WRITER, POET, PERFORMER AND AWARD-WINNING 'PRIVATE EYE' CARTOONIST Shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2019. Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 for Best Book with Facts. Shortlisted (twice) for the DeBary Book Awards. Shortlisted (twice) for the ASE Book of the Year. Cartoon Art Trust Strip Cartoonist of the Year 2013. DBS Checked.


 SWAT cover

Swat! A Fly's Guide to Staying Alive is a funny fact-filled book all about houseflies that I wrote and drew, and was published by Brambleby Books back in 2013.

The book is the product, essentially, of the three years I spent at university in London studying biology, though the book only came about many years later.

Swat! tells the story of Buzzter, a newly-hatched housefly who finds the world he has emerged into is far from safe. In fact it is full of perils - including lizards, birds, frogs, humans and even insect-eating plants! By highlighting these dangers we learn about animal survival, the food web, and why flies are actually useful, even though ultimately they all must die. He learns all this under the guidance of a helpful old fly called Professor Halfbottle.

Here are some sample spreads from inside:




I have a very funny hour long family-friendly show based on the book, in which I dress as a giant housefly and entertain audiences with many gruesome facts about fly biology and the anatomy and behaviour of insects. There is lots of audience participation, including children joining me on stage for various insect-related challenges.

The show premiered - and sold out - at the Hay Festival in 2013. Here's me live on stage:

mike hay swat

Since then I have performed it at numerous science festivals around the country, including the Edinburgh Science Festival, and the Times International Science Festival in Cheltenham. I have also performed the show in dozens of schools, libraries and museums across Britain.


Here's a letter from a very happy audience member:

swat keyingham cut

And here's an online review:

toppsta swat

I also took the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival:


SWAT! also has an accompanying Insect Biology workshop which elaborates on themes raised in the show and can be booked separately or as an accompaniment. There are also accompanying downloads and fun things to do based on the book.

Do get in touch if you'd like to book the show or the workshop or both. You can buy SWAT! directly from Brambleby Books here.