Having recently written a description of how I got into ELT writing for ELTteacher2writer, I felt inspired to add this page to give anyone who is interested an overview of my writing career.

My first book: Discover Elementary English Grammar.

This came about in 1996 when a trainee on a CELTA course I was working on suggested I should write a grammar practice book, similar to Murphy , but with more of a discovery approach. It was huge fun to do, if not very lucrative (Ok, not at all lucrative). It’s out of print now (has been for a long time), but you can still find it on Amazon, where, I am inordinately proud to report, there is a single review titled ‘Better than Murphy’ (!) Bless you, cosmicgirl..

Not long after this I started working at an FE College in the Midlands, where we had a lot of quite low level IELTS learners. Frustrated by the lack of materials on offer at the time, my colleagues and I would often say that someone should write an IELTS book for this type of learner. Eventually we (me, Joanne Gakonga and Andrew Preshous) put together a proposal and sent it to Macmillan. We heard nothing for months because it had, of course, gone straight onto a slush pile. But, it turned out that that good people at Macmillan had also been thinking of a lower level IELTS course and, by good luck, someone remembered our proposal and we wrote the first edition of IELTS Foundation.

We must have been right about the need for such a book because we have just written the second edition.

The next thing I wrote was Premium B1. This was an interesting project, because the series was designed for mixed exam/non exam classes. It was largely based around the Cambridge Preliminary exam, but covered other exams at that level too, but with a more General English feel to it.

This then led on to writing the new edition of Total English Intermediate. The original authors, Antonia Clare and JJ Wilson, were working on a big hush hush project at the time (it turned out to be Speakout), so I was given a pretty free rein to rewrite it. I ended up rewriting more than half, not because the original material wasn’t good (it was), but because once you start unpicking a book and including new texts and recordings, it’s surprising just how much new material you do have to write. It’s a bit like using an old lesson plan. I rarely do because even when the lesson went beautifully, I feel the need to start changing things and before I know it I might just have well have started from scratch.

Apart from the new edition of IELTS Foundation, my latest project has been writing the Advanced level of Real Life Global, which is due out in August. This was my first book at Upper Secondary level, rather than adults, and it was a learning curve.

Working on a new writing project is always a steep learning curve, which is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.

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