I have been working with Mark Brake to develop a book for Kingfisher entitled Really, Really Big Questions About Space And Time. Mark is also writing the copy for this title.

Mark has a previous history with Macmillan Children’s Books and Macmillan Science titles, but I believe this is the first time he has been commissioned to write an illustrated non-fiction title of this nature.

With regard to our working relationship, and the progress we are making on the book, I did not want his impressive contribution to go unacknowledged. He has completely grasped the concept I have been developing, and has helped me to take the project forward while getting the tone of the text and visual approach exactly right for the target age range (9 years and upwards).

I commissioned Mark because of his proven background as a communicator and ‘popularizer’ of science subjects. He has lived up to this reputation, and the sheer enthusiasm he brings to the task is a huge benefit to us. I am rarely chasing written copy or feedback on the visuals — Mark makes himself available even when under pressure with other deadlines. He is extremely conscientious in terms of delivering material on time, and completely flexible when it comes to revising the approach or re-visiting the material to sharpen it for the readership.

I am motivated to write this appraisal of Mark’s work, as I am hoping to develop an ongoing relationship with him, in case suitable future projects present themselves. Commitment of this kind can be a rarity, so I just wanted to show my appreciation for the support and dedication he has shown. It is a pleasure to deal with him on a daily basis.

Senior Editor, Kingfisher non-fiction



As we’re well into the edit now I thought it would be a good time to write to thank you for the brilliant job you have performed as scientific advisor for the Space Hoppers series.

The combination of your breadth of knowledge, ability to engage with the CBBC approach to the subject and supportive enthusiasm has been really appreciated by all the team. As has your understanding of the deadlines to which we have been working and your speed of response when called upon.

Hopefully we have achieved something really worthwhile in this series, combining entertainment with science. In fact you could say it’s a very good example of Science Communication in action.

We are all very proud of the way the show is shaping up and your input has been a major factor in its success.

I hope we can work together again.

Very best regards,

Series Producer, Space Hoppers, CBBC


Publishing and Media

I have come to know Mark a great deal this year and to understand and appreciate the breadth of his vision and the rate of his accomplishments. At his joint lecture at the Royal Society in London, I was astounded at the level of question and answer, and during several meetings to discuss ideas to do with the discoverers of the Theory of Evolution, a subject which he mastered extremely quickly. I could only marvel at the depth of his knowledge and how easily he wore his own learning when dealing with ordinary people – i.e. those outside any scientific circle.

It is rare to find someone of Mark’s universal talents in science. To that end I know that his own lecture on Alfred Russel Wallace, were he to write one, would be far more accomplished than my own book published last year about Wallace and Darwin.

I, for one, amid millions of others who know his work, hope that his guidance will be there for us for years to come.


BAFTA-nominated editor of BBC’s Timewatch, and previously Head of Factual Programmes at BBC Wales

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