School Visits

Thinking of inviting me over?

That's very kind of you . . . I'll probably love to come! And you won't regret having me. If you are sure that you want me, send me an email with your number and the best time to call.

This page is mainly about school visits, but you can book me for other events. I've given a few talks to women's groups and others. Drop me a line and let me know what you're thinking!

If you're still thinking about whether I am the author that you need to visit your school, here are some questions that you might ask me, and my answers. Hopefully this'll help you make a decision, but don't hesitate to get in touch if there's something else you'd like to know.

Is The Ten Rules of Skimming suitable for my year group?

My book is aimed at readers aged ten plus, but I am happy to visit schools with younger age groups, and much older ones as well! I can talk about creative writing, or feature writing, or being a columnist, so whatever is needed really. It's not just about the book . . .

Will the session make the children laugh out loud?

Although I would like to say I inspire every child, I doubt that is true. But I aim to entertain them with a mixture of words, and art and practical ideas. I usually get a giggle or two.

What will you talk about? Is it the number of spiders nesting in your hair?

Generally my talk is about my writing journey. So I'll natter a bit about my place in the grand scheme of things (with a quiz about authors), and writing for newspapers and magazines, and creative writing. I use examples of my work from when I was the nerd child of the last century, and show lots of images. I'll also read age appropriate material from my book. (Don't worry, the grittier material is kidnapping and a fatal car crash but I will avoid those). There should be no mention of the spider incident.

Anything that will get the children motivated to write?

I can talk about how to generate ideas, how to write a great first sentence, and how to write a thrilling story. This involves the whole audience participating, and I hope it inspires children to write their own version. I love it when children get cross that their idea hasn't been chosen, and then go off and do something about it like write their own!

And how long will this last?

This should take us about 45 minutes, which leaves 15 for questions (assuming an hour long session of course!) and book signings.

Can you cope with a whole school of rowdy teenagers, throwing eggs?

Um, no. I think that, as I am fairly new to this, I would prefer smaller groups. I am happy to do upper / lower schools at primary, but would prefer to work with classes at senior school or year groups at a push. This is, however, based on my son's school which has 6 million students attending. Best you just give me a rough number, and I'll see how brave I am feeling. How's that for honesty?

What do you do for reluctant readers / writers, or conversely, gifted readers / writers, or even those in the middle who always seem to be left out?

I run small group sessions to help encourage writers: whether fiction or non-fiction. This can be tailored around topics, or I can provide material to generate ideas. We can chat more about this . . .

You sound awesome, I want to invite you over . . . how much do you charge?

Thanks, you are lovely! Send me an email and I'll let you know. Please send a phone number and tell me the best time to call.

Thanks, that's everything I wanted to ask.

You're welcome, I look forward to hearing from you.