NEW editions out now!







NEW editions out now!

School Talks and Workshops

I PERFORM A VARIETY OF TALKS AND WORKSHOPS

IN SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, READING CLUBS AND BOOK FESTIVALS

If you would like me to come to your school, library or festival please email me to discuss fees and the kind of visit that will best suit you at cliffmcnish@hotmail.com

 

ABOUT MY TALKS

My Books

I will talk to year 3 through to adults about my novels and the background and inspiration for writing them. My content is tailored to the age-group, and includes personal anecdotes and selected readings. Plenty of opportunity is made available for questions, plus a signing session.

Going Home

I’ve crafted a new and fun talk for years 3 to 7 about my latest novel GOING HOME, about four dogs stuck in a rescue centre.
I discuss the novel as well as my experiences of working with my own and Battersea dogs. This includes funny and poignant stories, and an exercise in imaginative thinking. 

 

Visiting Cranleigh Preparatory School

Bespoke talks on request

I’m happy to talk about other aspects of writing, such as the elements needed to make fantasy and ghost stories work. Please take a look at my workshops to see the main areas I cover and contact me to discuss your needs.

WORKSHOPS

All my workshops are highly interactive and work best with groups of 40 students or less. I’m willing to be flexible, but my main workshops fall into the following categories tailored for year 3 to adults:

 

1.      How to craft a story

The 5 key steps to writing compelling stories. A simple and powerful structure for story writing that any student can follow and use.

 

2.      Creating great characters

We explore how to create heroes and villains.

 

3.      Ghost stories: Crafting a Chiller

Each student creates his or her own ghost story, and we explore how to establish suspense and build tension to a satisfying conclusion.

 

4.      Adventure stories

We take characters on an exciting journey that changes them forever.

 

5.      Fantasy Writing

We develop a fantasy world that is original and convincing, using ideas solely from the students themselves and their interaction. This is a vibrant, often funny, session in what it takes to make a fantasy world real and compelling.

 

6.      The Four Most Important Stories

We use classic and contemporary examples to explore the four main repeated thematic archetypes in fiction, and how to use them to create powerful stories of your own. Sounds dry, but actually works fantastically well with year 7 upwards.

Visiting a school in Thailand

7.      Going Home (for students, years 3-7) 

I use my novel Going Home as the basis for a workshop in character empathy. This is always enormously popular with children who take part. 

 

8.      Tell me a picture (for younger students, Reception to Year 3)

I use characters and pictures from my own novels to stimulate the visual imaginations of the children. They go on to create their own personal images, which become the basis for a simple exercise in expressive descriptive writing.

 

WORKSHEETS and Discussion Guides

example worksheet page - creating great villains in your stories
click image above to view sample

I have created a number of practical worksheets to inspire students and improve their skills. Copies of these are left with the school, regardless of the workshops I'm asked to run.

Example worksheets
Worksheet examples

Discussion Guide for 'Breathe'

 

 

The Rhode Island Teen Book Award have produced one for BREATHE when they shortlisted that novel

 

Discussion Guide for 'Savannah Grey'

 

 

My U.S. publisher Carolrhoda have also produced an excellent guide for Savannah Grey .

 

PRAISE FROM SCHOOLS

A big thank you for working with the class of year 7’s on creative writing skills last week. They have come up with some wonderful pieces of work since your visit. Librarian, Downsend School, Leatherhead

 

You visited our school recently and we loved it so much we were hoping you might be interested in coming again. Librarian, SouthHampstead Junior School

 

The children loved every moment of itHead of English, St. Michael’s Primary School, Highgate

 

The whole year have had follow up lessons in story construction, which have been very effective with good outcomes. Quite frankly, we all enjoyed the day so much. You were wonderful. Head of English, Guilsborough School, Northampton.

 

It was great having you in school. The students have all been talking about your books. I would love to invite you back next year. Headmistress, Marner Primary School, Tower Hamlets