Matt Brown and Compton Valance: The Most Powerful Boy in the Universe

Matt Brown headlined this year’s Manchester Children’s Book Festival Family Fun Day on Saturday. He chatted to children and parents about his fantastic Compton Valance series. Compton has already captured Manchester’s imagination after becoming the official mascot of MCBF 2015 and getting inti all kinds of mischief around the city! The books tell the story of Compton Valance and his best friend Bryan Nylon, who discover that a  mouldy thirteen-week-old sandwich is actually a time machine!
Before Matt arrived, I talked to new Compton fan, Fitri, who said she bought the book at the Family Fun Day as she knew her son Evan would enjoy it. Evan added, “I’m looking forward to the story!”
Introducing Matt, Festival Director, James Draper, told the audience, “We hope you’ll be inspired.”

Matt then took to the stage and chatted to us, explaining that he fell in love with writing about time travel at age 10, inspired by books such as Stig of the Dump. Matt said he was influenced to write funny stuff by comedy double act Laurel and Hardy – “because who doesn’t love a pie in the face?!”

Matt read from the first book in the series, Compton Valance: The Most Powerful Boy in the Universe, before providing the audience with a useful writing tips, “I can’t write until I know my characters’ name.” He told us, “I have to think of them all before I can start writing.” We learned Compton Valance’s name came from a village in Dorset, and that the name Drayton Mursley came from a road sign.
Next, Matt told us how to find out our top-secret F.A.R.T. Academy agent name! To do so, take your first pet’s name and the name of your street. We tried it, and the results had us all laughing.
A Q&A session ended Matt’s talk. Matt was asked his favourite character from the Compton Valance books. He replied, “It would have to be Compton. He’s sort of based on me – a much cooler more adventurous version of me.”
After Matt had signed some books for eager readers, he told me,

“It’s been brilliant to be part of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival. There have been so many things that I’ve seen today – and that I’ve seen on Twitter over the last few weeks – that have been amazing. Seeing the mouldy sandwich that the scientists have created was incredible. It’s amazing to think that people have been inspired by something I’ve written.”

Check out Matt’s website if you’re interested in learning more about the Compton Valance series, and our What’s On guide for more great events like this one!

– RJ


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