CONTACTING AUTHORS FOR SCHOOL EVENTS
This section provides contact details for authors and illustrators who visit schools and information about the kind of events they hold.
Dream on Amber
Dara Palmer's Major Drama
Talks, INSET days and writing workshops
Number of Sessions
A one-hour talk if it's local (i.e. within half an hour of travel), a half day (talk + workshop) or a full day (one or two talks + one or two workshops, or two of each)
Size of Audience
Anything from 30 - 350 is fine
Anywhere at all
£150 (plus travel) for an hour if the talk is in London (half a day or a day only if it's outside London)
£250 for half a day (plus travel)
£350 for a full a day (plus travel)
My books are not solely for girls I'd rather the schools didn't separate the children or assume the boys won't like my talks or books. I talk about football, samurai swords, orphanages in Asia, the one-child policy in China, being small but mighty, working hard at what you love, and what to do if something stands in the way of the thing you dream of doing. Important stuff for everyone to hear and learn from.
TYPES OF EVENTS I HAVE DONE:
Most often I've done one-hour talks in schools and libraries to a medium to large number of children, and around two-three talks in a day.
A three-part writing workshop in a classroom for two hours, each week for three weeks for Y4
One-part writing workshops for an hour or two for Years 4-7
Talks for Book Week and Careers Week
Talks in secondary schools about orphanages and my trip to Cambodia, and how to turn an idea into a story
INSET days for teachers on storytelling and creative writing in the classroom
Talks and workshops at colleges and universities on writing and getting published, writing techniques, fiction styles and literary analysis, and finding not just 'your voice', but all of the many voices that fill your world.
A projector and laptop for the visuals for the talk, if possible. A microphone if it's to a large number of children, three times a day as I lose my voice otherwise, some water, and if possible, smiling happy teachers and children
School visits work best when the children are excited about meeting me (and know I'm coming and who I am when they sit down in the hall...). If the class can read all or part of my book before I come in, it really makes a difference. The opening chapters are on the Chicken House website.
I can arrange with a local bookshop to sell books on the day and ask the school to send a letter out asking the children to bring money in.
Send the school promotional materials, such as posters to put up (or they can ask my publisher directly)
Send the school a printable handout for book orders if they'd like
Ensure the school has the Powerpoint, check it's working on the day, and improvise without if it isn't
Organise a bookseller on the day
Wear a red tutu and silver shoes (important)
Have a cool laser that I use to point at the photos (never fails to impress)
Be engaging and hold their attention, boys and girls, and give them plenty to think and talk about
My talks and workshops can also be modified for different requirements:
For a Careers' Week talk, I focus on being an author as a career, how to achieve it, what you need, what my day is like, what I did before, how I get my ideas, how to generate stories, and the pay.
For a Book Week talk, I focus on characters, books and storytelling.
For workshops on story writing, I focus on generating ideas and characters, finding your voice and editing your work.
For Inset Days, I focus on how to encourage and promote writing in the classroom and offer tools and resources for teachers.
I want to promote and encourage reading and literacy as well as writing. Writing anything that is: journals, scrapbooks about football, whatever. I talk about my books but I also try to encourage writing and reading in general, and as I was not a fiction writer as a child but wrote about what I loved, it's a good way to encourage writing with more reluctant pupils.
I specialise in character, voice, diversity, identity, inclusion, race and culture. The main themes of my talk promote and encourage three goals of Aim 1 of the National Curriculum and five goals of Aim 2. See my website for details. Stories and narratives play a crucial role in overcoming discrimination, racism and prejudice as narratives help us understand ourselves, each other and especially 'the other'.
I write and talk about being different, issues of belonging, non-traditional families, diverse cultures, aspirations and dreams, how to deal with obstacles and challenges, discrimination and how to deal with it, coping with adversity and making it a positive experience, changing the world for the better, and being kind and helping one another.
Writing and hearing each other's stories goes a long way in promoting empathy and tolerance, nurtures exploration into our racial, religious and cultural identities and the lenses through which we see the world and how this flavours our writing, and allows us to share them and our experiences. There has never been more need for us to talk and write across our divides and our connections, for all voices to be heard, and for us to see each other.
I have discussion guides on both books, comprising ten questions about the story, characters and themes, and bringing attention to the writer's craft and why I might have written the story in the way I did
I have printable frameworks for character and story building
I have Powerpoints and handouts with tools for teachers to use in the classroom for teaching writing (to be given at INSET days)
I'm open to ideas and might be persuaded to create more materials if people are nice to me.