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Kelly McCaughrain Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Flying Tips for Flightless Birds (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Kelly McCaughrain is a published author..

She was born in 1977 in Belfast. She says that she doesn’t recall anything much regarding her childhood, although it was likely very nice. She says this probably is because she did not pay that much attention. In her defense, she was reading the classic book Anne of Green Gables for much of it.

Kelly says that her lack of recall about her childhood extends until she was thirteen years old. This is when everything in her life became very important and she thinks that is probably the main reason why she likes to write stories about teenagers. She does know that she began writing at the age of six years old. However, she was very secretive and would hide the fact that she was writing.

The author says that she found the allure of children’s book again by accident. She was in her twenties and was staying in the hospital. Her friends came to visit her and brought her along a Harry Potter Book. She at first didn’t understand why they had brought her what appeared to be a children’s book. However, she quickly became engrossed in the book and read it for two days in a row.

She continued to write in secret for some time. In between, she attended Queens University Belfast and got her degree in Psychology. Then she decided to have some fun and continued getting degrees, one that was in English and the other in Creative Writing. Her writing continued for a while although she describes herself as being ‘closeted’ with her craft.

The author finally decided to cop to her writing to her parents because she wrote a book and it was entered in a competition and made the short list. She told them that some of it was going to be printed in The Times. She says that if you’re going to come out as a writer, the best way to do it is as part of a national newspaper publication.

These days she likes to speak to teenagers about the topic of writing. She might have been too shy to attempt it when she was younger, but now feels comfortable about it. She also enjoys working with a variety of younger writers. She volunteers at a Wednesday Write Club as part of Fighting Words Belfast. There she gets the chance to check out completely original stories written by teens. She really likes doing this because when she was younger she never had other writing friends to talk to and also because they allow her to speak about writing. She does admit that they probably are tired of her continued emphasis on character writing.

She has also had the honor of being the Seamus Heaney Children’s Writing Fellow for the area of Northern Ireland. This allows her to get to promote all types of children’s literature and she also gets to collaborate with younger readers and writers as part of her work, which is very fun. She is married to her husband, named Michael. Together they like to take a lot of adventures and travel and they even blog about it. Many of these adventures take place with the help of their old VW camper van, which they have named Gerda.

McCaughrain wrote a short story that was entered in 2016 into the Moth Short Story Competition. ‘The Hummingbirds’ ended up being a runner up. She also wrote Zach in the Making, a novel, which was entered into the Times and Chicken House Children’s Fiction Prize in 2013 and was shortlisted.

Her debut fictional novel is titled Flying Tips for Flightless Birds. It was published in 2018 by Walker Books. She was very excited about its publication and rumor has it that it was an elaborate attempt to try and get her husband to fall in love with circuses. The book has won The Children’s Books Ireland following awards in 2019: Book of the Year, Children’s Choice, and Eilis Dillon Award. It also won the Northern Ireland Book Award.

There was a lot of praise for this debut book from the author. Roddy Doyle liked the book, calling it ‘witty’ as well as ‘clever’. He says that the book sparkles. Susin Nielsen also liked the book, saying that it made her feeling like she wanted to run away so that she could join a circus. She lifts up the fact that the book focuses on accepting qualities that set each of us apart and ‘make us unique’. Meanwhile, The Bookbag reviewed the book as a story with simplicity that will get the reader hooked from the start.

If you are into romantic comedies and are a reader of work by Susin Nielsen, R.J. Palacio, or Sarah Crossan, then you have got to check out the incredible debut novel from Kelly McCaughrain, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds. For anyone that has ever dreamed about being part of the circus, whether from the top on a flying trapeze or announcing the acts from the ring below, this is the perfect read for you.

The main characters in this book are Birdie and Finch Franconi. They are twins, and perhaps it is appropriate that they both have bird like names, because they truly do fly through the air with the greatest of ease. When it comes to the circus, they are the stars, situated way up high on a flying trapeze.

Everything changes one day when Birdie goes through a horrible accident, and just like that, her twin is without a partner to perform with. He is forced to take on a new partner if they are going to be able to help the family circus school to keep going.

His partner is a boy new to the circus and fairly geeky. He has his doubts, but he needs to take on another partner to keep going. Together with Hector Hazzard, they form their all boys act and get going. The two quickly form a friendship and it isn’t too long before they are taking all the demands of life as a teenager on together.

They’re trying to manage family, friends, and even the subject of first love and questions of identity, all while part of the circus. But when Finch realizes that he has feelings, will he be ready to take a leap of faith? Read this book to find out!

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