I’ve done readings in school before; but today I took a big leap into the world of educational workshops. I was asked by the good people at Howsham Mill if I’d help run a creative writing workshop for children in year 6 & 7 from the small schools around York, and I said yes because I’ve really enjoyed sharing my work with children in the past.

I started off reading them a bit of Alfie Slider. We talked about what Sci Fi was as a genre, and how you could tell a story was Sci Fi rather than fantasy. We translated some well known stories from their original genre into Sci Fi; so Harry Potter received a telepathic message offering him a place at Space School where he learned to fly a space ship and battled an alien!

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After that I talked to the group about how Science Fiction stories can be used to highlight social issues. I did a presentation with examples, talking about TV shows and films the children knew about (and some they didn’t) like Star Wars, Wall-E, Doctor Who and more. Then I set them the challenge of creating their own alien race, specially designed to highlight a social issue. They certainly rose to that challenge; it was a real pleasure to walk around the groups and talk the ideas through with them children.

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I had a great day, sharing things that I’m really passionate about in the most beautiful setting. If you ever get the chance to visit Howsham Mill, take it! It’s a really peaceful and interesting spot in the heart of Yorkshire.

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