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winner of the ukla book award 2021


It's sad and it's funny and I love it.
I hope you will too. 


Felix isn't a problem child.
he's a child with a problem...



Cover design by Leo Nickolls

Felix is struggling at school. his adhd makes it hard for him to concentrate and his grades are slipping. everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but no one seems to understand just how hard he finds it. When mum suggests felix spends time with his grandfather, felix can't think of anything worse. Granddad hasn't been the same since grandma died. plus he's always trying to teach felix boring chess. but sometimes the best lessons come in the most unexpected of places, and granddad soon shows felix there's everything to play for. 


It's amazing that Check Mates and 32 other books are available on prescription.
The proudest moment of my writing career.
Kids need help. Kids need to be understood.
I so, so, hope this helps them.

Reading Well.jpg

Check Mates features on the
Reading Well & Empathy Day book lists.

Click the images for more info

'An inspirational underdog story and a chilling mystery! A winning combination.'
David Solomons, author of My Brother is a Superhero


'Funny and heartfelt with a cunning twist. Stewart Foster is a grandmaster.'
Ross Welford, author of Time Travelling with a Hamster


'so many children will relate to felix in this marvellous story that crosses generations, deftly weaving history, modern life and chess. check mates is sure to warm your heart.'
Vashti Hardy, author of Brightstorm

'a story to open minds; finding passion, ambitions and redemption.
a story of loyalty and friendship that will totally steal your heart.'

Jo Cotterill, author of a Library of Lemons

Blog tour & interviews



What was the inspiration behind the story?

Facing your fear and embracing your dreams

Encourage imagination and creativity

Questions I asked myself when writing

What does a story idea need to have to entice you into it?

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