Author: Tiger Skin Rug (Pokey Hat, an imprint of Cranachan Publishing)

by December 01, 2020 0 comments

We, Sarah & Jess are delighted to host author Joan Haig on Day 3 of Advent with Authors 2020 here at our Advent Special Blog! Her CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021 nominated children's novel, Tiger Skin Rug is published by Pokey Hat, an imprint of Cranachan Publishing.

Tiger Skin Rug is available on, an online bookstore that supports local, independent bookstores. Link below.

Joan's twitter handle: @joanhaigbooks
Her instagram handle:@joanhaigbooks
Her website:


My most memorable Christmas/New Year/festivity ever!
Ah, so many memorable festive holidays. The one that leaps out, though, is Diwali in 2007 in Zambia - held in the cricket grounds in Lusaka on Lakshmi Puja, the third day of celebrations. It was hot, building up to the rains. There was dancing and music and scenes acted out from Rayamana. Santa Claus made an appearance and gave gifts to the children. Circles of white plastic chairs were set out on the yellowed grass, where we sat and shared scrumptious food. It was a spectacular show of shared and adapted customs - and of fireworks!

My teenage crush.
I have two, and they are both fictional characters. My first, in my earlier teens, was Howl from Howl's Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne Jones. The other, at age fifteen, was Amit Chatterji from A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. Alas, since one was a wizard and the other was destined for an arranged marriage, and both were trapped in books, it was never to be.

My pet(s)...
Growing up my family had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, a tortoise, gerbils, fish, and a chameleon that lived in a mango tree. I briefly lived with a farmer whose pet was a crocodile called Fred. I have two sons now - I call them my bush babies - and we have two moggies. I'd never have a a pet bird unless it was a rescue one (I've hand-reared lost owls and new chicks), but I love having them in my garden.

My dream!
I dream that today's grownups act to stop waste and pollution and rising emissions of dangerous gases; that we act to stop greedy people putting themselves before others; that we slow down population growth in the world's highest consuming countries; that we find solutions to environmental problems. I dream that we do this all before today's children are grownups and are forced to inherit the task.

I love to collect...
When I was little I collected African stamps, but we lost them on one of our moves. When I was a teenager I started to collect letter openers. Not really on purpose; it's just what I was drawn to at craft markets and jumble sales. Handwritten letters were my form of existence for so long. I love choosing which letter opener is just right for the job. An airmail envelope or birthday card usually gets swanky hand-carved bone or pewter treatment; a bank statement or bill might not even qualify, instead getting the blunt side of a regular table knife. My letter openers are a little bit like wands: each has its own power and origin story.


Sarah Forestwood


Advent with Authors 2020


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