometimes 180°, sometimes upside down – and you have to approach the story from a whole different perspective." Read more here. Below are Tealin's pictures, including an impressively aloof and elegant Lady Tamarind.

Mosca Mosca

Pertellis Pertellis

Lady Tamarind Lady Tamarind

Here is a picture of Mosca and Clent, drawn by iree from Indonesia, seen against a sinister, tilted Mandelion. I like the way the two of them seem to be glancing back at each other with a mixture of camaraderie and suspicion.

Mosca and Clent Mosca and Clent (click for full size)

Antonia Russell-Clark has produced some very fine pictures inspired by Fly by Night, which can be found in this section of her website. Below are some smaller versions – click for full size.

Mosca's escape from Chough Mosca's escape from Chough

Mosca drops the oil lamp Mosca drops the oil lamp

Hiding under Kohlrabi's cloak Hiding under Kohlrabi's cloak

A mockup book cover Mock-up book cover

Antonia also created all the wonderful artwork for my Twisted City website. Talented, isn't she?

Here is a game called "Well's Angels", based on my book Verdigris Deep/Well Witched and invented by Abby Wass. (Abby was ten years old when she invented the game.) One of the files is a picture of the board she created and decorated, complete with a spiralling well and locations from the book. Another file is the instructions for playing the game. The other four files are decks of cards, each of which can be printed out on a different colour paper, and then cut out.

After Abby showed me this game, I printed out the cards and instructions, drew my own simple version of the board, and then played it with some friends. I enjoyed it a lot, not least because I won…

The board | The instructions | Deck 1 | Deck 2 | Deck 3 | Deck 4

Have you produced any artwork based on scenes or characters from Frances' books? If so, we'd love to see them. Frances can be contacted here.