On Monday 30th January I went to visit the children at Charles Dickens Junior school. I spoke about what my school years were like, and how that and my library card helped me grow up to be an author. The children made me feel very welcome, were polite and well behaved, listed quietly to everything I said and asked lots of questions afterwards. I then gave out copies of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens to the year 5/6 students who were more pleased to receive these gifts than I had dared hope. My visit with these lovely children was filmed by the BBC and will be aired on BBS South Today as part of the Charles Dickens week sometime between Monday 6th Feb – Thursday 9th February .
I want these blog posts to be a completely honest account of my time in residence which means I need to admit that I have been putting in a lot of writer in residence related work on the weekends and in the dark hours when I would normally be working on my own writing. This isn’t ideal but the one day per week that I am being paid to work on this isn’t enough time for all the planning and prep work that needs doing before my outreach work begins in March. I want to be sure that the residents benefit as much as possible from my time and this means putting in a lot of unpaid time. I am not sure if other writers in residence have experienced the same or if it is just because I am having to work around my various disabilities (autism, dyslexia and dysraxia) to get the job done.
One of the things that has been troubling me is how to get around to all the schools I plan to visit before the summer holidays begin. The reason I need to do this is so that each school can have an equal opportunity to earn team points for the WeLL writing challenge on October 27th. To do this they all need to know that they earn team points by going to their local library, withdrawing books and asking the librarian to stamp their WeLL book card. Each WeLL stamp earns their school team a point. Fellow writer Gray (@FrodosDentist) suggested I film myself explaining all of this and then ask the school Heads to share it with their students and to post it on their websites. I think this is a really clever solution! This gives me more time to spend at each school doing WeLL story creating and sharing sessions with the students throughout my time in residence.
Last but not least there is an article about my residency on page 18 of the February issue of Flagship.