A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Monday, 4 March 2013

Town Hall Tales - Shoreditch Town Hall and planning novels in 45 minutes.

Bookselling table and festival crew.
I'm rushing around as usual but I thought I'd quickly post about my day of workshops at Shoreditch Town Hall - a historic building once fallen into decay that some imaginative folks are trying to restore.

(Teachers: if you're looking for teaching resources for Tall Story, check out the brilliant one created by local teacher Mike Owen for the Town Hall Tales website)

How historic is Shoreditch Town Hall? Well my first workshop was held in what was once the Council Chamber - where an inquest was held into the gruesome murder of Mary Kelly in 1888. Something I didn't dare mention to my lovely pupils from Virginia Primary School.

This ceiling heard the gruesome details of the Jack the Ripper killings.

My workshop? I got the children to plan a novel in 45 minutes! Pupils from Virginia Primary School split into groups to brainstorm .

Their ideas were AMAZING. All I have to do is hold a few more of these workshops and I'll have all the ideas I'll ever need for a career in writing novels!

Plan a novel in 45 minutes? Yes, it can be done!
Sam Adams from Half Moon Theatre then ran a drama workshop using Tall Story

A tableau from the drama workshop of the scene in which Andi meets Bernardo for the first time.

Me and the Virginia School crew!

More drama from Tall Story.

Someone remarked at how "diverse" the festival was. I suppose so ... here we diverse authors are, eating lunch on the bench (that's my lunch on Cathy Johnson's lap). From left to right, JD Sharpe aka Jasmine Richards (Oliver Twisted), Cathy (A Nest of Vipers), moi and Na'ima Robert (Boy vs Girl) who is very bubbly under that veil.

... and the ultimate in diversity - there was also a yeti in attendance, here threatening bookseller Joanna de Guia of Victoria Park Books. (Yeti courtesy of author Alex Milway of the Mythical 9th Division books)
My second workshop of the day with the children of Sebright Primary was held in the yet unrefurbished basement of Shoreditch Town Hall which was oh so spooky.

I haven't got photos of the very sparkly Sebright children because we didn't have photo permissions so instead here is a photo of the hallway of no return.
And the spooky wall.
and here's a full shot of the basement room where we had our workshop. The children LOVED it!

Post-it love from attendees of Town Hall Tales festival. Congrats to Joanna de Guia and Penny Wrout of LandSky for a well executed plan!


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