Monday, January 19, 2009

Kids' Stuff...

Yesterday was the last of my literary appearances following the publication of The Dog of the North. This was at the "Just Write For Kids" Club in Chichester, run by the enthusiastic Becky Edwards, herself a writer of children's books. "Just Write" meets once a month for children aged 6-13 who get together to have fun writing stories, and Becky invited me along as a guest local author. My books aren't aimed at children, but this wasn't a book-selling exercise: it was a chance for the young writers to meet someone who was lucky enough to have been published and perhaps take some encouragement from it.

In fact, the kids there didn't need encouragement. They were all amazingly enthusiastic, and in most cases couldn't wait for me to finish so that they could tear off and get on with writing their own stories--a healthy attitude I can only endorse. At the end of the session some of the writers fed back the work they had set down during the morning. The standard was very high--not just were the stories lively and enthusiastic, many of them deployed some sophisticated narrative strategies. There were some real talents on display, and by providing a structured forum in which they can develop, Becky's group gives them a chance to develop their skills and maintain their enthusiasm for writing.

Becky had asked me to go along as a favour but I came away thinking that I was the one who had got the most out of the morning. It was inspiring to work with a group of people who enjoyed their writing so much. "Just Write For Kids" is a great idea and I hope it goes from strength to strength.


Matt Curran said...

Hi, Tim

I’m doing a similar thing at the end of February, and can’t wait. I remember being visited by a couple of writers during my school years, and it was always an exciting time. I used to think “Wow! This is the real deal. Writers who earn a living. Writers who are published.” That they would choose to come to our school and impart their experience was always a great thing to me.
I guess this is me paying that back.

And yeah, it’s great fun too!

PS: Today's word verification is "morsher". And I feel very morsher today...

Alis said...

Nice one, Tim!

David Isaak said...

You guys have writers come to your schools?

Sheesh. The highlight of my grammar-school career was having someone tell us about how milk got from cows to our supermarkets.