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School Visits & Workshops

To see examples of writing projects & artwork inspired by one of my Author Visits, click here & here

Chatting to pupils about writing at Hillhead High, Glasgow

To book a school (Primary or Secondary), library or festival appearance contact william_hussey@hotmail.com

For over 4 years I have been going around the country talking to book groups and libraries, schools and community groups involved with young people.

My foremost aim as a writer is to get kids reading and excited about writing their own stories. To this end, I have created 4 tailor-made, interactive events focused on writing, reading and history (for teacher testimonials see below).

Talking books & writing at Mossbourne Academy

EVENT 1: THE ‘WHAT IF…?’ WRITING WORKSHOP (suitable for Primary & Secondary)

This exciting workshop takes children on an interactive journey through the writing process. With a few tips of the trade, pupils come up with their own idea for a story, which we then develop into a narrative plot driven by a strong main character. In groups, we discuss how to break the tyranny of the blank page, how to use evocative description and how to build a plot. At the end of a PowerPoint presentation and a batch of fun exercises, the class will have collaborated on a plan for a full story, and should be ready to start writing!

Writing projects inspired by one of my author visits

EVENT 2: THE GOTHIC MASTERCLASS

A fun and educational exploration of the Gothic genre, from its origins and its place in literature to core texts and the great writers. After an overview of the genre, complete with thrilling PowerPoint presentation and a reading from my own gothic novel Haunted, pupils will participate in the Dracula vs Van Helsing Quiz. With appropriate props and costume, children will be selected from the audience to battle it out, answering entertaining questions about the presentation, thereby reinforcing the lessons of the event.

After a Gothic Masterclass at the John Warner School

After a Gothic Masterclass at the John Warner School

This event is suitable for all students studying English, and has been found to be particularly useful for those in Years 7, 8 and 9 who might be studying elements of Gothic literature (6th formers studying Gothic literature can also be catered for). Aimed at assembly-size audiences, this event includes a Q&A session.

EVENT 3: THE WITCHFINDER EXPERIENCE

A 17th Century Witch Trial recreated at Highgate School

A 17th Century Witch Trial recreated at Highgate School

Designed for assembly-size audiences, this Horrible Histories-style event includes a memorable reading from the Witchfinder books and an introduction to the life of a writer. We then move on to a fully interactive recreation of a 17th Century Witch Trial in which students play major roles. Funny and informative, the session provides a great introduction to Civil War history and, in the final moments, draws parallels with the modern issue of bullying. It also provides rich material for English and creative writing classes. The session concludes with a Q&A.

EVENT 4: AN EVENING OF GHOST STORIES

Lostocj Hall

Poster designed by Lostock Hall Academy – click for larger view

Open to all years, this after-school event has been designed in collaboration with several teachers to achieve the important goal of involving parents more in school life. Based on a flexible format, ‘An Evening of Ghost Stories’ includes three dramatic readings from classic tales, as well as stories from my own pen. This exciting family event helps to bring parents into school on an informal basis. It then provides a rare face-to-face opportunity for staff to inform parents of other exciting events in the school year, to run charity raffles, to show off pupils’ work (including students’ own dramatic readings and drama projects), and to provide a relaxed environment in which parents, teachers and pupils can interact. (NB suitable for Years 7 and over). To see a report from ‘An Evening of Ghost Stories’ event and the community atmosphere it generates, click here.

* Any combination of these events can be booked. For example, a day of events could consist of a Witchfinder Experience or The Gothic Masterclass presented to a whole year group followed by 2 ‘What If…?’ workshops for individual classes. An Evening of Ghost Stories can also be added to the end of the day for a small additional charge. The choice is yours!

* Once an event is booked, Oxford University Press will be happy to send out promotional posters for your libraries/ classrooms etc.

More artwork & writing pieces inspired by an author visit (click to enlarge)

TESTIMONIALS:

‘A hush descended on the audience within seconds of William’s opening words, and by the time he began reading a passage from one of his novels, there was not a sound to be heard in the College Chapel. I have never seen so many 11 & 12 year olds quite so engaged before, and the clichéd phrase that ‘they were on the edge of their seats’ could not be more apt. The Witchfinder Event sparked a sequence of intelligent and thoughtful questions from the students, all of which William was able to answer in a way that provided useful insights to the writer’s craft and his own background.  We will certainly be booking him again next year; the students are already anticipating the possibility of attending William’s creative writing workshop!’ Nik Waight, St George’s College, Surrey


‘It takes a great deal to hold 200 secondary students spellbound. This William Hussey did last Thursday at Haven High. His reading had many students’ mouths agape! The re-enactment of the Witch Trial was informative and entertaining. A thoroughly enjoyable and engaging afternoon for all, it certainly gave me, as a Drama teacher, useful stimuli for future lessons.’
Terry Patman, Haven High Technology College, Boston

I wanted to thank you so much for the event you held at our school. It was much appreciated by the students and me. Year 7 and I are reading the first book and having amazing conversations about it. It is so refreshing to have these types of interactions in the lunch queue and around the school! You have inspired a new generation of authors.’ Lesley Baker, Assistant Head Teacher, Rokeby School

‘The events to coincide with the launch of the second book in the Witchfinder series were well prepared and flawlessly “executed”. It was a pleasure to see such enthused and engaged pupils. William Hussey comes highly recommended!’ John Newman, Newham Bookshop

‘A great mixture of emotive reading and interactive drama for the students to enjoy and they were all left with an enthusiasm for creative writing. It has been a long time since I have seen a visiting author capture the students’ imaginations so thoroughly.’ Anne Coleman, North Kesteven School

‘Our main event during our Annual Reading Week was a visit from ‘Witchfinder’ author William Hussey. The lights were dimmed, adding a mysterious atmosphere, before the Witch Trial began – the audience were gripped! We have never seen Year 7 so quiet! Hands shot up during the question and answer session. We have had endless requests for a return visit from the students, and we are hoping to get William to come back to spend a day doing creative writing workshops with us.’ Vicki Geeson, Librarian, The Priory Ruskin Academy.

Quotes from children at St George’s College, Surrey:

‘When William Hussey presented his books to our school, I was thoroughly amazed. I enjoyed the way he performed his work and when he read out one of his books it just glued you to the spot.’ Alex House

‘It was engrossing. I was completely absorbed in the talk. Honestly, I was concentrating so much I had to order one of his books straight after.’ Min Kyu Park

‘It really inspired me to hear such great writing tips from a real writer. When he was reading a really exciting part of his story, his vocabulary was excellent. I think that both of his books have a really good plot and it lead to lots of interesting questions and answers after the presentation.’ James Guy

‘I think that William’s presentation was very exciting and enthusiastic, full of enjoyable, interesting facts. William very clearly told us about the olden days and how gruesome some of the things they did were. Overall it was a very fun presentation that I enjoyed.’ Alex Shellard

Quotes from children at Linton Village College, Cambridge:

‘I loved the reading as it was exciting. The witch trial was brilliant.’ Erik, Year 7

‘William Hussey was very enthusiastic and gave great advice about how to become an author. The reading was exciting and made me want to buy the book. I have the first two Witchfinder books now and can’t wait to read them. Next week is half-term, so I will be kept busy!’ Noah, Year 7

‘The reading was interesting and scary at the same time! William Hussey read it really well and did not even have to read from the book. He had memorised it!’ Farhan, Year 7

‘I liked everything about the reading. William Hussey has a great imagination and my friends and I are reading ‘Dawn of the Demontide’.’ Jamiul, Year 7

‘An inspirational experience for our Year 7 students. Both staff and students were hanging on William’s every word… It’s a testament to William’s presentation that the students inundated him with questions after the talk, and were fervent to obtain his book, autograph and a group picture. I would definitely recommend other schools to take up this fantastic opportunity.’ Lucy Smith, Learning Resource Administrator, Carre’s Grammar School

Quotes from children at Carre’s Grammar School:

‘The talk was quite simply, brilliant. The reading from the ‘Witchfinder’ book was very exciting and the expression he put into it made it even more enjoyable. I also liked the role play he got some students to do, which was entertaining. All round, the talk was (in my words) awesome!’ Joshua, age 12

‘I really enjoyed the visit by William Hussey. I found his talk interesting and I learnt a lot about witches. The extract from his book sounded excellent and I am intrigued to know what happens next!’ Fraser, age 11

‘We were very impressed by William Hussey. His presentation was highly professional and really engaged our Year 8 pupils from all abilities as well as being extremely interactive.’ Jane Gardiner, Linton Village College

‘An interesting and well-organised session. The interactive elements of the talk were particularly memorable and informative to the students. Many were inspired by the event.’ Emma Clay, English Department, Skegness Grammar School

‘While William read a section from his book the audience sat in rapt silence. The mock trial event was very successful. The students thoroughly enjoyed it as could be seen through the question and answer session at the end. I recommend other schools take this opportunity…’

Jessica Gale, Head of School, Haven High Technology College, Boston

‘Many thanks from the students and staff who were able to attend William Hussey’s presentation. We were all informed and entertained by the reading and re-creation of the ‘witch trial’. The volunteers didn’t know what they had let themselves in for, but they were treated gently and were great sports! The event went very well.’

Bill Kerr, School Librarian, St Andrew’s & St Bride’s High School, East Kilbride

OTHER INFORMATION

My fee for events is based on a standard rate but I will require travel costs if you are a significant distance from my home in Lincolnshire. If it is not feasible for me to get to the event and home in a single day, I may require an accommodation fee. I usually do three hour-long sessions in a single day but this can be negotiated – a more comprehensive guide to an author visit will be sent out to any interested parties.