Swindon school workshop run by author Dave Cousins

By Jessica Durston - 13 July 2021


Mountford Manor Primary school pupils took part in the author's writing workshop.

Dave Cousins teamed up with the National Literacy Trust and the Author's Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) in order to run a crime and mystery writing workshop for primary students. 

The author and illustrator of '15 Days Without A Head' and 'Charlie Merrick’s Misfits' gave Year 5 students access to his online workshop which aimed to help them develop and write a crime and mystery story.

He said: “I really enjoy sharing tips to help young people get creative and write their own stories. I’ve always been a huge fun of crime and mystery books so was delighted to team up with the National Literacy Trust and ALCS to create this workshop. I certainly had a lot of fun creating it and I hope that Year 5 at Mountford Manor Primary had fun taking part! I can’t wait to read their stories!”

Dave is a lifelong fan of crime and mystery stories, and his digital workshop is being run in support of the Ruth Rendell Award. The Award was launched in 2016 by the National Literacy Trust and ALCS in honour of crime writer Ruth Rendell, and is given to the author or writer who is deemed to have made the biggest difference to literacy in the UK in the past year. The winner for 2020 was poet and hip hop artist Karl Nova.

In the workshop Dave shared his journey to becoming a writer from his dreams of walking on the moon to drawing comics in his bedroom, and activities included a quiz, writing, illustrating, character development and even some code breaking, all building up to challenging pupils to go and write their own crime and mystery story. Dave also read part of his latest novel, 'A Robot Ate My Grandma' and each pupil received a copy to keep.

The class have also been offered a follow-up session where Dave will answer questions and offer feedback on the work they create.

Dave’s crime and mystery workshop is available to a school in each of the National Literacy Trust’s Hub areas across the country. His visit to Mountford Manor Primary was supported by Swindon Stories, a campaign run in partnership with Swindon Borough Council and WHSmith. The campaign promises to deliver a range of programmes and activities to equip children and young people in the town with the literacy skills they need to succeed in life.

Lee Edmonds, Principal of Mountford Manor Primary School, said: “Thank you for including Mountford Manor in the Dave Cousins author workshop. The children who participated from the school had a great time listening in and really appreciated receiving the book as part of the session.

After the event, the children were really enthused and shared what they did with their younger peers in our weekly celebration assembly.”

For more information on the Ruth Rendell Award visit: literacytrust.org/ruth-rendell-award

For more information about Swindon Stories, visit: literacytrust.org.uk/communities/swindon/

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