After school and university Piers worked on plays and comedy shows on the Edinburgh Fringe, and then moved into television where he helped to develop and write a variety of programmes from reality to comedy shows.
Piers comes from a writing background: his grandfather Roger Mortimer was a journalist who wrote hundreds of funny letters to his children. After his father, Paul, wrote his first book at the age of 59 (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Piers felt inspired to have a go himself and went on an Arvon Course at Ted Hughes' former house in West Yorkshire, where he began work on The Last Wild (shortlisted for Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2013). A few years later, The Last Wild is available in thirteen countries worldwide and and the sequel, The Dark Wild has won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2014.
Piers has also been trained as a Volunteer Reader by Beanstalk and feels very privileged to be working with them in North London helping challenged young readers to enjoy children's books the way he once did. He is also a Trustee of the Pleasance Theatre, which gave him his first ever break and continues to do the same every year for hundreds of young creative people.
I find spiders scary, which is why there is only one in the book and not for very long, in fact, I'm fascinated by "varmints" like pigeons and cockroaches. They're around us all the time, and we generally try to shoo them away, but they're actually really interesting creatures and are often far from being pests. Did you know that pigeons helped us win World War I by carrying coded messages across battlefields? And that 99% of cockroaches have never been near a kitchen – most of them in fact provide an essential service to the environment by eating and recycling the waste that few other creatures will. Some cockroaches can actually move faster than a leopard, which is also pretty cool.
Featured series by Piers Torday
Last Wild (Ages 10 and up)