Author, Musician and Composer
"A fast-moving crime thriller for school pupils aimed at tackling Scotland’s sectarianism and racism."
On this page you’ll find details of:
•the audience I usually present to
•my presentation style
•what I typically present in schools
•workshops for pupils
•CPD for teachers
•special sessions on Business
The audience I usually present to
My workshops are generally for P4 to S2, so roughly ages 8-12, but I also do workshops for P1-3 that feature puppets and music. Workshops are mostly effective with audience of 20 - 40 children.
My business and publishing talks are aimed at S2-S6, and adults.
For my presentations - I have had a wide variety of audience sizes, it’s all part of the fun. I once presented to a school of 6 (yes, that was the whole school, including the infants!), while at the other extreme - I’ve had an audience of almost 700. I’m a ‘more the merrier’ type, so those large audiences suit me just as well as the smaller ones.
My presentation style
I’m energetic (even first thing), engaging and humorous. I think of my style as ‘stand-up for children’, a blend of exciting tales and comedy that help to get across the key educational messages. I usually encorporate some health and well-being by talking about asthma - how it effects my stories and my life. I like to get children motivated about reading and writing through story-telling.
What I typically present
Every session is a little different, but typically they last about 30 - 50 minutes, depending on what is required.
•I briefly explain how I became an author;
•I entertain pupils with engaging stories and readings
. There will be many cross-curicular elements - my background is zoology.
. There will be cross-cultural elements - I talk about visiting schools in other parts of the world.
•I provide practical tips to help develop story-writing skills (useful for teachers as well as pupils);
•I give away a couple of signed books as prizes in a lively competition; and
•I answer as many questions as I can.
I have a specific Key-Note Speach called 'SNAKES AND LADDERS' which is ten minutes long and looks at the bad things in my life that turned out to be good, and eventually led me into writing. If the school has a theme that year, I can adapt.
Workshops for pupils
I usually include plenty educational content in my ‘normal’ school presentations, but there’s only so much time available and lots of inspiring entertainment to fit in alongside the writing tips. So, in many schools My 5 workshops are detailed on the Author Visit page.
A ‘normal’ workshop lasts about an hour,
CPD for teachers
I can also run CPD sessions to teachers, either as part of a visit (usually a quick session immediately after the end of the school day) or as part of an in-service/inset day.
These sessions cover a variety of topics, from how to motivate reluctant readers to how authors structure their stories (it’s often very different to what they were taught at school); and how editors edit, a business plan is drawn up for a book. .
What I cover often depends on the particular issues a school faces.
I don’t have standard fees for CPD sessions because their nature varies so much, but if you let me know what you’re after I’ll be happy to quote you a price.
Special sessions on Business
As well as being an author, I also run a publishing business. And before I did any of that I sat on the UK Commercial Leadership Team of a major pharmaceutical company for ten years. I also ran courses on:
Many schools studying Business as a topic invite me in for an author session in which I also explore some of the questions above. It’s something I’m keen to do. After all, most of us will work for a business at some point and we all deal with them every day as consumers.