Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My First Author Visit!

Last Friday found me visiting Birkenhead High School Academy, a high school for girls in Birkenhead. My first author visit!

I'd been approached by their librarian Marilyn Hogan who had organised a literary festival within the school. A whole week of events under the banner of "Reading Between The Lines."

The pupils were very welcoming and polite. They asked lots of questions and took to my workshop enthusiastically.

I decided to look at the ballads that punctuate every chapter. Mortlock was partly inspired by The Twa Corbies, so I got the pupils to look at two variants of the ballad. I showed them the trailer and read an extract of the book.

At one point the projector was misbehaving, leaving me defenceless in front of 25 year eight pupils. While the technician wrestled with the machinery, I zipped round them asking names and favourite books. Fortunately, I didn't have to resort to a game of any description to keep them occupied but I guess I could have done.

The aim of the workshop was to create some kind of performance based on different (but all very gory) ballads that I had distributed. We had tableaux, readings of key lines, mimes of the events of the ballads. It was great fun. I only wish I'd had a few books to sell!

I really enjoyed my visit to Birkenhead High. It reminded me of all the reasons I went into teaching twenty years ago. I think I'll go back again. If they'll have me!

But now I'm looking forward to the weekend and the SCBWI conference at Winchester. Can't wait!