Spooky tales hit the right notes
After training as a singer at Birmingham Conservatoire, Harriet Goodwin is now entertaining audiences in a different way – as a bestselling children’s author. Her first story – about a boy who falls through the Earth’s surface into a ghostly underworld – was inspired by a dream she had shortly after the birth of her fourth child and went on to be shortlisted for 13 literary prizes, including the 2010 Blue Peter Book Award.
Harriet was a relative latecomer to singing, realising she had a talent for it while studying English Literature at Balliol College, Oxford. After graduating, she sang with The Monteverdi Choir and early music choral group The Sixteen, then trained as a mezzo-soprano at the Royal Northern College of Music. In 1999, she was offered a place at Birmingham Conservatoire on the DPS (Professional Performance Degree) course where she undertook a main role in the college opera and performed a number of recitals.
Shortly after graduating, she was nominated for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and started to get regular work but, as a mother with a young family, found she had to restrict her performances in order to achieve the right balance between her career and home life – and it was then that she had the dream which changed her life.
The result was Harriet’s debut novel, The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43, which was published in September 2009 and went on to be shortlisted for thirteen awards, including the 2010 Blue Peter Book Award. This has since been followed by three more books, Gravenhunger, The Hex Factor and The Hex Factor – Dark Tide.