First-time author spends every day surrounded by books

April 06 2022

A SCHOOL librarian from Barrs Court has achieved her dream of landing a book deal.

For the first time, the team at Bristol Museums Learning are working with a group of third year photography students at the University of West England (UWE) to develop and deliver an innovative new workshop for primary school children in Bristol. The sessions work in tandem with the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition produced by the Natural History Museum, which is currently on display at M Shed.

During March pupils from Two Mile Hill Primary took part in the workshops, which start with a guided tour of the exhibition and learning how to use professional level camera equipment. Inspired by the exhibition and conversations around the photos they have seen, children will then take part in treasure hunt-style photography activities along the harbourside. 

Librarian Lis Jardine

Lis Jardine, 44, has had her debut novel for children aged nine to 12 snapped up by publishers Puffin.

The Detention Detectives is due to hit the shelves next January.

She said: “It’s a murder mystery set in a contemporary secondary school.

“The main character finds a dead body in the PE shed during his first week at school and is drawn into the investigation to solve the murder.”

She came up with the story while completing a Writing for Young People MA at Bath Spa university. She took the course part-time while bringing up her daughters, who are now age 14 and 15.

The book is the first in a trilogy, with each book told from the point of view of a different character.

Lis has already completed the second book, which will be published by Puffin in 2023. She is hoping they will also want the third book once she’s finished writing it.

When she’s not busy writing, Lis is the school librarian at Hanham Woods academy.

She said: “It’s my dream job. I love children’s literature and talking to children about books.

“When I started, the school library had been shut down for four or five years because they were using the space for a sixth form.

“I had to start the library again from scratch, which was very exciting.

“When I was younger I read constantly. I enjoyed books like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and the Narnia books.

“I love middle-grade fiction because it’s really enjoyable and positive. A lot of adult fiction can be quite miserable and negative.”

Lis said she has seen early illustrations for the book and is hoping to see a physical copy for the first time this autumn.

She said: “I keep thinking they’re going to turn around and say they’ve realised it’s rubbish after all.

“I can’t quite believe it’s being published. It’s very exciting.”