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The Liebster Award – Byford’s Books

Hi! I would like to begin by thanking A Young Writer’s Notebook for nominating for this award. I truly believe that the Liebster Award is a brilliant initiative which allows all of us involved in this community to showcase work which we enjoy and which inspires us. I only began blogging fairly recently and I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity to share a bit of myself with you all.


There’s a few rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
  • Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them
  • Give them 11 questions of your own


My Questions from A Young Writer’s Notebook:


If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what genre would you choose?

I always find myself in two minds whenever ‘genre’ comes up in conversation. I can see the positives and the negatives of placing work into genres. Yes, genre allows us to discover books, films, music and other platforms which are similar in some way to things we already like. However, I can’t help but think that a genre is almost like trying to contain work, which suggests in some respect a limitation to creativity. It’s something I think about a lot as I work in the book trade, but for ease and comfort I do still find myself using genre and talking about genre on pretty much a daily basis. If I had to choose only one genre to read for the rest of my life then I’d definitely pick fantasy. This answer makes me feel like I’m cheating. Fantasy is so applicable to so many works of fiction, arguably, all fiction is a work of fantasy! But that’s my answer! Even if we’re going to be strict on definitions I still choose fantasy. I’m just drawn to it, not always as an escape, but often as a way of understanding and coming to terms with the real world.


What is your favourite book and why?

THE DREADED QUESTION! I’m going to be brave here and actually just choose one book instead of naming a handful which have all been my favourite at one time or another. The book I’m choosing is Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, which is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. It was published in 1995 and was voted the all time Carnegie of Carnegies in a poll conducted for the 70th anniversary of the award back in 2007. I’ve chosen this book because it was the book which inspired me to start writing as well as reading and is also the reason I moved to Oxford. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Philip Pullman several times and I’ve acquired several signed books from him which are the pride of my bookshelves. If you haven’t read this trilogy then please make it the next thing you read, it will change your life! For those who have read this trilogy, if you visit my About page and take a look at the photo of myself there, then you might be interested to know that I’m sitting on Will & Lyra’s bench in the Oxford Botanic Garden.bench


Which writer inspires you the most?

There are many writers which inspire me (I’m sure this is the same for everyone), as I said above Philip Pullman first inspired me to write. However the writer which I like to listen to talk about writing and whose career has inspired me the most would be Neil Gaiman. Not only has Gaiman written across many different mediums he possesses a true talent for creativity as well as one of the greatest imaginations I have ever seen. When I’m feeling uninspired he is the person I turn to. Just listening to him speak seems to fuel my own creativity. His ‘Make Good Art’ speech is something special!


What was the first book you ever read?

When I was a child I would read many books in school and at home with my parents, but the first book I really remember sitting in bed and reading completely on my own was Five on a Treasure Island. This book made me completely fall in love with Enid Blyton and I would read and re-read The Famous Five and The Secret Seven books again and again and again. Without discovering these books I don’t believe I would have become the reader I am today. They opened a door for me into a world of adventure which I never plan on leaving.


Who is your favourite character from any book, movie, TV show etc. and why?

The answer to this is Crowley from Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by  Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. He’s ‘Hell’s most approachable demon.’ and possibly the coolest character ever created. It’s hard for me to say why I love Crowley so much, the guy is a demon and was also the serpent from the Garden of Eden. When you hear this alone you think he must be evil? Well, I’m sure Crowley has done some terrible things in his time, but it’s the “human” element to him which I adore. So often we see characters which are portrayed as totally good or totally evil, but these characters don’t always appeal to me as much as ones where the lines are a little more blurred. Crowley has many comic moments in Good Omens, but it’s the parts where he ponders the veil between what’s right and what’s wrong which speaks to me and why he’s my favourite character.

‘Funny thing is,” said Crawly, “I keep wondering whether the apple thing wasn’t the right thing to do, as well. A demon can get into real trouble, doing the right thing.’ He nudged the angel. ‘Funny if we both got it wrong, eh? Funny if I did the good thing and you did the bad one, eh?’


What is your favourite literary/poetic quote?

‘You cannot change what you are, only what you do.’
― Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass


What’s your favourite movie?

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers! Is there anything more perfect than the middle of an adventure?


Which book/poem/tv show/movie do you wish you’d written?

This is a rather obvious answer, but I wish I had written Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, or to be truthful, the entire Harry Potter series. Why? Well, it’s not my favourite series of all time, but can you imagine the whole world knowing what you created? Can you imagine having such an incredible impact on the world of books and to have contributed so much to encouraging children to read? I can. I love the Harry Potter books, but I was always extremely jealous of J. K. Rowling, I couldn’t stop thinking ‘How will I ever come up with an idea as good as this?’.


Ebook, audio book, hardcover or paperback?

Paperback! I’m just not a big fan of eBooks, I need to be able to smell what I’m reading! When it comes down to hardcover or paperback then I have to go with the paperback, it’s just easier and more comfortable to read. Audiobooks are brilliant and if you haven’t got at least one at a time on your iPod then . . . you should.


Beyond blogging, what other hobbies do you have?

I love to read and I love to write. I’m also a big music fan, I love bands/artists such as; The Smiths, Belle and Sebastian, The Cure, Modest Mouse and Los Campesinos! Since I’ve started earning a little more money I’ve also started to travel a little with my girlfriend. There are many places I’d love to visit and I plan on going to Norway this year.

Here I am enjoying a breakfast waffle in Antwerp, Belgium, which I visited in 2015.



Tell me a random fact about you!

I have a pet dragon called Lamia.


Thanks for reading!

Follow me on Twitter: @ByfordsBooks

Here are my nominees:


My questions for you all: (Some borrowed from A Young Writer’s Notebook)

  1. If you could have afternoon tea with one fictional character who would it be?
  2. If you could live in a book, TV show or movie, which would it be?
  3. Which book has influenced you the most?
  4. If you could time travel would you go to the past or to the future?
  5. What is your favourite quote?
  6. Which author inspires you?
  7. Which author (dead or alive) would you want to be trapped in an elevator with for 24 hours? (I don’t mean dead in the elevator with you!)
  8. Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
  9. Who is your favourite band/artist?
  10. What is your favourite movie?
  11. Tell me one random fact about yourself?



  1. Pingback: The “Liebster Blog” Award | Writer's Treasure Chest

  2. Diana says

    Good responses and cute pet you go there. Those questions got me thinking about my own answers and honestly, I don’t think I have a favorite book.Too many to choose from. All the best with the travel, I hope to travel more this year too and explore my country Kenya and then go outside the boarder.


    Liked by 1 person

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