Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Candy Gourlay


Region: British Isles
Age Levels: 5-10, 11-13, and 14-17
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email:

Candy Gourlay PHOTO BY PAUL MUSSOCandy is an award winning author based in London. She was born in the Philippines, grew up under a dictatorship and met her husband during a revolution. Growing up, she wondered why all the books she ever loved only featured pink-skinned children who lived in snow-covered worlds that didn’t resemble her steamy, tropical home in Manila. It took her years to fulfil her dream of becoming an author – and years to learn that Filipino stories too, belong in the pages of books. She has been a committed SCBWI volunteer for the British Isles chapter since she joined in 2002, and is a winner of the first iteration of Undiscovered Voices in 2009 – which led to her signing with Hilary Delamere, her agent. 

Presentation Description:

I love speaking at schools and festivals. My talks are interactive and inspirational - with a big, colourful Powerpoint presentation. TALL STORY's reading age is 10 plus, but I have performed before audiences from eight to sixteen years old. 


I use The Hero's Journey, the structure said to underpin most quest narratives, to tell the story of my own journey from being a journalist during revolution in my native Philippines to becoming a children's author based in London.

The talk works with any size audience. I can follow up the presentation with workshops conducted with smaller groups - in which the children learn how to brainstorm a novel in 30 minutes. The results are always amazing and the children come away enthused and excited to create their own stories. 

Some schools have invited me to speak to Geography classes about the Philippines. I've also used the earthquakes in TALL STORY as a jumping off point to discuss how calamity influences the mythologies of different countries, telling many fascinating examples from across the world.

Schools can request details of my talks and my fees by sending me a message on the contact form of my website. Festivals can contact my publicist Lisa Mahoney . I am also available for Skype book talks.