From ‘humble Mackem’ to international author – Horrible Histories creator Terry Deary to tell all

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HORRIBLE Histories author Terry Deary is returning to Sunderland University

After selling more than 25million copies of his work, the bestselling writer will be guest speaker at a public lecture in the city.

The public will hear how the Sunderland-born author went from being a “humble Mackem” to internationally acclaimed success, writing more than 240 books, films, computer games, audio and stage plays.

The BBC TV series Horrible Histories’, based on his work, is the only children’s programme to win a British Comedy Award.

Terry said: “I’m a northern lad from the roughest part of post-war Sunderland.

“I’d like to say that I am a triumph of talent and determination over the vicissitudes of life because that sounds great, but the truth is I’m a bit baffled as to how I became a children’s author with 240 books including the bestselling Horrible Histories.

“Writing is a middle-class job in a middle-class industry that is dominated by the South of England. I was rather hoping that if I talk an audience through my journey, I may discover the answer to the question, ‘How the heck did I arrive here?’.”

Terry has also worked as a theatre-director, museum manager, drama teacher and television presenter. He first acted on television in 1973, and in 2010 he made his debut in movies with a small part in a British film Risen.

His talk – “Terry Deary: A Horrible Man” – will take place on Thursday, May 23.

Terry announced this year that he planned to stop writing the Horrible Histories series to concentrate a new range of history books for adults for the next two years.

As an actor with Theatre Powys, Terry began writing scripts for some of the shows. One of the most successful was a children’s show called The Custard Kid.

The Custard Kid tour ended but Terry didn’t want to lose the exciting tale, so he turned it into a children’s novel. That first novel was published by A&C Black, which is still publishing his books 35 years later. Terry has written more than 100 novels, as well as his non-fiction titles, and is one of Britain’s best-selling authors.