you will see on
other pages of my website, my career as a
professional writer has been an extremely varied one. I’ve written
non-fiction, scripts and prose, for adults and children, and my work
from journalism and television to books
and corporate writing. I
don’t find anything unusual in that – as far as I’m concerned, if
writer you should be able to adapt your style and approach to suit all
different media and genres.
wide experience in
many different areas of writing has been the bedrock of the writing
have been devising and running in schools and libraries for over 20
cover fiction, non-fiction and scriptwriting, and led to me being
by Routledge to write a handbook for teachers, showing innovative ways
teaching essential writing skills.
Writer's Trade - and how to teach them to children aged 8-14,
it was published in November 2011. It deals with topics such as story
structure, writing techniques, creating characters, how to get story
writing, persuasive writing, scriptwriting and more, and
contains lots of the resources which I use in my workshops.
The book is aimed at Primary teachers, KS3 English teachers and
literacy coordinators, and should also prove invaluable for PGCE
students. You'll find further details
on the Routledge website by clicking hereĽ.
My workshops are constantly
evolving as I add new elements and resources. Last year, at the request
teachers affected by the GCSE English marking controversy, I created a GCSE English Language Workshop
to equip KS4 students with the non-fiction writing skills they need in
get a good grade. Also in 2012, I started
delivering shorter workshops at literary festivals, working with
groups at the Hexham Book Festival, Words Across Northumberland, Young
Readers Birmingham and the Ilkley Literature Festival.
This year I have already added more festivals to that list and will be working with young people at:
I can put together workshops and courses to suit any
need. For example,
in Spring 2006 I was asked to create a series of lessons and workshops
for Fulford School in York, as part of the Booktrust Writing Together
programme – and you can read all about it hereĽ.
And in 2007, at the invitation of the National Association of Writers in Education,
I undertook a residency at Husthwaite School in Yorkshire, as part of a
NAWE research project funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
2010 I devised and ran a series of four workshops in Lincoln,
working with a group of Gifted &
Talented children from five different primary schools to produce
material for a
book of stories and essays. The success of these workshops can be
judged from the fact that I was asked to host four more in
2011, yet another series of four in 2012, and I will be back again in
2013. Find out more about the
project by clicking hereĽ.
from specific projects such as these,
I also have a whole range of standard workshops, any of which can be
customised in order to meet a school's individual requirements:
"I would like to thank you for the wonderful day which you provided for our children. They all thoroughly enjoyed
it, from reception right up to Y6. Charlie in Y5 is still telling me about the protagonist and the antagonist!
I hope that you will be able to come another day in the future." - Chorley headteacher, March 2013
KS2 FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
full-day workshop for Year 5 or Year 6, which equips them with a
wide range of fiction-writing skills. Alternatively, I can deliver a
shortened version, working with one year group in the morning and the
other in the afternoon.
KS2 NON-FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
with the essential skills of non-fiction writing, this can again be
either a full-day workshop for Year 5 or Year 6, or a half-day
workshop for both year groups.
KS2 COMBINED WRITING WORKSHOP
fiction writing in the morning and non-fiction in the afternoon, this
workshop is a popular way of boosting the all-round writing abilities
of pupils from Year 5 or 6.
KS2 GIFTED & TALENTED WRITING WORKSHOP
content designed to challenge and stretch particularly able pupils,
this workshop covers either fiction writing - with an optional module
on scriptwriting - non-fiction writing or a combination of both.
WHOLE SCHOOL WORKSHOP
Often requested during Book Week, this workshop caters for all the
pupils in the school. Beginning
with a whole-school assembly, if required, it aims to inspire children
to read and write and to show them that professional writers come from
backgrounds just like theirs. Younger children are catered for in
shorter interactive sessions in which I show them how I set about
writing episodes for the CBeebies series
Chuggington, while the older ones take part in fun activities which teach them how to write engaging and exciting stories.
"I have learned so much today. Some of my friends came up to me
and said 'Ha, you’ve done
English all day.' And I said 'Yeah, it was great.'” –
Catriona, Wakefield Year 8 pupil, December 2012
KS3 FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
to the KS2 workshop, but with more advanced content and additional
modules to choose from, this can be a full-day workshop for one year
group or half-day workshops for two.
KS3 NON-FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
workshop addresses the various types of non-fiction writing that pupils
will need to master as they work towards GCSEs, teaching them
underlying principles and specific skills - again, either a full-day
workshop or two half-day ones.
KS3 COMBINED WRITING WORKSHOP
A whole day split between fiction and non-fiction writing for one year group. This was the one Catriona (above) enjoyed so much!
GCSE ENGLISH LANGUAGE WORKSHOP
This workshop was created at the request of teachers dismayed by the draconian re-drawing of GCSE English Language grade boundaries
in 2012, and has proved to be extremely popular. It addresses all the
key non-fiction writing skills that KS4 students will need in order to
get a good grade at GCSE. and can be tailored to focus more
strongly on specific areas in which students may be struggling.
Different versions of this workshop are available, in order to meet the
requirements of the various
content of my standard workshops can be adapted and expanded to create
a full writing course if required, and I am always willing to
devise customised workshops to suit individual requirements. Whatever
you need, just contact me and let’s see what we can put
together. I am based in Leeds, but am prepared to travel anywhere
within reason - although a one-day workshop in Cornwall might prove a
bit of a problem!