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I love talking to audiences of all ages and sizes, and take a very flexible approach to school visits and other events for adults, teenagers and children. You can hear and watch me talking about my books here and on Youtube.
School events on offer for 2019 and beyond include:
1. What’s the point of historical fiction?
Creative approaches to history are fast gaining ground in universities, and have never been so popular with the general public, but what exactly can novelists offer historians? Illustrated talk/discussion based mainly on my adult fiction debut, Mr Peacock’s Possessions, with emphasis on relevance, women’s history and hidden histories – KS4, KS5 and adult.
‘A mesmerising portrait of a family unravelling’ (The Times) set on a remote volcanic island in nineteenth-century Oceania, Mr Peacock’s Possessions explores a number of themes with huge contemporary resonance: migration, slavery, toxic masculinity, and the rights of women and indigenous peoples. Possible discussion topics range from cultural appropriation and colonisation to environmental protection and marine ecology. Events and ideas are brought to life with wonderful visual research material: archive photographs connected with the remarkable family story which inspired the book, and images from the dramatic scientific research expedition to the Kermadecs which I undertook with the New Zealand Navy at the final stages of writing.
2. KS5 academic writing skills:
Memorable and absorbing interactive workshops suitable for any student studying an essay-based subject or embarking on an EPQ or dissertation. Topics include ‘the big idea’, writing paragraphs with impact, and effective editing.
As a former Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art, I have extensive experience of working with students making the transition from ‘A’ levels to undergraduate work and beyond.
3. KS4 academic writing skills:
Designed to support fluency in writing and enthusiasm for reading, these workshops use insights from creative writing to enhance confidence in academic writing.
4. A career in writing:
Short illustrated talk and Q & A for KS5, 4 or 3 on the range of possibilities offered by writing as a profession, using my own experience of radio, journalism, copywriting, academia and adult non-fiction as well as fiction for children, teenagers and adults.
You can also book illustrated, interactive talks for KS3 and KS4 on any or all of my YA books. These are ideal for supporting literacy across the curriculum, and can include a related creative writing workshop that makes use of primary sources: eg poetry inspired by the bombing of Guernica. Events can be delivered with a focus on English, History, Spanish or French.
As well as inspiring students to write historical fiction themselves, and encouraging them to see the history all around them, That Burning Summer events offer excellent support for KS3 work on the WW2 Home Front and GCSE History courses covering Britain at War (1939-45) Talks can also be adapted to integrate history and literacy in Year 6 work on the WW2 Home Front. A World Between Us supports Spanish Civil War units in Highers and AS level history, but also gives invaluable background to the build up to WW2. Liberty’s Fire works particularly well for Year 12 historians who have studied the French Revolution, providing an overview of upheavals in France in the 19th Century, culminating in the Franco-Prussian War, the Siege of Paris, and Paris Commune. All my areas of expertise are great topics for sixth-form enrichment, extra-curricular talks and EPQs. I use vivid primary sources of all kinds, always include readings from the novels and plenty of discussion, and my books are an excellent demonstration of how the resources lurking in archives, libraries and museums can be brought to life.
I also offer creative writing workshops for young people and adults and take part in panel discussions.
Download and print full YA event details here: Lydia Syson School Visit Information