School Presentation Photos 1

Author Talk

I offer an author talk lasting about 45 minutes, suitable for children in Years 5-8 (United Kingdom), fourth class to sixth class and first and second year Post-Primary (in Ireland). The talk can be followed by a Q&A session, and can be adapted for class or assembly-size groups. In the talk, I cover my childhood love of books and reading, the stories which meant the most to me and how they fed into my later life and career, and the development of The Eye of the North from a basic idea to a finished book. I use a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate my talk.

My aim with all talks is to encourage children in their own ambitions, and to show them that determination, hard work and a resilient attitude to life’s challenges can see them accomplish great things.

Events will normally allow the children an opportunity to purchase a copy of The Eye of the North after the talk, and I am always happy to meet and chat with audience members, as well as sign copies of my book.

Please feel free to contact me to inquire about my availability.

Writing Workshops

The Mystery Satchel

I currently offer a writing workshop based on the central image of the satchel in The Eye of the North. The workshop invites the children to form a story around a collection of random objects, placed into their ‘satchel’ over the course of a group activity. This workshop aims to focus on imagination, teamwork, and creative thinking.

Mythical Monsters

I can also offer a workshop on mythical and legendary beasts, which includes learning about creating characters through building our own mythical beast, and the writing (and, if suitable, performing) of a heroic tale. This workshop aims to focus on imagination, historical detail, creativity and confidence building.

A Dogsled Adventure

This workshop introduces the children to the history of dogsledding, and allows them to draw, design and name their own dogsled team. I also discuss the role dogsled teams played in the salvation of the town of Nome in 1925, which was threatened with destruction due to a diphtheria outbreak. Then, each child writes their own dogsled adventure – how will they, and their heroic dogs, save the day? This workshop aims to focus on imagination, historical detail, and creativity.

Inventions and Gadgets [IN PREPARATION]

In The Eye of the North, Emmeline is a keen inventor – she creates a poison-detecting liquid as well as her own stinkbomb – and is cleverly innovative with everyday objects. There are also examples of invention and gadgetry on display in the airships and vessels used in the book. This workshop allows the children to design and draw their own airship or amphibious boat and either write a newspaper-style article about it or design a user’s manual.


My own satchel, which I used as a schoolbag – and which was the inspiration behind Emmeline’s satchel in The Eye of the North!