Type of Artist:
Assembly style talk and workshops.
Festival talks, interviews, panel events, readings and book signings.
Author Talk, reading and Q&A (45-60 minutes). Key themes: Empathy, learning disability, grief and creative writing
Mel will talk about her book/s, the inspiration behind them and her writing journey to publication and after. She is happy to answer any questions, no matter how difficult the subject, as her stories have some sensitive topics. This includes talking about anything about her brother who had severe learning disabilities.
Author Q and A (30 minutes)
Any questions tackled, as above.
Creative Writing Workshops: (45-60 minutes)
Workshop 1: Bringing Your Characters to Life
Creating memorable characters and understanding their importance in storytelling. A fun, interactive workshop where the students create their own character, building them up through a series of writing exercises.
Workshop 2: The Importance of Empathy (45-60 minutes)
Making a connection with a viewpoint and feelings that are not your own. Through a series of thought provoking exercises the students start to understand why empathy is so important, not just to create a kinder more caring world, but to see how it will shape their futures in every area of their lives.
Workshop 3: Would I Lie to You?
This workshop shows students how writing stories can be fun and showing them how ideas can spring from playing games. (Students write down three strange facts about themselves, two of which have to be a lie…)
DetailsPreferred age range:
Events suitable for: Key Stages 3-4 (Year 9+) Rosie Loves Jack
Events suitable for: Key Stages 3-4 (Year 8+) What the World Doesn’t See
Maximum number in any one session:
Up to 30 for a workshop, though I like to split them into smaller groups to work, within that number.
No of sessions per day:
Maximum 3 – one in the morning and two in the afternoon – or two in the morning and one in the afternoon.
45-60 minutes for a workshop, with time for signing afterwards
45-60 minutes for a talk plus time for questions and signing afterwards
Areas prepared to travel to:
I am happy to travel anywhere if overnight expenses are met.
Public transport. I prefer to travel by train, so I can work.
Please email us for details
Hold PLI (public liability insurance):
I have PLI with the SOA that covers me for up to ten million pounds.
Rosie Loves Jack – my debut novel
What the World Doesn’t See
“Poignant, tender, and utterly absorbing, I defy you not to root for Jake and Maudie.”
Lisa Williamson, author of The Art of Being Normal
“A brave and tender book about loss, family bonds and not judging on first appearance.”
Joseph Elliott, author of The Good Hawk
“An important and beautiful story about the tight bond between two siblings, and looking beyond a person's disabilities.”
Susin Nielsen, author of We Are All Made of Molecules
“An incredibly moving read, this beautifully told story explores grief, family and love in a powerful and impactful way.”
Penny Joelson, author of I Have No Secrets
“A powerful, emotional, and important book about how grief can both tear us apart and ultimately bring us together”
Finbar Hawkins, author of Witch
“This is a beautiful YA novel by @DarbonMel, full of empathy and warmth, I don’t want it to end.”
Lucas Maxwell UKSLA Librarian of the Year
Mel Darbon introduced the audience of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019 to her stunning, timely story told from a unique perspective and explained it’s important to give a voice to young people who may not be heard. Mel’s fully interactive event has been specially created to be suitable for those of all abilities and was a huge success. ‘Rosie loves Jack’ is a beautiful, sensitively written and eye-opening book.
Ola Wojtkiewicz Edinburgh Book Festival Creative Learning manager
Mel has written a wonderful novel to engage young adult and adult readers alike. It is a story that will engage, teach, touch every reader. Rosie is a beautiful character with heart, strength, depth and who also has a lot to learn about the world, and you take that journey with her from word one.
Mel visited Bath Central Library as part of our World Book night celebrations, and enthusiastically signed 160 books, greeted guests and made everyone who attended feel welcome. We had an intimate group of young adults who could ask questions, received honest answers and our discussion could have gone on for hours. Mel has also come incognito to other events to support fellow authors and helped be crafty pair of hands with children during our Summer Reading Challenge activities, and she was wonderfully kind, compassionate and engaged with both children and parents.
Mel’s passion for libraries, literacy and sharing stories about voices not traditionally heard is a breath of fresh air and brings not only her stories to life with lived experience, but carries her audience with her and makes them part of her story and allows empathy to be shared, taught and experienced. Mel is passionate, knowledgeable, honest and a delight to work with; she also happens to be a fantastic author and an honestly lovely person.
Louise Judge Development and Outreach Officer at Bath Library
Tuesday's session with Mel was a real success. The way in which she personalised her story fully engaged the students and the follow-up task was met with enthusiasm and hard work. I'd say that all students benefitted from the session.
Mr A Gunning Teacher at The Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School
Mel led creative writing workshops for groups of our student in 2019. She read from her book Rosie Loves Jack and created thought provoking and engaging workshops that all the students enjoyed immensely. Mel was completely professional throughout and it was a pleasure to have her at Dorothy Stringer.
Ms Morden School Librarian
It was great to have Mel in the classroom with us We have diverse needs and presentations at the hospital school and Mel’s responses were just right. The workshop offered a good balance between structure and flexibility and our young people loved it. Seeing a real writer, hearing about the creative process and having the opportunity to ask questions about all of this is just so valuable. We’d love to work with Mel again.
Paul Harris Key Teacher
Rosie loves Jack
Accolades for Rosie Loves Jack: 1. Shortlisted for the 2019 THE BRANFORD BOASE AWARD @BranfordBoase 2. Winner of the 2019 LEEDS BOOK AWARD in the 14-16 category 3. A WORLD BOOK NIGHT choice for 2019 @WorldBookNight 4. EmpathyLabUK choice for #ReadforEmpathy collection 2019 5. A YA BOOK OF THE YEAR in the Sunday Times Culture Section 6. A BOOK OF THE YEAR for Book Trust 7. A BOOK OF THE YEAR for The Reading Zone 8. Shortlisted for the CrimeFest Award for YA 2019 9. Longlisted for the Teen School Book Awards 2020 ( Shortlist announced in September) 10. Longlisted for The Bristol Teen Book Award 2019
Accolades: What the World Doesn’t See:
1. Selected as a World Book Day pick by UCP
2. Featured as YA Author of the Month on ReadingZone:
3. Featured in Book Trust and Teen Librarian publications