Author events can transform young learners’ reading and writing. A recent report by the National Literacy Trust found that pupils who had an author visit:
Were twice as likely to read above the expected level for their age (31% vs 17%)
Were more likely to enjoy reading (68% vs 47%) and writing (44% vs 32%)
Were more likely to be highly confident in their reading (37% vs 25%) and writing (22% vs 17%)
Events are the best part of my job, as they allow me to combine the skills I developed through years in the classroom with the perspective of a professional author. As well as one-off events, I have also undertaken long-term residencies focussed on pupils’ mental well-being through creativity; developing high-ability pupils’ language; and on developing engagement and confidence in reading and writing.
In addition to the pupil-focused events described below, I can also provide staff training on the teaching of writing skills.
When visiting schools, my aim is to deliver impact in the following areas:
― Promoting reading for pleasure
― Increasing engagement in reading and writing
― Developing literacy
― Raising attainment in writing (with particular emphasis on independence in the senior phase)
While all my events will take account of the particular needs of the audience and the desired focus of the host organisation, here are some details of my standard events:
UPPER PRIMARY/BGE SECONDARY
A one-hour presentation with no maximum capacity, this is an energetic and funny talk about the unusual path I followed to publication, where the ideas come from and what life is like as a full-time writer. Following an age-appropriate reading, there will be an opportunity for pupils to ask questions, and a book sale/signing can be arranged if desired.
A one-hour workshop ― designed for a class-sized group ― that focusses on the tools for writing, in particular reviewing and editing work with increasing independence. After quickly building our ideas, we’ll write pieces of flash fiction (I’ll also write a unique piece on the day that the school can keep!) and then think about how to develop our writing through editing and reflection.
NATIONAL 5/HIGHER/ADV HIGHER
A one- or two-hour presentation (tailored to a double period) with no maximum capacity, this is a positive and inspiring talk about the marshalling of ideas for folio pieces and how best to maximise their execution independently. Time for questions ― encouraged throughout ― and with relevant readings from my work and others’ by means of demonstration.
A one- or two-hour workshop ― ideally for a smaller group ― that delivers the same outcomes as the presentation but with built-in exercises for pupils to complete during the session. These isolate the skills required to raise attainment in the folio component, and provide a basis for pupils to effectively edit their own work.
Event-fees are a significant part of my income and, as a signatory to the Scottish Book Trust’s code of conduct for authors, I regret that I am unable to deliver events free of charge.
My fees, using the Scottish Book Trust’s standard rate as a template, are as follows:
Half day – £250.00
Full day – £400.00
(All plus travel ― @£0.45 per mile ― and expenses)
I’m based on the west coast of Scotland but am happy to travel. If you’d like to combine an event with another organisation or arrange a multi-day tour, I’d be delighted to provide you with a special price.
Book sales ― at a discounted rate of £6.00 per copy ― can be arranged if desired, but are in no way essential. Neither is it a requirement for the pupils to have read my books.
For upper primary and the BGE, I can arrange for sample chapters and teaching resources to be sent in advance.
If you have any other requirements or ideas about how you’d like your event to run, just get in touch!
I am also registered with the Scottish Book Trust's amazing Live Literature scheme, details of which can be found here.
I loved this workshop and found it to be both entertaining and instructive. I am still very much new to these writing events and so I had very little idea as for what to expect. I found these sessions to be thoroughly enjoyable, and would recommend them to anybody who enjoys writing who is wishing to improve their skill.
Max Parkhouse, Royal Reader, King James’s School, Knaresborough
“Pupils found Martin’s clever and witty presentation wholly engaging. Learners in the BGE benefited from his promotion of reading for enjoyment, while his senior phase workshops developed candidates’ skills and autonomy in writing. All were genuinely captivated by his tales of the writing process.”
Julie McWhirter, Principal Teacher of English, Kyle Academy
"Martin is an energetic and charismatic speaker who delivered an immensely entertaining talk to over 50 captivated Year 7s. The students were focused throughout - no mean feat for the final lesson of the day! - and really enjoyed the talk and accompanying dramatic readings. We will certainly be inviting him back!"
Cat O’Connor, librarian, St Marylebone C of E School, London
“Martin’s workshops had our sixth form students return to lessons “buzzing”, according to their teachers. Not only is Martin witty, engaging and a pleasure to listen to, but the content of the workshops is incredibly helpful: carefully targeted at the groups he’s working with. Students from Year7 to 13 (and teachers too) will gain so much from his honest, humble and very funny approach to creative writing and editing. He really went above and beyond to educate and entertain, and to talk to our students in his own time. We would welcome him back in a heartbeat.”
Laura Stanley, Learning Resources Manager, Hatch End High
“Our P7s loved Martin’s creative writing workshops. He was funny, entertaining, engaging, and pitched his talk and activities at just the right level. His teaching background meant he know how to communicate effectively, and sustain the classes’ interest ― they were enthusiastic about their writing, and keen to continue long after he’d left! He has definitely inspired a new generation of budding authors!”
Rachel Glasgow, Primary 7 teacher, Carolside Primary School