Fred Sedgwick was born in Ireland in 1945: The Maternity Ward, The Rotunda Hospital, Dublin is the only notable address he can boast, by a long way. He is the father and grandfather respectively of two of the dedicatees to this book, Daniel and Malachi. He was brought to London as a baby, and brought up there, at first in a Dr. Barnados home in Battersea. He attended a now extinct grammar school in Clapham where he began short careers as an amateur boxer and as a hurdler. He began work as a trainee librarian, but went to a college of education, where he qualified as a teacher in 1968. After three primary headships, he became, in 1990, a freelance lecturer, teacher and writer.
He has written for dozens of newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The Independent. The Times Educational Supplement published his features for over thirty years. He has also reviewed books, mostly poetry, in many places. He has published three collections of mainstream poems: The Living Daylights in 1986, Lies in 1990 and Stone and other poems in 2004 (the last is still in print from Happy Dragons). A collection for young people (also still in print) appeared in 1994: Pizza, Curry, Fish and Chips, Longman. He has published anthologies of poems for children, and has been leading writing workshops for children and adults for twenty years. He has also worked as a tutor for the Open University, and as an occasional lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.
He has written over thirty books, including Read My Mind: Young Children, Poetry and Learning; Shakespeare and the Young Writer; and Writing to Learn (all Routledge 1997, 1999 and 2000 respectively); and Teaching Literacy, How to Teach with a Hangover and Where Words Come From (all Continuum 2001,2005 and 2009 respectively).
Sedgwick is currently writing a book about Shakespeare for secondary school students.
He spends over a hundred days a year working with young people, reading his (and other writers’) poems, and helping them to draft their own poems honestly. He also helps them to write prose of various kinds, often using passages from Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens and others.
He spends as much time as he can in Paris and Chartres, and travelling around English churches and cathedrals; doing both with a notebook and camera.