"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
In addition to festivals, panel events, and conferences, I visit schools with interactive and entertaining workshops to promote reading and writing. Tailored to upper primary, as well as the junior and senior schools at secondary level, these promote the pursuit of creative ambition, and are designed to raise attainment in writing (both creative and academic!)
I also provide training for classroom practitioners to help improve young learners' engagement and potential in reading and writing - from primary level to detailed editing practices for Advanced Higher.
Having an author visit can have a hugely positive impact on pupils' engagement, for all ability levels. Below are brief details of my visits' content - please contact me if you'd like more information.
My presentations (to any size of group, of any age range) track my career from the classroom to professional writer by showcasing the commitment required to achieve the long-term goal of publication. I explore the nature of the creative process, detailing the journey from idea to book with entertaining stories, and age-appropriate readings from Riverkeep and The Sacrifice Box.
For upper primary, S1, and S2, my workshop builds on the presentation's exploration of the creative process to help pupils write their own stories. I'll write a short piece along with them, and so leave the classes with a unique piece of writing created on the day, just for them! If desired, I can also build in some brief reflection in line with BGE benchmarks, to encourage learners' independent editing.
For S3, the workshop goes into more detail about the nature of writing, acting as an introduction to the increased responsibility expected of pupils as they move into National 5 and Higher by encouraging and modelling more detailed editing.
For the senior phase, I discuss the unusual route I took towards publication, the ways in which inspiration finds its way onto my page, and what it's like to work with a number of editors. This is followed by a masterclass designed to raise attainment in writing at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher. The workshop will take account of pupils' progress through their portfolio, supporting them to begin or reflect on their work as appropriate. Using the manuscripts of Riverkeep and The Sacrifice Box, as well as live examples, I aim to help learners take responsibility for improving their own work by demonstrating the importance of editing to successful writing, with useful tips for putting these skills into practice.
Some comments from students who've attended my workshops:
"I enjoyed finding out about the process of how a book is written and published... he was very funny."
‘I loved finding out about the whole editing process from someone who wasn’t afraid to admit that they found it difficult... some really useful editing tips that I will definitely apply to my own writing."
If you're interested in having me visit, please use the contact page to send me a message, and check out my FAQs for information about my rates! I am registered with the Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature scheme, details of which can be found here.
“Kyle Academy pupils found Martin’s clever and witty presentation wholly engaging. Learners were genuinely captivated by his tales of the writing process.”
Julie McWhirter, Principal Teacher of English, Kyle Academy, Ayr
"From the get go Martin was pitch-perfect: engaging, honest, and even challenging where appropriate. Pupils were drawn in to his stories of the writing process, and to the novel itself- especially the boys. I would not hesitate to recommend Martin to any school."
Donna Baird, Librarian, St Ninian's High School, Glasgow
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 Year 7 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 (and his dog, Hugo) back to keep the river at Hatch End in a heartbeat.
Laura Stanley, Learning Resources Manager, Hatch End High School.
Our P7s loved Martin's creative writing workshop. He was funny, entertaining, engaging, and pitched his talk and activities at just the right level. His teaching background meant he knew 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