Tuesday 21 January 2014

21st Century Authors on the 21st of January - Megan Rix / Ruth Symes

Ages ago one of my publishers, Puffin, asked if I'd like to take part in the 21st Century Author Training Programme run by the National Literacy Trust.

'Great, yes please,' I said, always wanting to help with anything that encourages reading. 


We'll apply for you,' the publicity people said, and I assumed they had applied and I hadn't been selected as I didn't hear anymore.

But in late December the publicity people called: 'You're on it - lunch next week. We'll pay the train fare.'

I love writing on trains (unless its overcrowded of course) and so did several of the other 40 or so authors I chatted to when we arrived at the Premier League Building. 

First there was a talk by Jim Sells from NLT. Their Premier Reading Stars Programme is very much part of the project and players from the teams are helping to enthuse reluctant readers - and so far its been phenomenally successful.

'Some authors might get to visit one of the premier league clubs,' I told my husband when I got home. He immediately asked if he could come too. 'And did you tell them our dog's called Traffy after Old Trafford?' he wanted to know.
Sadly I'd forgotten, although I had mentioned she was a reading therapy dog. Big disappointed sigh from husband.
He took over making dinner while I sat down to rectify my omission with an email.
'It's not very likely I'll be going to Manchester United, is it?' I told him as gently as I could but the email got sent anyway.

Just after Christmas I had the first of my 3 days training run by Author Profile. We were divided into groups of 8 for the first session and 4 for the next. Our first day was concerned with building the content of our talks and presentations in schools and libraries.

Swopping ideas with each other was lots of fun and the environment the trainers created really supportive. There was a mixture of newbies and authors who were quite established. I tried not to feel too envious of the newbies: did they know how lucky they were to have this training. When I was new... :)  Ho hum.

The second day's training was last week and due to a slight hiccup there were only 2 of us instead of 4. This course was on performance and owning the stage, vocal exercises and microphone work. It was AWESOME. Plus due to the hiccup in timing I got to write at the NLT's office all morning before the session started and got tons of work done.

Can't wait for the the third day's course which unfortunately isn't until June/July. We're going to learn about profiles and social media and the business side of arranging talks and fees then. 

So I'm feeling happy and I just wanted to say if you're published or about to be and based in the UK and the course is offered to you - JUMP AT IT. 

Your publisher can put you forward but quite a few clever authors had applied themselves without their publisher being involved and that was fine too.

  Ruth Symes' latest book is 'Bella Bewitched'
Megan Rix's latest book is 'The Bomber Dog



Emma Barnes said...

Sounds really interesting - I've asked about future programmes.

Unknown said...

Good idea - I'm sure you'd love it and they'd love you :)

Unknown said...
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Stroppy Author said...

Wow - never heard of it. One of my books is in the NLT challenge, but my publisher didn't mention this...

sensibilia said...

Off topic - reading therapy dog sounds wonderful - how does that work?

Unknown said...

I take Traffy into school and she 'listens' to the children read individually for about 5 minutes each - she loves it (especially when the children give her a treat afterwards). Reading to a dog takes the pressure off the reader and is fun. There's a few organisations that do it - Pets As Therapy, Read 2 Dogs - quite a few smaller local ones too. Everyone knows her and it's good for children who aren't used to dogs to meet a very chilled out one. This week the infant children were in the playground and the teacher (we're really junior visitors) told them they could line up and give Traffy a wave and she wagged her tail back as if she were waving too. :)

sensibilia said...

Thanks for your reply -that does sound like the most lovely thing to do, for all parties concerned! (Including the dog!)

Unknown said...

Blogged more about it under Dog Days on this blog :)
Think there's 2 posts on it.