Type of Artist:
Fun, interactive presentations and workshops - defy expectations, Be More BMX! Book signing and readings naturally included.
Told by a careers advisor, girls like me don’t become writers, I’m now on a mission to encourage children everywhere to smash stereotypes and find the extreme sporting hero within. It will be fun, I promise. I mean, where else will you get the chance to sit on a hobby horse unicorn while wearing a kitten mask and balancing a teabag on your head?
Talks and Assembly Style Presentations
With their resilience, determination and team spirit, there’s a lot we can learn from BMXers. Referencing her own childhood and publishing journey, Marie discusses how adapting a BMX mindset can help us achieve our ambitions, whatever limits others put on us. Through interactive discussion, readings and games, children will discover that Princess BMX is, however, not just a book about BMX, rather it’s a book about challenging stereotypes and expectations. They will come away inspired to do the same!
Expect bouncing eyeballs, flying teabags, jaw dropping BMX video clips and lots of laughs.
Delivering creative writing outreach for Manchester Metropolitan University and the Portico Library, Marie has delivered workshops to children from KS2 to Sixth Form. Here’s some of her favourites but do ask if you’d like something else.
KS2 - Princess BMX Character Mash
Princess BMX is all about challenging expectations. This is true of the supporting characters too: a masculine fairy godfather who loves nothing better than his wife’s home cooked squirrel; a tiny, cantankerous unicorn with bucked teeth; and a dragon who breathes sherbet rather than fire, are just some of the ways the author mixes things up.
With reference to Princess BMX, and using a Top Trumps style format, children will create their own unique characters. After sketching their character, they’ll highlight their unique traits and qualities and give them a problem – the key feature of any character-driven story. For older year groups, the workshop can be adapted to also cover plotting and story development.
KS2 – World’s Away
Like any classic fairy tale, Princess BMX is set in a strange magical world with a number of distinct features. With an emphasis on descriptive writing, children will be challenged to create their own fantasy world and develop ideas for a short story:
- First, inspired by classic fairy tales and Marie’s sketches of Princess BMX’s Biscotti, they’ll map out their world.
- Next after thinking about its landscape and inhabitants, they’ll write a story opening, telling us more about the geography, animals and magical creatures that inhabit the world they’ve created.
For older year groups, the workshop can be adapted to include the classic elements of a fairy tale plot, participants leaving with a plotting tool to further develop their story.
9 – 13 – Book Cover Design
Focussing on book covers, this workshop offers a different approach to exploring text. The session starts by taking a look at the jacket design of some recent publications, with Marie sharing exclusive author and illustrator insight into these covers and the process of book jacket design. The children will then design a book cover for a novel of their choice. With particular emphasis on how their cover relates to plot and themes, they’ll then write a short reflective piece about their design. If preferred, younger children can write a book blurb or short synopsis instead.
KS3 + Dude, what’s the problem?
Character, conflict and plot – a crime themed workshop.
A fun and interactive crime themed creative writing workshop that explores the links between plot and character and the essential conflict that is at the heart of any compelling narrative. The workshop includes a brief overview of some key components of story, including voice, dialogue, setting and editing. Depending on the interests of the group, the session can be adapted to place greater emphasis on any of these elements including a focus on descriptive writing in line with GCSE requirements.
– let’s chat about what you’d like from the session.
DetailsPreferred age range:
Princess BMX sessions are ideal for children 7 - 11 years old.
I also offer a variety of events for young people KS3 to KS5 and adults at all stages of their writing careers.
Maximum number in any one session:
Assembly works best up to around 300 but happy to accommodate more if facilities allow and you can supply a roaming microphone.
Workshops, ideally a maximum of 30 – one class.
No of sessions per day:
Four sessions of up to one hour long. Plus book signing.
A typical day would include, one assembly style presentation, and three workshop style sessions. I am though happy to discuss your individual requirements.
Talks - 45 minute assembly style presentation, followed by Q and A (up to one hour in total). This would usually be followed by book signing though this could take place at any stage of the day.
Workshops 45 minutes to one hour depending on the age of the group and school timetable.
Skype – 45 minutes.
Areas prepared to travel to:
I’ll travel anywhere if overnight accommodation is provided and expenses are met.
I prefer train but happy to use the car where necessary or for local visits. When driving, I charge 40p per mile.
Please email us for details
Hold PLI (public liability insurance):
Just when I thought she’d shown us everything, this year Marie took to the MCBF performance space at the Bigger Book Bash and engaged children in stories of Princess BMX, complete with party games, flying tea bags, bouncing eyeballs and unicorn hobby horses. Completely bonkers but a consummate professional, not a bad mix in my book.
Kaye Tew Director of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival
Marie is such an outstanding writer and practitioner who is passionate about sharing her creativity with pupils of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, including those who have EAL and SEN. Feedback from teachers and pupils has been overwhelmingly positive and is a testimony to Marie’s ability to engage and inspire the next generation of creative writers.
Claudia Conerney, Schools Liaison Coordinator, MMU.
It was the ideal balance of learning activities and confidence building. The pupils felt that spending the morning with you had been a ‘treat’. It was a welcome change from the usual classroom setting and helped the disadvantaged cohort develop their literacy skills. To the pupils, it felt like special treatment, in the most positive sense.
Jane Hesketh, Audenshaw School
Thank you, Marie. Your readings and presentations were truly inspirational. Our children listened with real interest and were heard talking about your message about expectations in the playground!
Helen Tantouri, Head Teacher - Valewood Primary
Loved by BookTrust and recommended by the Gender Collective as one of the ‘absolute best books out there for Smashing Stereotypes’, Princess BMX is not only fun but offers a range of educational opportunities – see the Reading Guide for further information. Couple this with my extensive experience of school visits, delivering writing workshops and participating in other book related activities and you are assured a quality event that will engage and inspire your pupils. I’m happy for schools to take lots of photographs and the odd video clip, but I would ask them to refrain from recording the full event. It is a condition of my insurance that a teacher is present during events and workshops.