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Interview with Miriam Halahmy

Yesterday Miriam Halahmy had the launch party for her fantastic new book, The Emergency Zoo, published by Alma Books. To celebrate her launch Miriam has told us all about her favourite stationery and how she uses it during her writing process.


I write novels, poems and short stories for children, teens and adults. I have been publishing since the 1990s and I also lead creative writing groups. My Y.A. novel HIDDEN, was Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. It has been optioned for the stage and will be published in America in the autumn.

I always write in pen because I worry that pencil will rub out and I’ll lose something important. I prefer fibre tip pens and the Muji range are my favourite. I usually write in black or blue but sometimes I enjoy writing in green or purple. The pen has to flow easily for me and have a reasonable grip.

Most of my notebooks are the cheapest kind because these are the ones I like best. They are generally small to make them easy to carry around. They must be lined and the lines can’t be too far apart. I’m extremely fussy about the lines! I always start a new notebook for each novel and these are a larger size. People love to give me fancy notebooks with heavy covers as presents. I love them and use them as a diary when I go on holiday.

Plastic covers are essential for me. I like the envelope type which button down to store research notes, chapters and entire manuscripts. I also use a lot of plastic pockets to keep things separate. I need files for my filing cabinet to keep things in some kind of order, but when I’m working away my desk literally becomes a rising mound of books, papers, slippery slidy plastic pockets, and pens which have been discarded. I don’t stint on ink cartridges and paper because these are the very tools of my trade. Any half used paper is torn up and used for rough notes, to do lists, etc.

Miriam cover sm

My new book, The Emergency Zoo, Alma Books, May 2016, focuses on a little know story of WW2 and the huge culling of the pets. My book asks:

When war breaks out, who will save the animals?

The children spirit their pets away from the grownups and even end up caring for a baby cobra. Events for the book start in two weeks and I’ll be at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August. I’m working on a second book about pets and WW2 set in the Blitz, so it is a busy year for me and I’m going to need lots of notebooks and pens.


Find out more about Miriam on her website: Facebook author page : and Twitter: @miriamhalahmy

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