My Job in Five: Rob Parker

My Job in Five: Rob Parker

Describe your role. 
I’m a writer. I started my career as a newspaper journalist, moved into copywriting and then into writing children’s books. The birth of my twin daughters in 2016 was the main motivation for me starting to write stories for kids. Reading picture books on a daily basis sparked something for me creatively, and I’m running with that.

What do you enjoy about your role?
It’s definitely seeing the impact the books have on children. Sometimes that’s as simple as parents sharing photos of their kids enjoying a book or a teacher sending me work that’s inspired by the book. But finding out that pupils at a special school in London had used my book World At Your Feet as an accompaniment to their reflexology storytime completely humbled me and is one of the proudest moments of my career to date. 

What are you working on at the moment?
My new football picture book Europe At Your Feet will be published on 17th November. It features some of the most memorable goals ever scored at European Championships. I’ve written rhyming-verse commentary of famous goals scored by players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Gascoigne and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Each goal is illustrated beautifully by Lawerta, who has really managed to capture the movement of each goal.

What skills do you need for your role?
We’ll take writing as a given, but I always think—at the risk of sounding a bit lonely hearts column—that a good sense of humour is important. Not because everything you write has to be funny, but because having the instinct to find the humour in something helps you to find new and unusual angles when you sit down to write.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
The publishing industry has its fair share of quirks, traditions and unwritten rules, so I’d advise people to do their research. Do some networking (which will probably be online or on the phone for the foreseeable future) and build your understanding of how things are done. Anything you can do that will enhance both what you know and who you know is likely to help smooth your path into the industry.