I have been working with children in schools and at festivals, for longer than I have been a writer. I began giving talks about natural history to primary school children whilst I was still a zoology student, which is 376 years ago now. When I was a TV and radio presenter I worked with live audiences of children and began to go into schools to run writing workshops.
Nowadays I’m asked to visit schools and to talk at literary festivals because of my books. I do all sorts of things. Sometimes, with big audiences I do what I call performance zoology. This is something like cross between the Royal Society Lectures and stand up comedy for the under 10s.
What I do more and more of is running writing workshops for children in primary and secondary schools. I usually base these workshops on natural history as a jumping off point for the children’s writing - poems, prose, stories, short drama pieces. If this is something you’d like me to do in your school, then contact me.
In the last two years I’ve worked in schools in North London, Surrey, Plymouth, Germany, West Wales and Dominica, with children from 4 to 16, undergraduate and post graduate students. We’ve written everything from opera libretti to horror stories, and had a lot of fun.
I think almost everyone I’ve worked with now knows how to sing like a humpbacked whale!
Lennox Author Award 2016
This is the Q&A from the awards ceremony for the Lennox Author Award 2016, which took place on Tuesday 9th February at Cockenzie Primary School, Cockenzie, East Lothian. I'm joined by the other shortlisted authors Piers Torday and Gill Lewis.