Contact Me

As you will see on other pages of my website, my career as a professional writer has been an extremely varied one. I’ve written fiction and non-fiction, scripts and prose, for adults and children, and my work ranges from journalism and television to books and corporate writing. I don’t find anything unusual in that – as far as I’m concerned, if you’re a writer you should be able to adapt your style and approach to suit all types of different media and genres.

My wide experience in many different areas of writing has been the bedrock of the writing workshops I have been devising and running in schools, libraries and at literary festivals for over 20 years. They cover fiction, non-fiction and scriptwriting, and I have workshops suitable for all ages - from primary school children, through GCSE pupils, to 6th Form students. 

Through talking to teachers at the schools I visit - and also as a result of the need to develop new material for my book Tricks of the Writer's Trade (see my home pageĽ) - I have assembled a whole host of new and entertaining ways of teaching young people the principles of good writing. And it seems to have paid off ...

 "Thank you so much for a fantastic day yesterday. Every time I popped in, the children were engaged,
enthused and excited about their writing. You made writing accessible for all. The children loved the day
 and feedback from the teachers was really positive.
" - Spalding headteacher, January 2014

And it's not just the pupils who benefit ...

"The teachers who sat in on the workshop gained, too. By the end of the day I had four A4 sheets of notes ...
new ideas, techniques that I'll certainly be using in my own teaching ... and after 20+ years in the classroom it's wonderful to gain so many new ideas in one day!  
So thanks again - great day - worth every penny. We hope to be in touch very soon to book another workshop for the spring term." - Scunthorpe teacher, November 2014

I can put together workshops and courses to suit any need. For example, in Spring 2006 I was asked to create a 10-day programme of lessons and workshops for Fulford High School in York, as part of the Booktrust Writing Together project – 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 Primary School in Yorkshire, as part of a NAWE research project funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

In 2010 I devised and ran a series of four workshops at Witham St Hughs Primary 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 further multiple sessions in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Find out more about the project by clicking hereĽ.

Apart 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 had some instant feedback from some of the children as they left school - they said it was the best day ever!
You can't get better than that."
- Castleford headteacher, December 2013

A 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. 

Dealing 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.

With 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.

With 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.

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

Similar 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.

This 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.

A whole day split between fiction and non-fiction writing for one year group. This was the one Catriona (above) enjoyed so much!

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 examination boards.

The 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.