Another Twist in the Tale – Coming November 5th 2020

I am very excited to announce that my new novel ‘Another Twist in the Tale’ will be hitting the shelves on November 5th 2020. Remember, remember the 5th of November!

‘Another Twist in the Tale’  is a rip-roaring a sequel to Charles Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ set in Victorian London and featuring Oliver’s long lost twin sister…

You may have heard  the tale of Oliver Twist –  the boy who asked for more, the  reluctant pickpocket, the orphan who became heir to a great fortune. But what few know is that there was a second Twist – a girl, brought into this world moments ahead of her brother.

This is the story of Twill Twist –  the orphan baby cast out into the snow  and rescued by a young kitchen maid named Baggage Jones. Baggage takes the baby back to the Black Jack Gaming Hell of Camberwell Grove, run by the formidable – and gargantuan – Madame Manzoni and the terrifying Mrs Spanks and her Spoon – where Twill is raised surrounded by card sharks and gamblers and the beautiful butterfly girls, loved by her Baggage, learning  that girls have to fight to survive in Queen Victoria’s England, and blissfully unaware that her twin brother is now heir to a great fortune.

Until one day she finds herself suddenly  cast adrift, destitute and homeless on the streets of London. It is here she encounters a young man by the name of Mr Jack Dawkins – the Artful Dodger to his friends  – who, after nearly getting Twill arrested, introduces her to the Sassy Sisterhood of Saffron Hill, an all-girl band of pickpockets and kickass little lady lawbreakers who take orders from no man, and welcome our brave heroine under their wing.

But something is rotten on the streets of London, Child Snatchers are abroad and children keep disappearing into an austere institution known as the Benevolent Home for Boys  run by a mysterious shady figure with a red beard, aided and abetted by the ‘Chief Child Snatcher’ whose large tummy also looks very familiar. No child escapes from the Benevolent and those who  go in seem to turn out blue!

When girls start getting snatched too, Twill and Dodger team up to try and solve the mystery – which also seems to involve Oliver’s guardian, a mysterious poisoner called Mrs C and a terrifying  shadowy figure known simply as ‘Mother Earth’. It seems the only person who can unravel the tangled web and come to the rescue is Oliver Twist –  but Oliver is nowhere to be found. If only there were another Twist in this tale to save the day, along with a band of brave street girls, and a bit of help from the beautiful Butterflies, and Miss Baggage Jones  (not forgetting Dodger of course) … after all, anything boys can do, girls can do better, right?

‘Another Twist in the Tale’ is a rip-roaring  page-turning adventure story set in Victorian London  amongst the workhouses and slums and streetkids and sweatshops, featuring many of Dickens beloved characters, along with a host of  weird and wonderful new faces. You can rediscover the Artful Dodger, Fagin and Oliver Twist himself, along with a host of new heroes and villains! I hope it will be the perfect way to introduce young readers to the delights of Dickens,  keeping them hooked till the very last page and the final thrilling twist in the tale!

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No Ballet Shoes in Syria Blog Tour

blog tour

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New Book Deal with Nosy Crow

Really excited to be writing two new books for Nosy Crow. Lovely press release from them in The Bookseller today!

Nosy Crow is delighted to announce the acquisition of two middle-grade standalone novels by Catherine Bruton. The first of these, No Ballet Shoes in Syria, will be published in the UK in June 2019.

Tom Bonnick bought world rights from Caroline Montgomery at Rupert Crew.

No Ballet Shoes in Syria tells the story of ten-year-old Aya, who has arrived in Britain with her mother and baby brother as refugees from Syria. When Aya stumbles across a local ballet class, the formidable dance teacher, Miss Helena, spots Aya’s exceptional natural talent and believes that she has the potential to earn a scholarship at the prestigious Royal Northern Ballet School. But at the same time, Aya and her family must fight to be allowed to remain in the country, to make a new home for themselves, and to find Aya’s father – separated from the rest of the family during the perilous journey from Syria. With a powerful and important message championing the rights of refugees, wonderfully authentic ballet detail, and beautiful, classic writing, this captivating story is filled with warmth.

The second title, Another Twist in the Tale, is a brilliant re-working of a Dickens classic – telling the story of Oliver Twist’s secret sister, Twill, and will publish in 2020.

Catherine Bruton comments: “I wanted to tell the story of a young Syrian asylum seeker: her life before and during the war in Aleppo, her flight from her war-torn country and struggle to make a new life in the UK. It was a difficult story to tell, and and I drew inspiration from the books that had an impact on me as a child: ‘When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit’, ‘The Silver Sword’ and ‘Ballet Shoes’, as well as real-life accounts of child refugees and their families. I hope it’s a story that will make young readers think about words like ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ differently – to see the child behind the label, as a child with hopes and dreams just like they have. Ultimately I hope it is a story of heartbreak – but also of hope.”

Tom Bonnick, Senior Commissioning Editor at Nosy Crow, comments: “I fell in love with No Ballet Shoes in Syria from the very first page. It is properly classic storytelling – the writing reminded me of Eva Ibbotson and Noel Streatfeild. And it is a truly special story – filled with kindness, heartbreak and beauty – and I’m delighted that Catherine has joined the Nosy Crow list.”

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5 star review for ‘We Can be Heroes’ at Edinburgh Film Festival

‘We Can be Heroes’ premiered at The Edinburgh Film Festival in June 2017. The Edinburgh Reporter gave it five stars, saying ‘if you only see one film this festival – this year even – see ‘We Can be Heroes.’ See the full review below.

Directed by Claire Downes and co-written by Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane from Catherine Bruton’s novel, this is a stunning, poignant mix of comedy, tragedy, love and drama. In a film full of racial and social stereotypes we find some who are capable of surprising insight, tolerance and compassion too.

Ben (Toby Haste) was a baby when his father was killed in one of the 9/11 Towers. His mother struggles to cope and sends him to stay in a small, suburban Birmingham cul-de-sac with his paternal grandmother (Alison Steadman) and grandfather (Phil Davis). He is soon welcomed by one of the neighbours, the utterly irrepressible Priti (Marissa Patel), and they form a sleuthing threesome when cousin Jed (Sam Cox), who is also left with his grandparents for the summer, meets Priti’s very diverse Muslim family. The trio become convinced that big brother Shakeel (Richard Samitro) has been radicalised and is going to become a suicide bomber. Meanwhile big sister Zara (Rukku Nahar) is having a relationship with one of the local neds: as Priti says, “Stupid girls like Zara always go for bad boys.” Things begin to come to a head when Shakeel has his wedding party in the street and a few members of the local gang try to spoil it, forcing everyone present to decide the differences between right and wrong.

This superb cast carries off every scene with aplomb and panache. In particular, the three youngsters are heart-stoppingly convincing: Toby Haste, gauche, appealing, believable; Sam Cox, a Corden in the making; and Marissa Patel, who simply steals the show.

This is an important film for the UK in 2017. It is a thought-provoking essay on what is happening in our country, on rights, responsibilities and prejudices. The film made this reviewer laugh aloud and cy, sometimes simultaneously. If you see only one movie this festival, this year even, see We Can Be Heroes.


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We Can be Heroes the Movie Premieres at Edinburgh Film Festival

Heroes Productions Ltd is delighted to announce that our first feature film WE CAN BE HEROES, starring Alison Steadman and Phil Davies is to be screened at the 71st Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2017.

WE CAN BE HEROES is heart-warming, contemporary, adventure featuring three British youngsters who mistakenly think they’ve discovered a threat to national security. The story is full of well-defined, appealing, inspirational characters of all ages; it’s funny, moving, dark in places but warmth and excitement permeates throughout. It has humour, pathos, family conflict. It’s a celebration of childhood with a touch of Manga for good measure. The over-riding themes are Love, Friendship, Relationships, Reconciliation and Hope.
WE CAN BE HEROES challenges many current stereo-typical views and has a cracking, unexpected climax with an emotional and uplifting conclusion.
The cast includes:
• Alison Steadman (Boomers, Gavin and Stacey)
• Phil Davies, (Poldark, Silk, Being Human)
• Steve Oram (Living and the Dead)
• Finty Williams (Cranford, Volcano)
• Harry Kirton (Peaky Blinders)
• Rukku Nazar (Wolfblood),
• Richard Sumitro (Holby City)
• Qasim Mahmood (National Theatre)
• Natalie Dew (Bend it Like Beckham)
• Josephine Lloyd-Welcome (Tenko)

Our juvenile leads are Toby Haste (Ben), Marissa Patel (Priti) and Sam Cox (Jed).
All three are brand new local talent. WE CAN BE HEROES is their first professional screen performance.

WE CAN BE HEROES is based on the popular children’s novel by Catherine Bruton, published in the UK by Egmont Press. The book has been sold internationally, with the UK and Germany its main international market. The book was nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2012.

‘Outstanding . . . A big, brave debut’ – The Bookseller
‘Astonishing, inventive . . . A remarkable piece of work’ – Books for Keeps

The film was shot entirely in the UK with 100% of filming taking place in and around Bristol with some location shots in Birmingham.


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I Predict A Riot longlisted for The Amazing Book Awards

So chuffed to get an email in my inbox this morning saying ‘I Predict a Riot has been longlisted for The Amazing Book Awards. Partly, of course, cos it’s a Sussex Awards and Sussex holds a very special place in my heart. Happiest days of my childhood were spent flying kites on the Devil’s Dyke up on the South Downs, rockpooling at Rottingdean, playing in the woods in Patcham and finding pebbles on Brighton Beach. So this one’s a bit close to my heart.

But the ABAs are also really special because they’re all nominated by kids in schools, which always makes it particularly lovely to be on the shortlist. Every year from a long-list of selected books the schools choose their favourite 5 titles because student voice is the most important part of the ABAs. When it comes to voting there is no panel vote or veto. Only the students can decide who their bronze, silver and gold winners will be.

As an author-teacher (or am I a teacher-author? Actually it really depends on what day of the week you ask me. And let’s not even get into the fact that I’m also two authors at once – check out if you don’t already know about my not-so-secret alter-ego identity!) Anyway, suffice to say I teach English some days and I write on others, so it makes me particularly excited to see students being given a voice, empowered to talk about and rant about and moan and rave about books. It just makes me feel a bit warm and fuzzy. I won’t go on about this (cos I really could) but let’s just say that it’s not a coincidence that it’s an English teacher and a book that makes all the difference for one of my most beloved characters in ‘I Predict a Riot’ – because I think that the books you love when you’re a teen do shape who you are, open your eyes, expand your horizons, enrich your life, enlarge your sympathies, challenge your preconceptions, rock your world – leave a fossil print on your soul.

So, I love and award that gets students reading and I am unutterably chuffed to have been longlisted for this one! Thank you @SussexABA!

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I Predict a Riot shortlisted for Essex Book Award and Wirral Book Award 2015

I’m thrilled that I Predict a Riot has been shortlisted for The Essex Book Awards 2015. The awards are open to all secondary schools in Essex, Southend and Thurrock. Pupils are invited to read six shortlisted books and judge which one they consider to be the best.

The really positive aspect of taking part in this reading challenge is that it’s young people’s votes that really count! There are some amazing blogs where readers are commenting on all the books. I’ve LOVED reading the ones about I Predict a Riot – yes, all the comments – the good, the bad and the ugly! Can’t wait to meet some of you to chat about your comments when I come to Essex next week!

You can find out more or comment on the books here:

I’m also very honoured to be shortlisted for the Wirral Book Awards.
11 schools across the Wirral are taking part in the Award and will attend an author event on Wednesday 18th March and a judging/voting event on Wednesday 24th June, 2015. The winner is voted for purely by participating pupils, not teaching or library staff.

So nice for a North West girl to be nominated for this award! Really hoping I can get a day off teaching to come to the author event and meet you all! Thanks for shortlisting me!

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I Predict a Riot nominated for the Oxfordshire Book Award

Another exciting award nomination for I Predict a Riot. The Oxfordshire Book Award is special because it is an award voted for entirely by children, who read and nominate their favourite books.
The award has three categories:

Best Book (Secondary School Category)
Best Book (Primary School Category)
Best Picture Book (Primary School Category)

Children throughout Oxfordshire can take part either at participating primary and secondary schools, or through any public library. Find out more at:

I am thrilled to be nominated and can’t wait to find out what you all think of the book!

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Riot shortlisted for Peter’s Book Awards and Redbridge Children’s Book Award

So chuffed to hear that I Predict a Riot has been shortlisted for the Peter’s Book of the Year 2015. The shortlists have been compiled by a team of librarians. Across the three categories, Picture Books, Junior Fiction and Teen Fiction, the shortlist include the librarians’ favourite children’s and YA publishing of the last 12 months.

They will be announcing a winner from each category in March 2015, but they need your votes! They are encouraging nurseries, schools and libraries to get involved by shadowing the awards over spring term 2015, with the help of teaching resources, posters, bookmarks and certificates available here

So do get involved!

I’ve also been longlisted for the Redbridge Children’s Book Award

Here’s how it works

•Autumn term – schools and libraries sign up to the award
•November – school librarians, library staff and children select 20 children’s titles and 20 teen titles to read published in the current year that aren’t sequels. These are sent to participating schools and library reading groups
•March – groups send in a list of their top 8 children’s and 8 teen books eurovision song contest style and the shortlist is announced
•End of May – Final voting on the shortlist. Winners and runners-up invited to the ceremony
•First Thursday in July – Awards Ceremony.
– See more at:

Very exciting and I’m honoured to be on such a great list with some incredible authors!

Participating Children, teachers and librarians can vote for their favourites, either online, or by downloading voting forms from the resources link above. Voting closes on the 20th March, with the winners announced on the 23rd March.

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At Cheltenham Lit Fest with Benjamin Zephaniah and Alan Gibbons October 11th

I’m thrilled (and a little frightened) to be appearing at Cheltenham Literature Festival alongside two incredible teen writers, talking riots, terrorism and hate crime. Here’s the blurb and a link in case you are interested: Three outstanding teen fiction writers take a timely look at terrorism, prejudice and how the choices we make shape our lives. Benjamin Zephaniah, a distinctive voice on social and political issues, presents his new novel Terror Kid, Alan Gibbons’ novel Hate explores the ‘crime’ of being different and Catherine Bruton examines the 2011 UK riots in her novel I Predict a Riot.

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