Teachers & librarians: would you like me to talk to your students?
I offer both IN-PERSON SCHOOL EVENTS and VIRTUAL VISITS.
For school visit bookings, please contact Authors Aloud UK.
What to expect from my IN-PERSON EVENTS...
When it comes to IN-PERSON SCHOOL EVENTS, I'm pretty flexible. During a day's visit, I'm happy to do a pick-and-mix of AUTHOR TALKS and WORKSHOPS to suit your needs.
Here's what my main AUTHOR TALK and WORKSHOPS look like...
• AUTHOR TALK
(One hour, suitable for any size group)
Chatty, informative presentation, outlining the random places I get my inspiration from, which in turn can open students’ eyes to their OWN potential when it comes to creative writing, as well as stimulating an interest in reading for pleasure. In addition to this, I touch on my initial difficulties with reading as a child, which can strike a chord with reluctant/struggling readers. For older students, I also outline the realities of being an author, busting some common myths about what the job is all about!
The AUTHOR TALK lasts for around three-quarters of an hour, leaving time for a Q&A session with the students at the end.
(One hour, suitable for class-sized groups, ie up to 30)
– WORKSHOP 1: ‘BECOME YOUR OWN EDITOR’ – simple, easy-to-remember pointers to help children improve/edit their own writing.
– WORKSHOP 2: ‘HOW TO WRITE SUSPENSE’ – step-by-step tips to get edge and drama into a scene.
• BOOK SIGNINGS
Having a personally signed book from a visiting author can mean a lot to a student, and result in a real buzz around reading. So during a visit – either directly after a TALK, or at some convenient point during the day – ideally a short slot should be scheduled for a book signing. (It's also a good opportunity for those students too shy to ask a question in front of a large group to come chat!)
Schools or libraries can either arrange for a local bookshop to come in with a selection of my books to sell, OR Authors Aloud UK can advise on alternative ways to order books.
Who do I talk to?
• AT PRIMARY SCHOOL LEVEL: Children aged 8-11 for my talk and workshops. As an example, I often I do one hour-long main author talk for Yrs 5&6 plus a slightly shorter main author talk for Yrs 3&4.
• AT SECONDARY SCHOOL LEVEL: Students aged 11-13.
Where do I go?
• I live in north London, so it’s relatively easy for me to travel to, well, lots of destinations that are easily reached by train within the space of a day.
• For anywhere further afield, accommodation might be needed. (It can be worthwhile getting together with other schools/libraries in this instance, to share costs.)
Get in touch!
• For more details and booking, please contact Authors Aloud UK.
What to expect from my VIRTUAL VISITS...
60-MINUTE ‘MEET THE AUTHOR’ SESSION:
- Similar to the MAIN TALK outlined above in my in-person visits,delivered from my writing office (pictured below).
- Short reading
- Q&As with the students (approx. 15 mins).
CHANCE FOR STUDENTS TO BUY SIGNED BOOKS
My local indie bookshop (Pickled Pepper Books) will send schools info about how students can buy a personally signed book, which can be delivered anywhere in the country.
(If schools want to support their own, local bookshop, I'm happy to arrange to send personally signed bookplates to that shop.)
Events for 2022...
• Monday 7th: Grange Park School, Enfield
• Monday 21st: St Albans Boys School, St Albans
• Monday 28th: Chatsworth School, Hounslow
• Tuesday 1st: St Edmund's School, Ware
• Thursday 3rd: Elton High School, Nottingham
• Thursday 3rd: Townley Grammar School, Bexleyheath
• Friday 4th: Canons High School, Edgware
• Friday 18th: Downe House School, Thatcham
• Tuesday 22nd: Chesterfield School, Enfield
• Tuesday 29th: The British School of Vilnius, Lithuania
• Wednesday 30th: Coleridge School, Crouch End
• Wednesday 26th: Bayford School, Hertfordshire
• Thursday 27th: Burleigh School, Hertfordshire
• Thursday 27th: Duncombe School, Hertfordshire
• Thursday 5th: Appledore Book Festival Schools Week, Devon
• TBC: Bishop Hatfield Girls School, Hertfordshire
Teacher & librarian testimonials...
"Thank you so much for your back-to-back virtual talks! Amazing – your warmth, energy and enthusiasm really shone through..."
Dr Rebecca Jones, Head of Library and Learning Enrichment, Malvern St James School, Worcestershire
"We were so fortunate to be the recipient of a virtual author visit from the charismatic Karen McCombie in celebration of our World Book Day event. Karen’s presentation to the girls was engaging, inspiring and entertaining and many of the girls commented on how much they enjoyed listening to her anecdotes and, furthermore, how her presentation has not only encouraged them to read but also to write. On behalf of all of the girls at Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School, thank you, Karen, for your sage words of advice and your warmth, wit and wealth of advice."
Susie Leech, Sacred Heart of Mary School, Upminster
"A huge thank you for your wonderful virtual talk. I have received so many comments from staff, girls and parents about how brilliant you were. You were inspirational but in a very human, genuine and attainable way. I am actually in awe of your ability to turn life experiences into books – a true talent."
Jenny Hill, Learning Resources Manager, Downe House School, Berkshire
"Fantastic day with Karen. The children were very inspired by her Author Talks and the workshop had a real buzz about it. I have had a constant flood of children asking to borrow her books from the library... so lovely to see so much renewed enthusiasm for reading. Thanks so much, Karen!"
Claire Bavister, Librarian, Woodland Middle School Academy, Flitwick, Bedfordshire
"Karen is full of enthusiasm for getting children reading and is highly engaging. During her sessions at the school, she has read excerpts from her (and other authors') books, run very well received writing workshops, held book-breaks to encourage small groups of children to consider a variety of books to read and offered great support through whole-school assemblies. She has been a beacon of support for reading for pleasure, helping to champion the school's initiatives and suggesting more of her own. The children are always enthusiastic when she visits and describe her as 'fun', 'friendly' and 'encouraging'."
Tanya Efthymiou, Librarian, Chestnuts Primary School, London
"The girls loved Karen’s visit! She was so popular, I had so many positive comments afterwards and the books flew off the shelves! Karen was an engaging and enthusiastic speaker – the girls really warmed to her sense of fun and passion. Would highly recommend."
Eleanor Parker, Librarian, St James Senior Girls' School, London
“Karen's books are very popular at our school – she has a big fan-base amongst our students! The Year 7 girls thought Karen was warm, funny and inspirational. After her talk, the McC shelf of the library was bare, as ALL her books had been borrowed! Thank you, Karen, for coming, and we hope to see you next year at Loreto!”
Ramona Sandbrook, Librarian, Loreto College, St Albans
“Since your visit, it’s been amazing to have the boys and girls stopping me in the corridors to talk about your visit or about the work they've done or the books they're reading, usually independent of adult interference – it really tugs at my heart-strings. A kind of miracle has occurred and you played a major role in making it happen. May you continue to do that forever!”
Karima Davis, Secretary, Friends Of Calverton Primary School, Newham, South London
“The Year 3/4s of Upminster Juniors thoroughly enjoyed your talk and their teachers remarked on your ability to connect with the children. And here at the library we’ve been so inspired by your talk that we’re developing a short story competition - based on your book - as part of our 75th anniversary celebrations.”
Marian Marston, Upminster Library, Essex
“Just e-mailing to say a HUGE thanks for your visit. We were delighted today when one of our reluctant Year 8 readers told us she had read three of your books since then! She is now converted to Karen McCombie novels, and reading her way through the rest!”
Lesley, Librarian, Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School, Brentwood
“Karen provided a fascinating insight into how authors get ideas, which the children found highly entertaining. The children left the talk inspired, amused and with the tools to become budding authors themselves.”
Penny Casey, Librarian, Highgate Junior School
“Karen McCombie brought her world of writing alive to the Year 7 and 8 girls during her author visits as part of the Swindon Youth Festival of Literature. The girls immediately connected with her warm and humorous presentation. Her visit had such an impact that the girls have inundated their school libraries with requests for her books. Success!”
Fiona Hardcastle, Learning Centre Manager and Festival Co-ordinator, Dorcan Technology College