Being a writer can get a bit lonely, so there’s nothing better than getting out of my office and coming to talk to children or adults. I particularly like coming to primary schools, although I’m happy to visit secondary schools, writing groups, festivals, libraries or anywhere else.
You can book me either directly by emailing me, or through Authors Abroad (http://www.authorsabroad.com)
The structure and contents of my visits vary according to the needs of schools and the age of the children. The visits would usually involve a reading from one of my books, lots of questions, word games and suggested ideas and writing tips.
But it doesn’t just have to be about books and me. I have over 18 years experience of working in Television drama, for the BBC, ITV and a wide variety of independent film and television companies. During that time I have set up and run several schemes for new writers. These are designed to help writers who are starting out in television and are usually very interactive. Thanks to this I have quite a lot of experience, and even more opinions, on how to structure stories for television and film, how to write for the screen, and how to work with actors.
As a general rule I charge for these visits. My rates are those recommended by the Society of Authors. Recently I have been doing interventions with smaller groups of reluctant readers and writers where the school can make full use of the pupil premium. If you’re outside London I also need to charge travel expenses but I will try and keep them as low as possible.
I am happy to talk to any age group, although year 3 and upwards tend to benefit the most.
Primary school visits usually work around one of the following.
- Assembly style sessions aimed at younger children always involve reading from my books and me talking about being a writer. These sessions are suitable for any age group and pretty much any number of children. They will usually last for about 45 minutes.
- Class sized groups which allow the children more time for Q&A.
- Smaller groups where the focus is far more interactive. We work together on the children’s own writing, provide tips and talk about fun story-telling techniques.
- We can do creative workshops based around pre-planned activities – eg I email them a writing/reading task and then we use that as the basis for a creative workshop.
Secondary schools. These talks and workshops are more detailed, and cover different areas of cross-platform writing and story creation. They can be tailored to meet course requirements, the following are a few examples.
- Television v Books – An examination of both forms, where are the differences and where are the similarities? This is a longer session as we can look at a specific example of adapting a book for the screen and how it was achieved.
- Interactive Character workshop. This is an in-depth examination of characters (protagonists and antagonists) in television, film and the novel followed by a workshop where the students create their own central character.
- Screenwriting workshop. How to write for television or film.
Creative Writing for Adults – Every year in the summer I run courses for adults at the Marlborough College Summer School (www.mcsummerschool.org.uk). I run a course in Writing for the Screen which involves looking at all aspects of film and TV writing, from structure to character, narrative and dialogue to how to create and write your own sitcom. It is a five day course, but can easily be adapted into shorter talks or workshops aimed at literary festivals, library visits, Secondary School English societies, or writers groups.
I am a member of the Society of Authors and usually charge their recommended rates.
I have been doing different events, workshops, readings and seminars at a wide variety of schools. These are some of the ones I’ve visited so far.
City of London School For Girls (prep)
Queen Eleanor Primary, Northampton
Lauriston Primary School, Hackney