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A 'Giant' success for Oliver Rigby (BA 2003)

The Bristol Giants Save Christmas illustrated by Tom Bonson

Oliver and his two sons

Goram and Ghyston, the Bristol Giants illustrated by Tom Bonson

16 December 2015

Children’s book author Oliver Rigby (BA 2003) is here in time for Christmas to talk to us about the third outing of the Bristol Giants in 'The Bristol Giants Save Christmas'.

Oliver first made his mark on the children's book scene in 2014 with Goram & Ghyston: The Bristol Giants, a colourful tale exploring the Bristolian folklore of the giants who formed the Hazel Brook and the Avon Gorge.

The idea for the book series first came to Oliver after he encountered signs pointing to 'Giants' Cave' while walking across the Downs by the Suspension Bridge. Intrigued, Oliver began his initial research: 'I just wanted to know why it was called the Giants' Cave.  I hadn't heard the myth before and figured that if I hadn't heard the story then lots of others wouldn't have heard the story either.  That seemed a shame so I started writing my own version.'

As a financial consultant, the role of children's book author didn't come easily. 'I hadn't done any creative writing in over 17 years - and I seem to remember not being very good at it back then - so it was all a bit of a shock to the system,' Oliver confesses. 'It took me about 12 months to write the first story and with only 1,000 words in the book, that works out at three words a day!'

Oliver was inspired to start working on The Bristol Giants Save Christmas when the series' illustrator, Tom Bonson, drew a picture of the Giants in Father Christmas outfits. 'I just loved the idea of seeing a Giant try and fit down a chimney.'

Further inspiration came from his two sons. 'They have reached the stage where they have started squabbling with each other, and I wanted to write something that might encourage them to play together as a team!'

With a sense of community at the heart of his work, Oliver often visits local schools and bookshops to interact with the children who have read his books. 'It is lovely to see kids enjoying the books, and they seem to get some inspiration from meeting a "real author", which is great.'

Oliver has also chosen to make The Bristol Giants Save Christmas a 'Buy One, Give One' book, with one copy donated for each copy sold. The donated books will be given to disadvantaged or hospitalised children in Bristol. 'I really like the idea that businesses and entrepreneurs should not be striving to do everything just for profit.  Having a positive social impact should be part of a business plan wherever possible.

'Giving the books away seemed like a great way to give something back to the city and also brighten up Christmas for people who need it. 

'I’m also conscious that the Bristol Giants was not my story, it was Bristol's story that I made my own!'

As for the Giants' next steps, it seems fitting to think big: 'I like the idea of a Giants' Sports Day to tie in with the Olympics next year, or maybe a space adventure involving hot air balloons.'

Further information

For more information and to buy the books online, visit the official website for the Bristol Giants.