As the year draws to a close, it always feels fitting to reflect on the year gone by. The Storymakers Creative Writing Club has grown from humble beginnings in 2017, to a fully established club, with a wonderful community. The last twelve months have been amazing.
In April, my Young Writers (the over tens) took over a Story Time session at our local library, where they read out picture book stories they’d written and illustrated themselves. We even appeared on KMTV to promote the event! As a writer, you don’t often share your work, so this was a real opportunity for the Young Writers to shine, which they did, brilliantly.
During the Easter break, I ran a series of Time Capsule workshops, including for the first time, 5-7-year-olds, who all loved creating their own ‘all about me’ portfolios. I will be looking to work with this age group again through my ‘Preparing for Writing’ programme. Please keep an eye on the website for details of workshops.
The summer term, despite the distraction of the heat AND the World Cup, went swimmingly well to complete a full school-year of regular weekly groups.
On a personal note, this year saw the release of my second book, Time School: We Will Remember Them and along with this, I held a launch event in Sevenoaks library, spent a day at the wonderfully eclectic Mr Books bookshop in Tonbridge and held a workshop for Form 6 at Hilden Oaks School.
Over the summer holidays, I hosted a fantastic week-long Creative Writing Bootcamp, which was a great success. I think the Spy School was the most popular day of the five and I’ll definitely be repeating it.
The Storymakers Club is now well established with three age groups, the Story Writers (7-8’s), the Writer Buds (9-10’s) and the Young Writers, of which there are two groups (over 10’s). When we returned in September, we began to study the elements of story writing (the Story Writers), train as young journalists (Writer Buds) and get to grips with the mechanics of novel writing (Young Writers).
It’s been a busy term, but we have lots to show for it, including our first issue of Writer Buds News, a collection of all the work the children in this particular group have been working hard to produce since September. If you would like a copy emailed to you, please fill in your details below:
As for me, as if that wasn’t enough, I was invited to take part in the Dominic King Show monthly book club, where the hosts, Dominic King and Linden Kemkaran, discussed my book and interviewed me alongside the great Melvin Burgess!
I also held workshops for the whole of Key Stage Two at a local school, based on my two books, The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants and Time School. What hit home at these workshops, was a discussion with the teachers, who felt it was so important for the children to have the opportunity to be creative without restraint. They admit, they’re forced to teach English in such a grammar-led way, it’s difficult to include any time for creativity, which is why they organised for someone like me to come along.
It highlights the importance of the Storymakers Club, as this is also something I have noticed myself, time and again with the children that come along to the groups and workshops. Many of them are regulars, and I’ve seen how much they’ve grown and changed in the time they’ve been coming along. Those who were reluctant to begin with, have really come out of their shells and found the courage to have a go, even if they get it wrong.
As far as I’m concerned, there is no ‘wrong’. My philosophy is all about having a go and finding the fun in writing. That’s essentially what Storymakers is all about. I’m not here to judge, markdown or mock. I’m simply here to encourage.
If you would like to know more about the Storymakers Club, please go to the website. The new term will resume in the week of January 7th.