A SOUTH Lakes mum has experienced a touch of publishing magic after her debut children’s novel was praised by the man who revealed Harry Potter to the world.

Natalie Gordon’s story, Mr Nobody, was read by influential publisher Barry Cunningham, who made his name after turning JK Rowling’s young wizard into a worldwide publishing sensation.

Mr Cunningham rang Natalie to personally offer congratulations after her novel made it into the top 16 of a national children’s fiction competition.

He described the book, one of more than a thousand submitted for the prize, as ‘bold, ambitious, moving and funny’.

Natalie, 41, of Cage Farm, Dent, said she was ‘thrilled’ to get such a reaction to the story, which touchingly deals with dual themes of growing up and growing old.

“For my debut novel to be praised by the man who first published JK Rowling is amazing,” she said.


Mr Cunningham was working at publishers Bloomsbury when he signed up the bestselling author’s first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

JK Rowling had previously received a string of rejections from other publishers before being signed up by Mr Cunningham.

Later, he set up his own publishers, Chicken House, which jointly created the Children’s Fiction Competition with The Times.

Natalie said she was ‘amazed and delighted’ when her book reached the prize’s longlist of 16.

The competition was ultimately won by geography teacher Kerr Thomson for The Sound of Whales, an adventure story set on a remote Scottish island.

Natalie’s book, which handles issues surrounding Alzheimer’s from both a granddaughter’s and grandmother’s point of view, is set in a fictional version of Kendal.

It was written with her ten-year-old daughter Millie’s age group in mind.

Natalie said: “My book is self-published and I’m very grateful to all the help my husband Adrian was able to give with technical issues and to the Dent artist Clare Clayton for her fantastic colour illustration.”

She added: “I’m already working on my second book, which will be aimed at the age group of my younger daughter Isla, who is seven. It’s about a little boy with a lot of imagination. ”