Frank Cottrell Boyce – Screenwriter, novelist and occasional actor
Frank Cottrell Boyce was born in 1959 in St Helens to an Irish Catholic family. He attended nearby St Bartholomew’s Primary School and West Park secondary.
He was an undergraduate at Keble College, Oxford and then completed a doctorate in English, also at Oxford University. Cottrell-Boyce has also adapted novels for the screen and written children’s fiction. His first novel Millions was based on his own screenplay for the film of the same name. Cottrell Boyce won the annual Carnegie Medal from the British librarians, recognising it as the year’s best children’s book published in the UK.
His next novel Framed, he made the shortlist for both the Carnegie and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award.
In June 2012, he assumed the position of Professor of Reading (the first such professorship) at Liverpool Hope University.
He has also achieved fame as the writer for the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony and for sequels to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, a children’s classic by Ian Fleming.
St Alphonsus’ on Stanley Road, Liverpool, St Bartholomew’s in Rainhill and West Park in St Helens
My favourite teacher:
I had loads of great teachers. I had a primary school teacher called Sr Paul who placed a lot of trust in me, and an English teacher called Mr Biggs who was keen to teach us that clever and successful was nothing compared to happy and kind. I used to do a Punch and Judy show with him.
Favourite subject at school:
Biology – thinking about the structure of leaves or the human body was like taking
a hallucinogenic drug.
Were you streetwise or a bit of a geek?
There was no such thing as a geek back in my day. They were just called victims.
My favourite childhood band/singer:
I’m a massive David Bowie fan.
My favourite extra-curricular activity:
I was in a few bands. I’m afraid I did a lot of airfix. But in a subversive way – I remember a battleship with a pair of boots and a Charles! with a funnel.
Do you remember your first school crush?
Oh gosh yes.
My favourite book:
Ever? Probably The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula le Guin
My big experience of school dinners was in St Helens. It was an endless conveyor belt of pies. Or to put it another way an endless conveyor belt of happiness.
My ambitions at school:
To get home in one piece. And to grow up to be a writer.