Q&A with author Ian Eagleton

Ian Eagleton is the author of brand new book Glitter Boy, an uplifting and ultimately joyful story about facing up to bullying – and to your own truth. We asked Ian about his writing, including his top tips for young writers.


Can you tell us about your new book, Glitter Boy?

The story follows James, who is an eleven-year-old kid who loves poetry, his nan, dancing, and Mariah Carey. He is full of life and confidence until he begins to experience homophobic bullying. The story is about James reclaiming his narrative, tackling the bullying, and learning to live freely and happily outside other people’s expectations. It celebrates the joy you can experience when you live authentically and find people who love you for just being you.

What inspired you to write Glitter Boy?

Glitter Boy was inspired by three things. The first was my own experiences of homophobic bullying – a lot of the scenes in Glitter Boy were things that happened to me. We had just also adopted a little baby boy and so being a dad and all that entails really influenced my writing and James’s relationship with his own father. Lastly, Glitter Boy was inspired by anger! Anger at how the LGBTQ+ community is being treated, anger that transphobia and homophobia seem to be on the rise, and an anger that our stories don’t often get told and if they do they focus on the ‘coming out’ stage.

How did your experiences as a teacher influence the story?

It definitely helped in that I taught for thirteen years, so when I was writing about James’s school day it felt very familiar and fresh in my mind. I was able to think about what sorts of lessons James might take part in, what clubs might be taking place after school, what James might be having for his school dinner, and how teachers might interact with their students. As a result, I hope James’s life at school feels authentic and realistic.

What are your top tips for young writers?

Keep a diary! I wrote in my diary from the age of ten until I was around twenty! Diaries are a brilliant way to encourage a love of writing because you can just write for your own pleasure and enjoyment. You can write about holidays, food you’ve liked, films you’ve watched, arguments you’ve had… all sorts!

Do you have any favourite children’s books to share for LGBTQ+ History Month?

So many! I’m going to stick to picture books though and recommend The Pirate Mums and The Marvellous Doctors for Magical Creatures, written by Jodie Lancet-Grant and beautifully illustrated by Lydia Corry. Both books are magical, warm, funny and full of hope, while also celebrating LGBTQ+ families.

Glitter Boy is out now.

Glitter Boy
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Glitter Boy by Ian Eagleton

A Polari-Prize-winning author presents an unforgettable story about a boy facing up to bullying – and his own truths.

James loves dancing, poetry, and Mariah Carey (not in that order, though, because Mariah would obviously be first!). His teacher, Mr Hamilton, is getting married to his boyfriend and it seems that James will be part of a surprise choir performance at the wedding. But James’s father seems uncomfortable about the plan, and a lot of other things – like any mention of Mr Hamilton, and James’s dancing, and how James talks about his new friend Joel.

Meanwhile, a different boy has been harassing James at school and calling him gay, and it’s getting worse every day. James can find relief with his beloved Nan, she’s been having worrying falls, and James can’t tell anyone, or she might be sent to a faraway care home.

The secrets are building up, and James is starting to lose his characteristic spark. Can he find the strength to let the truth out?

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