What an amazing, busy weekend we’ve had! Yesterday I blogged about a jam-packed Friday and Saturday and now, after a long, but incredibly happy day dear reader, I shall tell you what we’ve been up to today.

This morning we were joined by Sara Grant at Chicken and Frog Bookshop, for two creative writing sessions. Sara writes for teens (Dark Parties, Half Lives), slightly younger readers (Magic Trix series) and her new series, Chasing Danger, is for middle grade readers. Sara is also an Associate Lecturer at Goldsmith’s College, which makes the fact that we managed to entice her to the festival all the more exciting! Sara spoke to the groups about her life as a writer, before guiding them on a journey to creating their own stories.

I have been lucky enough to see Sara in action before, and yet I am always in awe of how she inspires children of all ages, abilities and interest levels, to feel brave enough, not only to dream up a story, but also to share their ideas. She shows children how to build up their characters, so that they are believable; they have a purpose within their setting. And action is at the heart of it all – there’s no slow build up, it’s bam! Right into the throws of the action. It’s truly fantastic. Sara also spoke with a brilliant book blogger. As soon as he’s ready, we’ll share the link with you!

After Sara had finished for the day, we hot footed it over to Hogarth Primary School, with Abi Elphinstone, author of The Dreamsnatcher trilogy. Abi is like a ball of infectious energy, as she shares her real life experiences, which have influenced her writing. And although some of Abi’s experiences are not ones which everyone can have – skydiving, or meeting Mongolian eagle hunters, she is passionate about showing children (and adults) that the world in which we live in is a place of beauty. We don’t have to travel to the ends of the earth for inspiration; it’s right here on our doorstep.

The fact that Abi is dyslexic and speaks so candidly about how her brain works* is brilliant too, as she highlights that having a creative mind is a wonderful thing. Her use of maps to plan out a story is yet another way for a writer to share their ideas with the world. To draw before you write is an effective, powerful way to build up a narrative.

Phew! In just a few days, we have seen 7 authors. 11 more to go! Tomorrow is Karen McCombie in the morning, and Ashley Harrold in the afternoon. Tickets are available on the door at Brentwood Theatre, so come along to join the fun!

*Abi’s words, not mine!

saraworkshop     abisession