Varjak Paw

"There are Seven Skills in the Way of Jalal," whispered the Elder Paw.  "We know only three of them. Their names are these.  Slow-Time.  Moving Circles.  Shadow-Walking."

Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue kitten.  He lives high up in an old house on a hill.  He's never left home, but then his grandfather tells him about the Way – a secret martial art for cats.

Now Varjak must use the Way to survive in a city full of dangerous dogs, cat gangs, and strangest of all, the mysterious Vanishings...



"Stylish, original and inventive, Varjak Paw is a modern children's classic" – Jacqueline Wilson 
"Combines a riveting, action-filled story with the timeless wisdom of the philosophers of the Far East... the effect is dazzling" – New York Times 
"The cat magic mystique is brilliant" – Richard Adams, author of Watership Down 
"Imagine The Karate Kid directed by David Lynch" – bookmunch.co.uk


Awards
  • NestlΓ© Smarties Book Prize, Gold Medal
  • Gateshead Children's Book Of The Year
  • West Sussex Children's Book Award
  • Stockton  Children's Book Of The Year


178 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello SF Said, I am Brandon, I am very young though, yet I have read your books of Varjak Paw, and Outlaw of Varjak Paw.
I am very (VERY) interested to see a third book, and please may one day it will come.
As I thought maybe, ideas could be : "Holly Bones" "Gentleman's return" "Cludge's Betrail" "The Scratch Sisters Return"
KEEP THE WAY ALIVE! (lol signature)

SF Said said...

Hello Brandon, thank you so much for your kind comment, and your great suggestions! There will definitely be a third book one day; I've written a bit about it here. In the meantime, I hope you'll also try reading my new book Phoenix – I think it's the best one I've written so far!

Keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

Hello SF Said, I'm Fuchsia and I have already read Varjak Paw and have just started The Outlaw Varjak Paw I would love to know when the third book is coming out, as I really want read it as soon as I can, and if you want to, could you tell me a bit about it,unless you want to keep it all a secret.
Keep the Way alive!!

SF Said said...

Hello Fuchsia, thank you so much for your comment! I've written a bit about the third book here - I hope that answers your question.
Keep the Way alive!

Unknown said...

Hi there!

I used to be a huge fan of this book as a child and was recently inspired to make a mock up of the cover for personal use! I hope you don't mind;

http://vixenvi.tumblr.com/post/69305095170/oh-hey-another-piece-of-art-im-actually

-Velle

SF Said said...

Hi Velle! And wow, that's a fantastic piece of art! I really like it, and of course I don't mind... would you mind if I posted it here on my blog some time?

In the meantime, you might be interested in my new book Phoenix. It's for all ages, and features more absolutely incredible art by the brilliant Dave McKean...

Thank you so much!
SF

L.W said...

Hi S.F.Said! I am 11 years old.
I really enjoy reading your Varjak Paw books, they are in my top 3 favorite series of books! I read every night, and I have read The Outlaw Varjak Paw, and Varjak Paw many times. I am wondering if there would be a 3rd book in the series. It would be very good and I have a few ideas, like if Varjak becomes a teacher of the way to other cats!
Thanks for reading, and keep the way alive!

SF Said said...

Hi L.W. and thank you for your lovely comment! Yes, I am definitely planning to write a 3rd Varjak Paw book one day, and I'm thinking it will be something like what you're imagining - I wrote a bit about this question here.

In the meantime, I hope you'll try my new book Phoenix. I know it might sound very different to Varjak on the surface, with humans & aliens instead of cats & dogs, but I think if you enjoyed Varjak, you'll find lots of things to enjoy in Phoenix too...

Thanks so much again! And Keep the Way alive!
SF

Mitchell said...

Hi Sf Said! I loved all your books but most of all Varjak Paw.My favourite character was Julius,Holly,Varjak and Sally Bones! How did you make up the cat mesopotamian blue?

SF Said said...

Hi Mitchell, thank you very much for your comment! The idea of Mesopotamian Blues was based on real cat breeds like Persian Blues. Persia is the ancient name of modern Iran, and Mesopotamia is the ancient name of modern Iraq, so it seemed logical!

I also wanted Varjak to go back to the origin of everything, and that's what Mesopotamia means to me. It's where civilisation began: the oldest stories we know come from there, and the oldest writing, and cities, and agriculture... So that's why I chose Mesopotamia!

Here's the British Museum page for it, if you want to know more: http://www.mesopotamia.co.uk/menu.html

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!

Daisy said...

Hi S . F. Said! In class we are reading Varjak Paw and so far I think it is brilliant. I am at All Saints School in Cockermouth and my teacher has asked us to find out what your initials S.F. stand for. I have looked on the internet for ages and I couldn't find out so I thought the most sensible thing to do was to ask you yourself.

Pleeeeeeeeeeease tell me or tell me your reason for keeping it a secret so I can go on the Proud Cloud in class this week.

Thankyou,

Daisy x

SF Said said...

Hi Daisy! Thank you for your lovely comment. It's not a secret - the S stands for Sabah and the F stands for Falah. The reason I use initials is that my name is Arabic, and it's hard to pronounce properly unless you speak Arabic; I thought initials would make it easier for people. Also I think the initials look quite writerly: CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein and JK Rowling all use initials... although I did it before JK!

Enny said...

Hello, SF Said.
I only want to give you a huge THANKS.
Execuse me if I make some silly language mistakes somewhere, english isn't my native.

I've read both Varjak-books six or seven years ago. They were my favorite books at all for an extremly long time - even for years. "Varjak Paw" included everything I needed and loved - fairytales, wisdom, sunny Mesopotamia, blue color, cats, cats, cats, heroes, winter, dreams... Your books and Dave's pictures made a big part of my childhood. No joke.
It's only because this plot and thoughts concur me at all. I thought, I don't need Varjak Paw anymore, now, when i'm not a little child. But yesterday I saw this books on the window-sill, and hardly cried about the sunny, like Mesopotamia, clear, like the Way, happy moments of reading it again, and again, and again, moments from my childhood.
And then I suddenly realized - I've followed exactly Paws' Way all my life, but didn't knew about it! I don't know, how, but your books gave me inspiration for the really long time. Just thank you, SF Said. Thank you for ideas, for creating this world, thank you for creating Jalal and Varjak - and all the Paws - who gave me the Way.

I know you hope I like Phoenix. I promise that I will read and comment it some day, as my gratitude to you. But now i'm too confused for reading another good books by influence upon me that both Varjak-books had.

One more thing - when Varjak went up inside the tower (The Outlaw Varjak Paw), the pictures on the walls seemed familiar to him, but the cobweb's didn't let him look at them carefully. Could you tell me this secret - were it the same pictures, that he saw in the Mesopotamian mountain's depths? What is the connection between tower, pictures, Way and Sally Bones? Maybe, Sally Bones had her own histiory, that you know, but there was no need to tell it in the book? Could you give me at least small hints?..

I guess, there's no need to say I hope for the third book.

I am - attention! - I am a girl of fifteen.
Fifteen! Such an old ladies shouldn't cry only because they've found a sense of their child-life, and they shouldn't run to brokenly scribble to author of two books for children...

Vast thanks and best wishes,
Lady, whose-real-name-is-Stasya, who-don't-want-to-be-called-that'way, who-is-absolutely-happy-she-can-communicate-with-SF-Said

Mesopotamian Blue Enny Paw

SF Said said...

Dear Enny,

Thank you so much for your amazing comment - I love what you've written, it really means a huge amount to me to hear such wonderful things about my books!

I think Sally Bones definitely had her own history... but I can't say too much about it yet, as there might be more about it in the third book... I'm not sure yet! Most of what I know about the third book I wrote here. It will happen one day, for sure - but it might not be for a while yet.

In the meantime, as you say, I do hope you'll try Phoenix too - there are no cats, and no Mesopotamia, but it does have many of the other things you mentioned, including some of my very favourite Dave McKean pictures, and it comes from very much the same place, deep down...

As for ages - I don't really think about them when I write. I hope that anyone can enjoy my books, however old they are, at any stage of their life - so thank you again for writing me much a lovely comment!

With very best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Hello, SF Said.
I really enjoyed your books about Varjak Paw! They were (and still are) my favourite stories about cats. I first read them in Russian, my native language, about seven years ago, but now I want to re-buy them in English to see if there is any differences in translations. Also, I was surprised to know that you wrote a new book! I will definitely read it.
I think it's pretty cool that I can write to the author of one of my favourite books like that! Also, I'm sorry if I made some mistakes, sometimes it's hard to express my thoughts in a different language.

SF Said said...

Hello, and thank you so much for your kind comment! It's great for me to hear from readers around the world, so I really appreciate your taking the time to leave me a message here. I hope you will enjoy reading Varjak Paw in English - and I hope you enjoy Phoenix too!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Hello from Finland! Varjak Paw was my favorite book when I was younger(I still do love it!) and I'm definitely going to read you newest book soon! Varjak Paw was one of those books I can ''blame'' for my love towards literature and reading.

SF Said said...

Hello! Thank you so much for your kind comment - that really means a lot! I'm planning to do a blog post soon on the Finnish edition; I think it's called Varjak KΓ€pΓ€lΓ€?

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Hi SF Said, my name is Billy and I would really like to thank you for writing such a great book! I remember back in primary where I found it in the libary and got everyone in my class into the book. We even made a Varjak Paw club to be a member you had to get the book! And I swear almost everybody did! I have read the book many time and I can't wait for the 3rd! Please publish it soon
Billy

SF Said said...

Hi Billy, and thank you for leaving me such a wonderful comment! I love the idea of a Varjak Paw club, that's amazing to hear – thank you so much for spreading the word to everyone in your class!

There will definitely be a third Varjak book one day. I wrote a bit about my idea for it here. In the meantime, I hope you'll try my new book Phoenix; it's not about Varjak, but it comes from the same place...

Keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am tyresse, my class, onyx class, have been reading varjak paw. You may know my teacher, mr hall, read it to us, I was very interested in varjak paw. It's kind if sad the way that Julius bullied varjak. My favourite character in the story is Jalal and Varjak. My favourite part is when jalal fought varjak the way. I love your story I think it is amazing. I rate it I big massive 10 out of 10.

Tyresse, Yr 6 Onyx class, 10

SF Said said...

Dear Tyresse,

Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate your 10 out of 10 – that means a lot to me. Varjak Paw took me five years to write, but when I hear reactions like that, it makes all the hard work feel worthwhile.

Please say hello to Mr Hall and everyone in Onyx class for me – and keep the Way alive!

SF

tyresse said...

Sorry. I thing the book great. I will tell me hall you said hi, he would be very surprised. In literary, we've been writing a book in our literary books, based on the book Varjak Paw. I did one about my cat, Lucky. Again, sorry. Bye

Tyresse, yr 6 onyx class, 10

SF Said said...

Dear Tyresse,

Thanks for writing again! I'm interested to hear that your cat is called Lucky – because that's the name of the main character in my new book Phoenix!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

hello man! thank you so much for writing varjak paw and the outlaw varjack paw . i read them to my wife and we became closer.your book brought us so much happiness and i thank you so dearly for your creation. as a fellow man i am very ptoud of yourcreation and i implore that you always do what you love. its truley wonderfull all the happiness youve created for everyone who has read them. i will read them to my children one day! keep the way alive sf said.we all believe in you. Thank you. jamie C

SF Said said...

Thank you so much, Jamie! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave me such a wonderful comment. I will definitely carry on writing books – have you had a chance to see my new one, Phoenix? It's not about Varjak, but comes from a similar place, deep down...

Please give my best wishes to your wife, and to your children!

Keep the Way alive,
SF

Prabhjot Rao said...

:) hello mr. SF Said.
I am still waiting for another earth shattering book containing varjack paw,
I've read both of the current varjack paw books and have enjoyed the very much, but I am left with a question about
hollys eyen could be sally bones' other eye
is there a movie coming out?
(this message is very messy and i just wanted to ask some more questions)

Anonymous said...

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SF Said said...

Hi Prabhjot, and thank you for your message! I'm glad to hear you've now read both Varjak Paw books and enjoyed them. There will be a third Varjak book one day, but not for a while yet – I wrote a bit about my idea for it here.

In the meantime, I hope you'll try my new book Phoenix – it's not about Varjak Paw, but I think if you enjoyed Varjak, you might enjoy it too.

There isn't a movie planned at the moment, but hopefully one day! I wrote a bit about that question here.

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF Said

Unknown said...

Hi Mr Said
I'm here to ask you who your faviroute character is mine is CLUDGE
and i'm looking forward to the film

Good luck,
Your sincerely Ethan Oldfield

Unknown said...

You Are Epic Man

Good look

SF Said said...

Dear Ethan,

Thank you so much for your comment! I love Cludge too, so I'm glad you do. But I love all the characters... As far as the film goes, there's nothing happening at the moment, but hopefully one day – you can read a bit about it here.

Keep the Way alive!
SF Said

Brandon said...

SF Said, I litterly think every night about the third varjak book.. wait..THIIIIRDDD?????
Half life three confirmed... l0l
anyway, when will that come, any release dates?

SF Said said...

Dear Brandon,

Thank you so much for your kind comment! I don't know when I will write the third Varjak book, but it won't be in the very near future. I wrote a bit about the reasons why, and about what the third book will be about, here.

In the meantime, I hope you'll give my new book Phoenix a go: it's now available in paperback!

Keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said,

I have just finished Varjak Paw, and I am stunned. It is honestly brilliant. I am asking for the sequel for Xmas, hearing such great things about that book too. I will definitely try out Pheonix. Keep up the good work! Also, I have one question. Have you written any other books? Merry Xmas,

From Frankie.

P.S: I know it says anomynous, I'm a bit too lazy to make my own account, lol.

SF Said said...

Dear Frankie,

Thank you so much for that fantastic comment - you've just made my day!

The only books I've written so far are Varjak Paw, The Outlaw Varjak Paw, and Phoenix. I'm 2 years into writing the next one, which is called TYGER. I don't know how long it will be before it's finished - Varjak took me 5 years, Outlaw 3, and Phoenix 7! But I'm working on it as hard as I can, and will have it finished as soon as I can...

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Unknown said...

Dear SF Said,
We have been basing our literacy work around Varjak Paw and have just finished reading the book - the children loved it and were desperate for me to continue reding to find out what happened - the cliffhanger endings to chapters drove them mad!

They wondered if you would have time to answer some questions for them... or visit the school to answer them in person? We are a very small school in Lancashire with only 22 pupils!

1. What was your favourite book when you were little?
2. What books did you read when you were a teenager?
3. What made you want to become a story-writer?
4. How long did it take you to write Varjak Paw?
5. Why is your book about cats?
6. Where did you get the inspiration for Varjak Paw?
7. Did you enjoy writing the story?
8. Did you have any help writing your books?
9. Do you read lots of book?
10. How old were you when you wrote your first book?
11. What is your favourite book that you have written? Why?


Thanks in advance for your time

Sarah Shaw

SF Said said...

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for your lovely comment, and for the questions! I'll answer some of them below, if I may...

What was your favourite book when you were little?
Watership Down, by Richard Adams. You can read more about it here.

What made you want to become a story-writer?
All the stories that I loved myself. Books have always been there for me, and I really wanted to write stories that would be there for other people one day, too.

How long did it take you to write Varjak Paw?
Five years. That's a long time, but I think the end result was worth all the hard work – I hope you do too!

Where did you get the inspiration for Varjak Paw?
I was watching my own cat's adventures as he went out into the world for the first time, and found them incredibly dramatic and exciting. Quite a few things in Varjak Paw came from just watching my own cat.

Do you read lots of books?
Yes, all the writers I know read a lot. A writer is really just a reader who goes one step further, and writes the story they want to read.

What is your favourite book that you have written? Why?
My favourite so far is my new book Phoenix. I think each time I've written a book, I've learned something from it and improved a little as a writer, so my ambition is to make each book better than the last!

Please give my best wishes to your class, and tell them to keep the Way alive!

SF Said

Unknown said...

I would love for a third, closing-on-Varjak's-story book! I know it's been around two years and I'm not sure if people still check this place, but even a little one-chapter epilouge of the character's lives would be nice to consider.

I mean, I love how you ended the book - giving a possibility of ending it for good or leaving us wondering "what happens during or after spring?", or even giving it all a break until you decided whether to continue the story of Varjak (or even a new character or from the viewpoint of someone we already know?)

Of course, most would assume that things would melt into peace for the city, the Free Cats (especially for Little Jess, seeing her flourish and reflect on Mrs Mogg's death, if she's changed, ect/Varjak and Holly, Ozzie[? I think he's the one, right?] and Tam being in love, maybe starting families/how Varjak's gang flourishes, how Razor and the two Siamese Sisters are coping, ect.

Just some ideas to throw out there (unless you've thought of them already of course.) But if you're done with the series (I can understand if you feel like you've "grown out" of it, although it's one of those more simpler books that actually give good meaning and mindblowing moral/results to everything - a classic and blended with cultures, I wonder if more people have read it til now) and want to leave things to imagination, then that's perfectly great as well.

I'll always love the duology, it was one of the very first things I picked up when I was little <3

Unknown said...

Also, as for the cultures - I figure they're a blend of Far East/Southern East (the fighting styles) and Egyptian (I think Mesopotamia was originally settled near Egypt/the "sphynx" drawings in the second book) cultures?

Also, when I improve some more on my drawing, I'd love to do some "fan art" on the main trio, including Cludge <3 Anatomy all over for any creature is always a little complicated, though McKean's inky style has always inspired me, so I might go with drawing on paper or digital! Hm.

Unknown said...

(Though I'm turning 18 on Feb. 10th, I'll always love the duology to heart. Especially due to the background and all - but yes, I started the first book during.... well. I'd like to say... at a book fair, maybe fourth grade. And then I remember getting the second a few years after. Sorry for all the posts, I'm on mobile and my phone's acting up!)

Unknown said...

LAST but definitely not least - I'd love to read your newer book, Phoenix, sometime! (Also, cats are amazing. Unusual, but amazing. Dogs, too.)

SF Said said...

Thanks again for all your thoughts! It's amazing to hear that the Varjak Paw books still mean so much to you; there are books I read as a kid that I still re-read, but not many, so I know how rare that is.

As I mentioned in the reply to your posts on the Outlaw page, most of what I know about the third book I've already said on this blog; and the truth is, I'll only really know what I'm going to do when I'm doing it, as my books always change a lot during the writing!

But I'll certainly post about any new developments here as & when they happen.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Phoenix too - no cats or dogs, but it comes from a very similar place... and I think it's the best book I've written so far!

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said
My class and I have been reading Varjak Paw and are nearly at the end. We are really enjoying it I can't wait to read your other book Pheonix next.
How long did it take you to write Varjak Paw?
Natasha (8)

SF Said said...

Dear Natasha,

Thank you so much for your kind comment – I really appreciate it!

Varjak Paw took me 5 years to write, which is a long time. But I wanted it to be as good as I could possibly make it, and I feel it was worth all the hard work in the end. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book, and I hope you enjoy Phoenix too; that one took 7 years!

Keep the Way alive,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Hi Sf Said,
My class is reading Varjak Paw im loving it its AWESOME we are near the end and we are going to read "The outlaw of Varjak Paw " I cant wait to read it. I have two questions.1 Do you have cats and what are their names?2 which is your favourite character?

Anonymous said...

And the one who asked 2 questions was Josie or call me Jos

SF Said said...

Dear Jos,

Thank you so much for your kind message! It really means a lot to me. To answer your questions:

1. I don't have any cats at the moment, but here's a link to a blog I wrote about a cat I had a long time ago...

2. I like all the characters; it's impossible for me to choose a favourite! But I'd be interested to know who your favourite character is?

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Said.
I'm a highschool student, and I read the first Varjak paw around fourth grade. I lent my original copy to a friend several years ago, and I actually finally got it back from that same friend a few weeks ago.(He had set it aside and lost it). I still love the book and the message behind it,(even though it took me a much shorter period of time to read it this time around compared to my first time) ^^*
I've actually yet to read the sequel, in fact I didn't know there was one until recently, so I've been working on obtaining and reading that soon. Reading your book was actually one of my best memories from when I was younger. It was one of the first books I connected with, and the copy I got in fourth grade is something I still cherish, (and will now only lend to people I know will read and return it!)
Thank you for the story- AW

SF Said said...

Dear AW,

Thank you so much for that amazing comment. It really means a lot to hear that reading Varjak Paw is one of your best memories from when you were younger. I have a few books I feel that way about, so it's amazing to think that someone feels that way about Varjak! Here's a blog I wrote about one of my favourite books.

I hope you enjoy The Outlaw Varjak Paw too – please let me know how it goes!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Dear Sf said,
Hi its Jos again we have finished Varjak Paw and so WOW and my favourite character is well four that is Varjak because he is AWESOME and then Holly and Tam and Cluge because he is really funny. I cant wait till we read The outlaw of Varjak Paw and when did you make Varjak Paw and The Outlaw Of Varjak Paw and I think your AMAZING and SPEACARLAR sorry that I when I say good things I go in CAPS its because I REALLY mean it and how much books have you writen
I think ten or four because your a AMAZING writer and my favourt writer so thanks if you reply.

SF Said said...

Dear Jos,

Thank you so much for that lovely comment! I'm glad you like those characters, especially Cludge - I like them too.

I started writing Varjak Paw in 1997, and it was published in 2003. It took me 5 years to write. I started writing The Outlaw Varjak Paw around 2002, and it was published in 2005. So that one took 3 years. And Phoenix, my new book, started in 2006, but wasn't published until 2013, so that one took 7 years.

So as you can see, it takes me a long time to write each book - but it's TOTALLY WORTH IT when I get a FANTASTIC comment like that!

Thanks again - and keep the Way alive,
SF

Anonymous said...

Dear Sf said,
Its Jos again are you going to write anymore AWESOME books? :]

SF Said said...

Dear Jos,

Yes I am! I'm working on one right now called TYGER. And have you read my new book PHOENIX yet? I think it's my best so far...

Anonymous said...

Dear Sf said,
Hi its Jos again I havent read Phoenix but my big brother had read Phoenix and he knows you because you visited his year last year so yeah...
Anyways thanks if you reply. :]

SF Said said...

Dear Jos,

That's great to hear! I hope your brother enjoyed Phoenix, and I hope you do too. Please let me know how it goes if you have a chance to read it.

With best wishes,
SF

Oscar Fenby said...

Dear SF Said
I've read both of your Varjak Paw books and I really, really liked them. I find them really imaginative. I was wondering if you could write a third Varjak story please?
I am nine years old and I was wondering if you think I would like Phoenix? I've seen it in the school library and it's very thick.
Thank you for writing Varjak Paw, yours sincerely, Oscar (from Kuala Lumpur) :-)

SF Said said...

Dear Oscar,

Thank you so much for your fantastic message – it's great to hear from a reader in Kuala Lumpur!

I will definitely write a third Varjak story one day – I wrote a bit about my idea for it here.

In the meantime, if you like Varjak Paw and you're nine years old, I think there's a very good chance that you'll like Phoenix too. It's not about cats and dogs, it's humans and aliens this time, but it comes from a similar place. And it might look very thick, but there are a lot of illustrations, and I've heard that some nine year olds read it in only a few days! Please let me know what you think if you do decide to read it.

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF Said

Unknown said...

Dear SF Said

I first read Varjak Paw when I was in primary school, it was the book that brought me into the world of reading. I especially liked the concept of the seven skills, and I have a couple of questions about them; Are they a martial arts form, or do they use magic, or both? for example dose Slow-time actually slow down time or is it just in the mind of the user. Also, what exactly is moving circles? When you wright about it it's beautiful but a little confusing.

Thank you! Can't wait for the 3rd book!

Alex

SF Said said...

Dear Alex,

Thank you very much for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed Varjak Paw, and it's amazing to hear it was the book that got you into reading.

For me, the Seven Skills are definitely a martial art. But I think martial arts can produce results that look magical. So much of our experience is subjective, and if you can control something like time in your own mind, perhaps that can have effects in the real world too. As far as moving circles go, I was thinking about martial arts like Aikido and Tai Chi, which use circular movements, as well as the way that cats actually move.

If you enjoyed the martial arts in Varjak Paw, I'd definitely recommend reading my new book Phoenix - there's a system of martial arts there that's based on the stars and constellations!

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

MAKE A MOVIE ITS SOO GOOD!!!

Anonymous said...

a great book make a movie

SF Said said...

Thank you so much! I would love to see a movie of Varjak Paw, and I'm still hoping it will get made one day. In the meantime, there's some info about it here!

Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoyed Mercenfeld's Varjak Paw the musical. from Seth

SF Said said...

Dear Seth,

Thank you for your comment! I thought it was absolutely amazing - I made a blog post about it here.

Were you part of it? Which character did you play if so?!

Keep the Way alive,
SF

Isy A said...

Hi SF,
It's been about 6 years since I read Varjak Paw and it's sequel. I stumbled upon the front cover on the internet the other day and all these memories came rushing back to me; the nail biting fights described to perfection; the constant cliff hangers which would keep me up way beyond my bedtime; the ingenious characters which inspired me so much! Despite your books being considered children's books I am definitely going to read them all over again (..soon to leave home for college!).
Your books have played a huge part in my childhood and it's great to see so many other children as intrigued and as inquisitive as I was: 12 years on!

...I shall definitely read Phoenix (once I've re-read Varjak Paw of course )

One question if you don't mind... Does 'Varjak' have a meaning or translation- what's the reason you chose this name?

SF Said said...

Hi Isy,

Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! It really means a lot to me. I love the idea that children's literature can be read by anyone of any age at any time in their lives. Great children's books are really books for everyone, and I always hoped that my books might stay with readers, and be read and re-read by people of all ages. I wrote an article about this for the Guardian which you might enjoy...

So I would be very interested to hear how Varjak seems to you now you're going to college – and what you think of Phoenix!

To answer your question, I named the character of Varjak after my own cat, who inspired the story, and was called Varjak Paw!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Hi mr SF Said.
I stumbled across Varjak Paw in my local library a few days ago. I love the 2 books and I have some ideas about the third. I suggest reading Warrior Cats (by Erin Hunter) and I was discussing with my mom about why there wasn't a third book yet. She answered 'write it yourself'. I am halfway through it but it links with warrior cats as well. Yes, I am going to high school next year, a grammar school in fact, but I adore fantasy books and animal books. My job is to keep the way alive and it is hard, seeing as I am nearly 12, and no one likes what I like. Read warriors and you'll be inspired. Also, do you have Instagram. After you've read warriors, search ZephyrClan and SunClan. I was part of SunClan myself, until homework rudely interrupted. It is brilliant what fans can do.
KEEP THE WAY ALIVE!!!

SF Said said...

Dear Natalie,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment! It means a lot to hear things like that about my books.

There will be a third Varjak Paw book one day; I wrote a bit about my idea for it here. In the meantime, I think your mom gave you great advice. Some of the first stories I ever wrote were based on other people's stories, and I'm honoured that you're writing a Varjak Paw story!

I don't have Instagram, but I am on Twitter as @whatSFSaid.

I know it is hard not knowing anyone who like the same things you like. But there are definitely other people out there who do – just see all the other comments on this page if you don't believe me!

Keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

Hi SF
I'm a dance teacher & I'm going to be working in a Derbyshire Primary school soon - they've asked me to deliver a lesson based on Varjac Paw (as I did last year). Previously I used the illustrations as the stimulus - this time I'd like to use 'the way' I really like the quote..."There are Seven Skills in the Way of Jalal," whispered the Elder Paw. "We know only three of them. Their names are these. Slow-Time. Moving Circles. Shadow-Walking." They work well for dance... is there anything else you can tell me about The Way as you see it? Many, many thanks
Claire

SF Said said...

Dear Claire,

Thank you so much for your comment! That's interesting and exciting to hear.

I'm afraid I can't add anything to what's already in the two Varjak Paw books; everything I know about the Way is there! So if you haven't already read The Outlaw Varjak Paw, I'd recommend reading that.

However, I do know that quite a few teachers have done things similar to what you're describing, so it can definitely work!

Best of luck with it, and please let me know how it goes,
SF

Anonymous said...

My teacher read me your wonderful varjak paw book and I loved it from the beging to the end. Now it's one of my favourite books.I'm now so sad becouse the book is finished.We might read part 2 of varjak paw.I have a question for you .I mean 2 questions for you .When are you going to make part 3 of varjak paw? What does SF
mean?

Bye,

Maya

SF Said said...

Dear Maya,

Thank you for your wonderful message, and your questions. I hope you enjoy The Outlaw Varjak Paw too, please let me know what you think if you do read it!

I wrote a bit about your first question here. And SF stands for Sabah Falah - they're my initials. They're Arabic names, so they're difficult to pronounce if you don't speak Arabic, which is why I started using initials.

Keep the Way alive!
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Hi sir wanted to say that i really want to watch the movie of varjak paw but is there going to be movie? if is tell me all the full details many thanks

SF Said said...

Hi there, thank you for your comment. There isn't a Varjak Paw movie yet, but I hope there will be one day! I wrote a bit about the story so far in this blog post.

Keep the Way alive,
SF

Anonymous said...

This is the best novel I've ever read πŸ‘Œ

SF Said said...

Thank you so much - that really means a lot to me! Have you had a chance to read the sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw?

Anonymous said...

Dear SFsaid
I love your Varjak paw books. My favourite book is The Out Law Varjak Paw because when Varjak loses his powers and led his friends to safety. My favourite characters are Jess, Holly, Varjak, Tam and The Scratch Sisters. I think you could make a third Varjak paw book . With a new enemy and all the rest of Sally Bones gang could join Varjaks side . And Sally Bones could have a long lost sister who comes and try's to kill Varjak. She could have new punishments. Maybe Varjak and Holly could get married and have kittens. Or maybe Sally Bones comes back to life . And Jilal could teach Varjak some new moves. Or Sally Bones put the Ice blue eye in Holly so she can take over. Possibly Holly could be related to Sally Bones.
Mimi
Age:10

SF Said said...

Dear Mimi,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment! I really appreciate it, and I'm really glad you enjoyed my books. I am definitely going to write a third Varjak Paw book one day; I wrote a bit about my idea for it in this blog post.

In the meantime, have you had a chance to read my new book Phoenix yet? It's not about Varjak Paw, but I hope that if you enjoyed Varjak, you will enjoy it too!

Keep the Way alive,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Dear SF side thank you for your lovely reply I am so happy to receive a message for you from you I have already asked my mummy and daddy for Phoenix for my birthday which is in seven days time and I'm really looking forward to reading it thank you so much for getting back to me I love your books and you are my favourite author along with JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyers

Keep the way alive


thank you very much

Mimi

SF Said said...

Dear Mimi,

That's amazing to hear – thank you so much! I love their books too, especially Harry Potter. I hope you enjoy Phoenix; please let me know what you think when you've had a chance to read it.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY for seven days' time!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said,

We are writing to you from a Year 4 classroom in Blackhorse Primary School, Emersons Green, South Gloucestershire.

We have just finished reading Varjak Paw and we adored every moment of it! However, we are now desperate for you to answer our urgent questions;

• What happened to the Contessa?
• Where is Elder Paw’s body or was he turned into a toy cat?
• How did the Gentleman turn the cats into toy cats?

Thank you for taking the time to read our questions, we look forward to hearing from you soon. In the meantime, we will begin to read your sequel- The Outlaw Varjak Paw!

Keep writing!

Maple Class, Blackhorse Primary School

SF Said said...

Dear Maple Class,

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed Varjak Paw, and I hope you enjoy The Outlaw Varjak Paw as well.

It was very important to me while writing Varjak Paw that everything in the book should be seen from Varjak's point of view. We never leave his point of view for a moment, even when he's asleep. This means that we can never know more than Varjak does. If there's something in the book that he doesn't know, then it's up to us as readers to use our imaginations and decide for ourselves what the answers are.

And I think each individual reader is entitled to reach their own answers. That's a wonderful thing about books – that we each have the space and the freedom to do that. Where something is not answered in a book, then every reader's answer is as valid is the writer's.

So I think all three of your questions are excellent questions, because they show you've noticed things that Varjak doesn't know. The answers aren't in the book, because Varjak doesn't know them. So I would ask you all to use your imaginations when thinking about these questions, and whatever your answers are, I think they are as valid as mine!

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive,
SF Said

Luke Hopper said...

Hello SF Said ive read varjack paw its amazing!Madison Smart showed her message to you to my whole class so i came here as well to message you!The varjack paw was awsome we read one or two chapters eack guided reading session.The class wanted to read more one we finished a chapter or two.But we was not allowed but we have finished the book now sadly.on the bright side we reading a chapter of the outlaw of varjack paw when we have a few minutes.So were exited about that to anyways im going to end this comment here and thank you for reading this!(sorry about some spelling mistakes i cant scroll up to change them for some reason)

SF Said said...

Dear Luke,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment – and please don't worry about the spelling mistakes, it always means a lot to hear from readers, and I know it can be difficult sometimes! It's great to hear that you enjoyed reading Varjak Paw, and that you're now enjoying The Outlaw Varjak Paw as well. Please let me know what you think when you get to the end!

Keep the Way alive,
SF Said

Cherie Noel said...

Hello. I've read Varjak Paw with my daughter, and we're trying to find an audio recording of the story. I know that The Outlaw Varjak Paw is availble on Audible, but I am having difficulty finding an audio version of the first book in the series. Is there one that I've just missed?

Cherie Noel said...

Oh! Mr. Said, please ignore my earlier note. I've found a cd recording of Varjak Paw. I'm hoping that you will be able to offer it on Audible or even as a cd again...it looks like the only ones on offer at Amazon are either used or priced in the thousands of dollars. At any rate, thanks again for writing such a top notch story.
Sincerely,
Cherie *aka The Kidlet's Mom*

Anonymous said...

hi mr Said
my name is Nabeeha and i really loved Varjak Paw.
hopefully you will read this and reply to me.

SF Said said...

Hi Nabeeha,

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed Varjak Paw. Have you had a chance to read the sequel yet – The Outlaw Varjak Paw?

Keep the Way alive,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Dear Cherie,

Thank you very much for your comments! I'm so glad that you and your daughter enjoyed Varjak Paw. I think it should be available on Audible at the moment, but if you can let me know where in the world you're based (I'm guessing the US or Canada?), I can ask my publishers what the situation is in that country, and get back to you with any information they might have.

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF Said

Unknown said...

Dear SF Said,

I feel like this is far too long overdue but I wanted to thank you for writing the absolutely fantastic books that are Varjak Paw and The Outlaw Varjak Paw. It's been roughly eleven years since I first had the pleasure of reading those books and have reread them many times since and they never cease to delight me each time I do. When I first read Varjak Paw at around the age of seven I was not a fan of reading, to put it lightly, as I found it an extremely tedious pastime as a child but reading Varjak's story changed that. I honestly can't even imagine not having loved reading anymore because of the amount of sheer joy it brings me now. Books and the stories they contain are such amazing things that without them I'd be at a loss. So thank you so much for sparking that love of reading in me with your fantastic books.

Thank you once more,
Alison

SF Said said...

Dear Alison,

Thank you so much for your amazing message! It's incredible to me to think that a book I wrote became the means by which someone else discovered the joy of books and reading - you can't imagine how much that means to me. You also can't imagine how much it means to hear that you still enjoy my books eleven years later! I always hope that adults will enjoy them too, and that they might be the kinds of books that people continue to read through their lives, in the way I did with a few favourite childhood books, such as Watership Down.

I'm just wondering if you've come across my new book Phoenix yet? It's not about Varjak, or even cats, but it comes from very much the same place...

Also, if you're interested in general book talk, I do a lot of it on Twitter these days, where I'm @whatSFSaid.

Thank you so much again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Livi said...

Dear SF Said,
This is Olivia Dennis and I am 9 years old. I am from what lode Church of England primary school. Your books are AWESOME !!!!!!! When we found your website we thought of emailing you. Our teacher Mrs Adie, read us the book last week. When we read your varjak paw books we thought of soon getting Phoenix. We saw the clip of it. It was AMAZING!!!! I heard you are writing a third varjak paw yey!!!!!!!!πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

SF Said said...

Dear Olivia,

Thank you so much for your amazing comment! It means a lot to hear things like that about my books. I hope you enjoy Phoenix too - please let me know what you think when you've had a chance to read it!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Unknown said...

Hi there, my name is Rohan and I am 10 years old, I go to the same school as Olivia Dennis, who also sent a comment. I love your Varjack paw book, there amazing. And I heard that your going to make a third one, SO AWESOME!! My teacher, Mrs Adie, has ordered Phoenix and I know we are going to love it!������

Unknown said...

BEST AUTHER EVER!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said,
I really love your books and hope to read the third Varjak Paw and Phonix. My class is considering asking you to visit! The comment above is from my friend, Olivia. You may receive a lot of comments from my class!
From Rosie, Y5

Joe said...

Dear SF Said,
My name is Joe, I go to Whaplode CofE Primary school. I loved Varjak Paw and The Outlaw Varjak Paw. My Teacher Mrs Adie has just ordered Phoenix because we saw the AMAZING!!! clip. We are hoping you could come to my school in Whaplode to tell us a little bit more about you and your books. I would love to meet so please please read this. If you could please just pop into Whaplode school to give me and my classmates a little hint about some of your newest books like Phoenix.������!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi this is cerys I love reading your books
You are my favorite author and I do hope you do wright a third varjak paw you are AWESOME!!!!

SF Said said...

Hi Rohan, thank you for your fantastic message, and please thank Mrs Adie for me too! I hope you enjoy Phoenix - I think it's my best book yet!

With best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

THANK YOU!!!

SF Said said...

Dear Rosie,

Thank you so much - it's great to hear from you and everyone in your class! If your school would like to invite me to visit, please could you ask a teacher to leave me a message on my Author Visits page, so we can discuss the details?

With best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Hi Cerys,

Thank you so much, that means a lot! I will write a third Varjak Paw book one day - you can read a bit about it in this blog post.

Keep the Way alive!
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Joe,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment! Varjak Paw took me a long time to write, but all the hard work feels worthwhile when I hear things like that from readers!

If your school would like to invite me to visit, please could you ask a teacher to leave me a message on my Author Visits page, so we can discuss the details?

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Thankyou I love how you make the books so interesting. I will keep the way alive!!!

From
Cerys

Rayan said...

Hi im Rayan and I really like your books! I'm in Whaplode Primary School just like
all my other class mates the put comments. The first and second varjak paw books were amazing! And we you're going to write a third varjak paw book which is great! And we can't wait for Phoenix!

Anonymous said...

Dear SF said
Your books are incredibe our teacher Mrs Adie and all my class love your book . what is it like being an author?

Your sincerely
Izzie may

Livi said...

Hi it Olivia again, my class has been bugging u with comments I am so sorry. I heard that u would love to visit our school. Our teacher Mrs Adie told us yesterday. We r soooooo excited I can not wait!!!!!!! 😎😎😎😎😜😜😜😝😝😝😝😝 Thank you for replying to all of our comments. U r sooooo AMAZING!!!!! Me and my class r soooooo EXCITED!!!!!! We love u.

Keep the way alive,
Olivia Dennis
Ps- sorry for using your catchphrase and u can call me Livi or liv or Livy. Xxxxx

SF Said said...

Dear Livi,

Thanks for your message! Yes, I'm talking to Mrs Adie about coming to visit your school - hopefully we'll work out the details soon. Happy reading in the meantime!

And keep the Way alive too!
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Izzie,

Thank you so much! I think being an author is hard work - I don't find writing easy. But it's always worthwhile in the end, to see the finished book!

With best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Dear Rayan,

Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy Phoenix too - here's a link to Dave McKean's amazing book trailer for it!

With best wishes,
SF Said

@no1author said...

Hi This is my daughters poem that was too long to tweet!

Cars

Cars are great
Cars are useful
Scary to Cats
Cats think their monsters
Yellow at the front, red at the back
But where were the nose and mouth
What could it be?
Cats would need a dog to fight
But how could a dog catch this gruesome thing
It went 100 miles an hour
That’s as fast as a sneeze
Different colours everywhere
Suddenly a feeling of dizzy sickness
A cat and dog were feeling light headed
Cats and dogs could not save themselves
The mysterious things were stopping them
Finally they were stopped by controlled lights
Now cats and dogs escaped in seconds
They were free.

THE END

SF Said said...

What a fantastic poem! I love it - please thank her from me for writing it, and tell her to keep the Way alive!

With best wishes,
SF

Unknown said...

Hi SF said!πŸ˜ƒ
I LOVE varjack paw (BEST BOOK EVER)
and hopefully there will be a varjack paw 3 out very soon and when? Also can you ask people to make varjack paw the MOVIE please? Please
(With beans on top) can you come to
Queen Emma???

Keep the way alive!
Kaden

SF Said said...

Hi Kaden,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment!

There will be a third Varjak Paw book one day – I wrote a bit about my idea for it in this blog post. In the meantime, have you read my new book Phoenix yet? It's not about Varjak Paw, but I think it might be my best book yet!

I hope there will be a Varjak Paw movie one day too; I wrote about it in this blog post.

Finally, I am always interested in visiting schools and meeting readers. Could you ask a teacher from your school to get in touch if they would like to invite me to visit, by leaving me a message on my Author Visits page?

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Elder Paw said...

Maybe for the third book you could put the rest of Sally Bones gang and they decide to seek revenge.
#elder paw

SF Said said...

Thank you for the suggestion, Elder Paw! And I like your name!

Keep the Way alive,
SF

Elder Paw said...

When are you doing a third book of varjak paw because both books are amazing. I even read the outlaw varjak paw 20 times I liked it that much.

Unknown said...

Hello,
My name is Maddie Paige and I'm going into my final year of college before (hopefully) attending university next year. Currently, I'm starting my EPQ (extended project qualification) which is an additional subject in which you research something which interests you and present your project at the end of the year. I have chosen to base my EPQ on the importance but also the change in children's literature throughout time, and I wondered if it would be at all possible if you could answer a few questions which would help my project immensely.
If you could spare a moment to have a read and possibly answer whichever you can I would be incredibly grateful as to be able to quote from such a talented writer would benefit my work immensely.

1) How heavily did the books you read as a child impact your work and life as a whole?

2) Have you seen a change in children's literature throughout your lifetime? If so, in what ways?

3) How important do you feel children's literature is to society?

4) Do you think the more contemporary topics used in children's literature nowadays e.g broken homes, sexual identity is due to society changing into a more open, accepting place or is it the literature that has changed society?

(For my project I am classifying children's literature from the age of which a child can thumb through a book independently to 14/15 years of age)

Any contribution would be greatly appreciated, however I understand you must be immensely busy and so I thank you for your time and wish you all the best for your future works- I hope being are still enjoying your work as much as I did.

Thank you
Kind regards,
Maddie Paige

SF Said said...

Thank you so much, Elder Paw – that's amazing to hear. And as it happens, I've just written a piece all about my idea for the third Varjak Paw book. Here's a link to the piece – I hope it answers your question.

Keep the Way alive!
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Maddie,

Thank you very much for your message. Those are some interesting questions! Do you have an email address I can reply to?

With best wishes,
SF Said

Unknown said...

How have you been? Re-reading the duology and it's bringing back memories.

I can understand why people want a third and final book, but I can also understand how it can be difficult to come up with another book - you would have to think of a new villian/plot altogether, and new chapters in the lives of the characters you've made. You could probably do something about Julius... but then that would probably add on a few more books.

SF Said said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment! It's very much appreciated. I wrote something recently about my idea for the third Varjak Paw book – here's a link. It will definitely happen one day...

Keep the Way alive!
SF

Ailsa said...

Hello SF Said,
My class read Varjak Paw and we were instantly obsessed! I loved it so much that I've decided to put on a show at my school. Since I live a long way away from you (probably, I live in the middle of nowhere) you probably will never see it, but I just want you to know that we appreciate your work. Thank you for all you've done for me and my class. We have had a whole new world opened to us when we read your books.
Sincerely, Ailsa

SF Said said...

Dear Ailsa,

Thank you so much for your amazing message! It's incredible to hear that your class loved Varjak Paw so much, you're putting on a show of it. That really means a huge amount to me. Whereabouts is your school, just out of interest?

There have been a few shows of Varjak Paw done by schools in the past - if you like, you can read more about them here!

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Jaydon said...

Dear Sf Said
my name is Jaydon and please can you make a third Varjak Paw book? It will be nice if you can do it
Yours sincerely Jaydon

zeren said...

dear sf said,
my class read this book and we all absolutely loved it. as proof every time we have to stop there is a collective groan and each time it gets louder!I absolutely love reading and now I want to read more and more of varjak paw the outlaw!!! How ever did you think of such exhilarating ways to put your wording?
yours sincerely,
Zeren Sonkaynar,
year 4 Holmleigh primary school

Jasmine said...

Dear sf said
Are class really enjoyed reading Varjak Paw!!!! We loved it so much that when we finished reading it everyone cheered!! Could you please write a third Varjak Paw ( even though it might take you a few years)? I loved the detail you put into it and our teacher kept saying how wonderful it is!! When I finish the book that I am reading right now I will read the outlaw varjak paw.
Yours sincerely,
Jasmine Joseph

HEAVEN said...

Dear Sf Said,
my name is heaven.How in the world did you come up with the idea of cats having magical powers?You are now my fav author PLEASE CAN YOU MAKE A THIRD VARJAK PAW!!!

Theodore said...

Theo
Do you have a cat?Your book is FANTASTIC.

Jack said...

Jack
Where did you get the idea off making Varjak Paw a cat with the way off Jalal? Can you make another book? Do you have a cat or cats? You are an amazing author! from Jack

Homligh primary school said...

Dear SF Said, this is on the list of my favourite books! You have inspiring adjactives and halarious characters like Clugde who has a very creative way of speaking.I'm exited to read Outlaw Varjak Paw.I wish i can learn the way but everyone can learn somthing else inportant in life.ps:Can you come to our school? London Hackney N16 5PU Dunsmure RD Homliegh primary school

SF Said said...

Dear Zeren,

Thank you for your message – it's amazing to hear that your class enjoyed Varjak Paw so much! It wasn't an easy book to write; it took me 5 years. But my new book Phoenix took me even longer! Here's a link to a blog where I talk about my writing process, and give some tips for writing. I hope you find it interesting!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Theo,

Thank you so much! I don't have a cat at the moment, but I did when I wrote Varjak Paw. And that cat's name was... Varjak Paw!

Keep the Way alive,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Jaydon, Jasmine, Jack and Heaven,

Thank you so much for your amazing messages! I am definitely planning to write a third Varjak Paw book one day – here's a link to a piece where I wrote all about my idea for it.

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Homligh Primary School,

Thank you so much for your amazing comment, and for inviting me to visit your school! Please could you ask your teacher to get in touch with me, so we can talk about it? If they could leave me a message here or on my author visits page, with an email address I can reply to, that would be wonderful.

With best wishes,
SF Said

Ailsa said...

Dear SF Said,
It's very nice to hear from you! Thanks for replying.
You asked where my school is and the answer is New Zealand! And not just any place in New Zealand. I live on a tiny island of about 9000 people (but it's a tourist island so the population rises in summer.) It's called Waiheke island.
I am meeting with the principal next week to confirm details about the varjak paw show. I am very excited for the show as is the rest of my class.
Best regards,
Ailsa

SF Said said...

Dear Ailsa,

That's amazing to hear – I had no idea Varjak Paw had travelled so far! If you do the show, please let me know – I'd love to see some pictures/videos. I might even make a blog about it!

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive,
SF

Mia S. said...

Hey!
December is just a month away so I was thinking about getting a present for my best friend. I remembered how amazing your Varjak Paw books are and I thought, what would be better then getting her a Varjak Paw book? A signed Varjak Paw book. So I was just wondering if you would be willing to sign some Varjak Paw copies for her. It's ok if you don't want to sign it though, I'm just wondering if you would do it and if you would then how we would go about getting that done. (Sorry if my comment is confusing or jumbled)
Thanks!

SF Said said...

Hi Mia,

Thank you for your message! I'd be very happy to sign a bookplate for your friend that she could then stick into her book. If you'd like me to do that, just leave me a message with details of who to sign it for, what you'd like it to say, and where I should send it.

With best wishes,
SF

Unknown said...


If there's a way to post my mailing information privately, that would be cool. Just sign it for Gillian and have it say "Hope you have a great Christmas, Gillian!" With you signature on it somewhere. So yeah, that would be pretty cool and thanks.

SF Said said...

Hi again Mia,

That's fine, I'm very happy to do that. Just leave me your mailing information in a comment as normal - I won't publish it, so no-one else will see it!

With best wishes,
SF

Unknown said...

My name is John and I am 7. I'd like to know why you started your story with a quote from The Wizard of Oz?

SF Said said...

Dear John,

Thank you very much for your message. One reason why I started Varjak Paw with that quote from The Wizard Of Oz is because I like The Wizard Of Oz! But another reason is that I don't like the way The Wizard Of Oz ends, with Dorothy just going home after all her adventures. I think a lot of traditional children's stories end that way, but I wanted my story to be different, with Varjak realising that he couldn't now stay at home; his future lay out in the world with his friends. So that quote is used a little bit ironically, as this review in The Guardian picked up.

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Unknown said...

I was looking the Varjak Paw books up to see if there was a third and came across this. I'm just leaving a comment to say that the Varjak Paw books were a couple of my favourites that I read as a child (I'm 23 now) as well as The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton and the HP series.
Thanks for your amazing writing that takes children completely into another world.

All the best,

Niall x

SF Said said...

Dear Niall,

Thank you so much for that amazing comment! It's brilliant to hear that you still remember my books, after all this time. I always hoped they might be the kind of books that people kept and re-read again as adults. And I'm a huge fan of SE Hinton and Harry Potter too, so that really means a lot.

There will definitely be a third book one day – I wrote a bit about my idea for it in this blog post.

In the meantime, have you come across my new book Phoenix yet? It's not about Varjak, but I think it's my best one so far...

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive,
SF

Ailsa said...

Dear SF Said,
Last time I wrote to you I mentioned putting on a show. Well, you'll be be happy to hear that we performed the show about a week ago! All the performers loved it and we got lots of praise from the audience. If you like, I could send some photos and a video. I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Sincerely, Ailsa
Ps. I'm playing Sally bones!

SF Said said...

Dear Ailsa (or Sally!)

It's great to hear from you again, and it's great to hear that you've now put on a Varjak Paw show! What a wonderful thing - thank you so much. I'd love to see some photos and a video, and perhaps I'll make a blog about it, if that would be OK? Please could you leave me a message with an email address so we can discuss further? (I won't publish your email address here, but that would be the best way to send the photos etc!)

With best wishes,
SF

Unknown said...

I read the book Varjak Paw and The Outlaw Varjak Paw and let me tell you they were the best books I have Readin my almost 10 year long life. On 22-Jan 2017 the night I finished the book I couldn't stop thinking of even writing my own Varjak Paw related book. If you do decide cowrite a new book I would love for you to tell me just don't tell me when until it's almost published because I will end up counting down every day until it comes out. If you do decide to write the next book to the Varjak Paw series it would be nice if Holly tells everyone what happened after their last encounter with Holly before she sacrificed herself to help Varjak escape, and have her describe how she sees now. Also I feel as if Ginger and his gang should be in the book more.

-Anderson L

SF Said said...

Dear Anderson,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment! That really means a lot to me. I am planning to write a third Varjak Paw book one day - I wrote a bit about my idea for it in this blog post. I don't know when it will happen, but it will definitely happen one day! And I think it will have something to say about what happened to Holly.

In the meantime, have you read my new book Phoenix yet? It's not about Varjak, or even about cats, but I think it's my best one so far!

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Have you made your novels into a full length movie? My class loved the books and went they went to Youtube it said full length but nothing was there except clips. Looking forward to a third novel.

DM

SF Said said...

Dear DM,

Thank you so much for your message, and your kind words about my work!

There hasn't yet been an official film of any of my books. All the clips you can find on YouTube are made by fans. Having said that, Dave McKean and I have tried very hard to get a Varjak Paw film made in the past - I wrote a little bit about it in this blog post. And we are still trying - we recently started to explore a new avenue. I hope there'll be news to share about this at some stage; please do keep checking in here, and on my Twitter feed, where I will certainly share any developments!

Thanks again, and please give my best wishes to your class, and tell them to keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

hello SF said I have read the first book 17 times and the second one 12 and I LOVE the both of them and I really want a third book holly getting killed of actually had me crying and I was really happy for her return I have spent countless hours theorizing about holly getting the ice blue eye please make a third book.

P.S. Keep the way alive.

SF Said said...

You've read the first book 17 times?! That is amazing - thank you so much for your wonderful comment, it means so much for a writer to hear things like that about their work.

There will definitely be a third book about Varjak one day - I wrote a bit about my idea for it in this blog post.

In the meantime, have you read my new book Phoenix yet? It's not about cats, but I think if you enjoyed Varjak, you'll enjoy it too. There's even an alien girl called Bixa Quicksilver who's just a little bit like Holly...

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

sean said...

awsome book!!!!!!!!!!!

SF Said said...

Dear Sean,

Thank you so much for your awesome comment!!!!!

Keep the Way alive,
SF

Mrs Robertson said...

Dear SF Said,

We are a Primary 5 class at Wallace Primary in Elderslie, Scotland. We have really loved reading all about Varjak Paw. We think it is the best book ever! During RE lessons, we have been learning about the story of Buddha and couldn't help notice lots of similarities between Varjak Paw and the Buddha story.

1. They were both born into royalty - the Buddha was a Prince and the paws think they are royalty
2. They were both kept in homes where it was all 'perfect'
3. They both weren't allowed outside but still snuck out
4. They both learned from great teachers; Varjak from Jalal and the Buddha from a monk
5. They both saw sadness and suffering in the world
6. They were both determined to make the world better

We are really interested to hear your thoughts! Please write back to us!

Mrs Robertson, Ewan, Riley, Callum J, James, Louie, Millie, Charlie T, Holly, Josh, Poppy, Zackary, Luke, Libby, Charlie K, Innes, Callum H, Gemmma, James M, Kieran, Kirsty, Ross, Euan, Lily, Emma, Rhys, Lewis, Lana, Craig, Emma M and Eva

SF Said said...

Dear Mrs Robertson, Ewan, Riley, Callum J, James, Louie, Millie, Charlie T, Holly, Josh, Poppy, Zackary, Luke, Libby, Charlie K, Innes, Callum H, Gemmma, James M, Kieran, Kirsty, Ross, Euan, Lily, Emma, Rhys, Lewis, Lana, Craig, Emma M and Eva,

Thank you so much for your wonderful message! It means a lot to me that you've enjoyed Varjak Paw, and wanted to get in touch.

To be honest, I'd never noticed the similarities between Varjak's story and the Buddha's story before reading your message, but you're absolutely right - there are a lot of them! I wonder if you could find any other stories that have similar features?

I think it's very interesting that certain patterns tend to come up again and again in stories told in different times and places. Some people have written books about those patterns, and I've read a few of those books. One that made a big impression on me was The Power Of Myth, by Joseph Campbell, which finds similarities between all sorts of stories – from ancient mythology to Star Wars! There's some more information on it here, if you'd like to know more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_of_Myth

Thanks so much again - and keep the Way alive,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Hi
We have just finished reading Varjak Paw at school. I loved it. For a girl who usually enjoys stories about people and ordinary life- I loved it.
I think you are a great author and I hope to be one-one day to.
Do you have an tips?

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your lovely message – I'm really glad you enjoyed reading Varjak Paw!

It's exciting to hear that you're interested in writing. I have lots of tips for you. Have a look at this blog post, which takes you through all the steps of writing – from having an idea, to writing a first draft, to editing your work. That should get you started!

Good luck with your writing, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Unknown said...

Hi,

I am now 24 years old and first read Varjak Paw when I was at Primary School and picked it out from our book fair because the cover looked like our pet cat Suki. I just wanted to let you know that I still have this book on my bookshelf almost fifteen years later and I even purchased a much neater, less crinkled (I used to read Varjak Paw in the bath) hard back copy to hopefully pass on to my children one day. Whenever I felt upset or lonely, I would re-read my favourite two books on my window sill and was completely immersed in the world you created. I wanted to write and say thank you and I hope that one day we might get a third!

A very long-time fan.

Amy

SF Said said...

Hi Amy,

Thank you so much for that incredible message! I still have a few books from my own childhood – only a few – so I know how much it means to keep a book for all that time. You can't imagine how much it means to hear that Varjak is one of those books for you, and has stayed with you through your life.

There definitely will be a third book about Varjak one day, but it may not be for a while yet. I wrote a bit about it in this blog post, if you'd like to know more:
http://www.sfsaid.com/2016/07/will-there-ever-be-third-varjak-paw-book.html

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

GBSA Grade 4 said...

Dear S.F. Said,

We really loved your book, "Varjak Paw"! We enjoyed every single chapter (all 35 of them). We were very devastated when Tam vanished. We haven't read the second Varjak book yet, "The Outlaw Varjak Paw, but we would really love to read it. We hope that you write a third Varjak book. You are a wonderful author and we really dig your style and your expressive and descriptive word choices. We were wondering how Sally Bones knew "The Way" of Jalal and what happened to her eye.

Sincerely,
Green Bay South Academy - Grade 4 Class, 2018

SF Said said...

Dear Grade 4 Class,

Thank you so much for your wonderful message! I'm so glad you enjoyed Varjak Paw. I don't find writing easy – Varjak took me 5 years to get right - so it means a lot to hear to hear things like that.

I hope you will enjoy The Outlaw Varjak Paw too, and if you read it, you might just find a few more clues to your questions about Sally Bones.

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Kay said...

Hi S.F. Said
I am using your book for my university assignment and I was wondering if I could ask you a question. Is the physicality of the Mesopotamian Blue's based off of the Russian Blues? I only ask because the way you describe them within the book is very similar.
I first came upon your book whilst on work experience to become a teacher.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question :)
Kayleigh

SF Said said...

Dear Kayleigh,

Thank you so much for using Varjak Paw! That's a very interesting question. It's true that the description of the Mesopotamian Blues is quite close to Russian Blues in real life - but to be honest, I wasn't thinking about that when I wrote it. I was mainly interested in the idea of Mesopotamia as the origin of human civilisation, and the place where humans and cats might have first lived together, and I wanted Varjak to go back to those origins in his dreams. And as Mesopotamia is the ancient name of Iraq and Persia is the ancient name of Iran, and there are Persian Blues in real life, I thought there could well be Mesopotamian Blues too, and then just described a cat with silver-blue fur. I hope that helps with your assignment!

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said,

Hello! My name is Kat. I am a huge fan of your work: especially Varjak Paw. I am currently in the middle of The second book as I write this.

I aspire to be an author when I’m older and i was wondering if you have any tips for writing plot lines or creating tension and generally keeping the reader hooked the whole way through?

I like doing descriptive and complicated writing and I love setting scenes.

Also when I read your Varjak Books my cats love to listen and they stare at me wide eyed which I find very cute and funny! My cats seem to be huge fans of your work haha!

I am wondering also if you have any idea if there will be a third book in the Varjak trilogy? I definitely hope there will be!

My final question is do you enjoy being an author and if so, what is the best part about your job?

Thankyou!
Best wishes,
Kat

SF Said said...

Dear Kat,

Thank you so much for your comment - I hope you're enjoying The Outlaw Varjak Paw, and I hope your cats are too!

I do have a few writing tips - you can find them all here. I hope you find some of them helpful.

I am definitely planning to write a third book about Varjak one day, but it won't be for a while yet. I wrote a bit about my idea for it here.

And finally, the best part about my job is hearing from readers like you! I don't find writing easy - Varjak took me 5 years to get right, and I'm currently 6 years into writing my new book TYGER - but all the hard work feels worthwhile when someone like you says they've enjoyed my books.

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive,
SF

Unknown said...

Dear SF Said,

We are Green Class at a primary school in Rochford in the UK and we have just finished reading Varjak Paw. We thought it was spectacular and we loved Varjak's adventures. We have just got the second book today and can't wait to read it.

We have some questions for you:
Will there be a third Varjak Paw book?
How did you think of the story?
Where did you get you ideas for the characters?
Did you always want to be a writer when you were younger?
Any news on a Varjak Paw movie?

Hope you get time to read this, thank you for writing such an amazing book and we
hope you have a very merry Christmas.

SF Said said...

Dear Green Class,

Thank you so much for reading Varjak Paw, and for your wonderful message! That really means a lot to me.

To answer your questions:
Yes, there will be a third Varjak Paw book one day - I wrote a bit about my idea for it here:
http://www.sfsaid.com/2016/07/will-there-ever-be-third-varjak-paw-book.html

The story was inspired by watching my own cat when he was a kitten, and his adventures going outside the house for the first time. And many of the characters were inspired by other cats (and dogs!) I saw him meeting.

I did want to be a writer when I was younger. The books I loved when I was young inspired me to write my own books. I loved them so much, I wanted to write something that was even half as good one day!

I hope there will be a Varjak Paw movie one day, but it is very hard to get movies made. I wrote a little bit about this here:
http://www.sfsaid.com/2013/04/interesting-question-about-varjak-paw.html

Thanks again, and keep the Way alive!
SF Said

Unknown said...

Dear S.F Said,


you came to my school on Thursday 6th febuary 2020 I really engoy reading your books so thank you so much oh by the way I go to Howard Junior School


from lily Edwards ballantyne

SF Said said...

Dear Lily,

Thank you so much! It was a total pleasure to visit your school. And I'm really glad to hear you enjoy reading my books - keep reading!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Dear SF said, i am Polly and i loved reading your book Varjak Paw its very adventurous im very excited to read lots more of your books they are very enjoyable. A group of children in my class have been reading your book Varjak Paw and it is obviously good.

SF Said said...

Dear Polly,

Thank you so much for your message! I hope you enjoy my other books too. Please say hello to everyone in your class for me, and tell them to keep the Way alive!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Said
I loved Varjak Paw because it was really intruiges and full of excitement. I really enjoyed it when Varjak was meeting Jalal in his dreams and learning the Way. My heart was pounding in my throat when he faced-off Julius. I felt the same when Tam went missing. It was a triumph for you and amazing for your fans who got to read it. Congratulations. From Lexi.

SF Said said...

Dear Lexi,

Thank you so much! That's really kind of you. I don't find writing easy - Varjak Paw took me 5 years to get right, and Phoenix took 7 - but all the hard work feels worthwhile when I hear from a reader like you.

If you'd like to know why it took so long - and to see how it developed across many drafts - here's something you might find interesting: a resource I made for the British Library, where you can see the first page of 7 different drafts of Varjak Paw!
https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/varjak-paw-by-sf-said-illustrated-by-dave-mckean-manuscript-drafts-and-printed-book

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am sure this has been asked by hundreds, if not thousands of people recently. I am a teacher and I was reading Varjak Paw to my Year 4 class, before the Coronavirus shutdown. We are on Chapter 22 and I was wondering if it would be ok for me to continue reading to them via our online platform? (Class Dojo). I know they were all engrossed in the book and I would love to be able to finish it with them. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask the question?

Thank you

SF Said said...

Thank you for your message, and for reading Varjak Paw to Year 4 - please say hello to them, and tell them to keep the Way alive!

I am absolutely fine with teachers reading my books aloud by any means available during school closures - in fact I'd be honoured, so you won't get any complaints from me! My publishers are the people you really need to get permission from, though - they've put up some guidelines here:
https://www.penguin.co.uk/company/work-with-us/rights-and-permissions-/permissions/additional-guidelines.html

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF Said