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Schools Events

Emma Craigie – Strode College

Local author Emma Craigie visited Strode College and spoke with the students on the History, Heritage and Archaeology course and discussed issues about historical fiction. The session was fascinating and the students were very well prepared.

Emma also spent time with English students in the library and finally spoke to A level Media and Broadcast students and was then interviewed by one of them.  https://soundcloud.com/freqcast/freq-fm-show


‘We had a talk from Emma Craigie about the industry of historical literature. I have never read a "historical novel”, but I certainly feel I must now after this very interesting discussion with an author of several…’

‘We were very lucky to have had novelist Emma Craigie deliver us a talk on her accomplishments. I found her story very inspiring particularly as she didn’t get into publishing until her forties. Story writing has always been an interest to me and I used to write a lot as a teenager. Since adulthood I have not engaged in it for a while, most writing has been purely academic, but now I think I will take up a creative writing class and engage that part of me once again. The talk has also given me more ideas for a possible career in historical writing.’


Ashcott Prinary SchoolPiers Torday photo

Piers Torday visited Ashcott Primary School and spoke to the children about his development as an author and his writing for children.

He is an inspirational speaker and will be attending the Wells Festival of Literature in October 2016 to speak to local primary schools at the Town Hall Event in October.

Alongside his writing Piers has also been trained as a Reading Helper by the brilliant Beanstalk and is very privileged to be working with them in North London helping challenged young readers enjoy children's books the way he once did.

Reading Motivator: Joffre White

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Local author Joffre White visits Wookey and West Pennard Primary Schools. He ran Reading Motivator sessions using storytelling, anecdotes and factual information laced with humour as he encouraged pupils realise how knowledge is power, how their imagination is special and how their incredible brains help them to read and learn.

Year 5 and 6 thoroughly enjoyed his dynamic Creative Writing sessions which inspired pupils to write stories. He encouraged them to free the words and ideas in their heads and turn them into the written word. Miss Hammerton said 'The results were incredible; from reluctant writers to confident writers pushing their own boundaries'.

Some pupils also enjoyed lunch with the author. The visit was entirely funded by Wells Festival of Literature.

Butleigh School

Butleigh School photo

Children from Butleigh, Baltonsborough, Meare and Ashcott Primary Schools met to discuss the latest story their school Book Clubs have been reading – After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross. The books have been funded by Wells Festival of Literature and Mrs Ann Louise McKaig from the Festival came to join in the discussion.

It’s very topical, since it’s about refugees – and imagining what it would be like to be British people escaping persecution. Five banks have failed, food prices are rocketing and no-one has money to pay for it. Armed robbers target anyone who has food, and post their details on the internet. Matt’s family, who grow their own food, have to escape and, along with many other people, try to get through the Channel Tunnel to the continent.

As one pupil said, “I’m happy it’s not happening to us in reality”. Mrs Crowe, Year 5/6 teacher at Butleigh, who led the session, said “Reading books like this is a safe way of exploring a situation, without actually having to live it yourself ; the children enjoyed the book very much”.

St Dunstans School

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A group of Year 9 students from St Dunstan’s School, Glastonbury took part in a two day Drama workshop focusing on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing on the theme of healthy relationships. This workshop was run by experienced local drama practitioners, Laura Morgan and Maxine Rideout. It gave the students the opportunity to explore the dynamics between characters in the play and prepare scenes to perform to the whole year group as a stimulus for a wider discussion about relationships.

The Year 9 students were committed and active in their participation and by the end of the two days showed an impressive understanding of the moral dilemmas introduced in the play.

Macbeth at The Egg

The process of taking part in the rehearsals and performance of Macbeth as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival was very beneficial for all concerned, from the teacher workshop at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol which I attended to the workshop for student actors at The Egg at the Theatre Royal, Bath and the performance there itself. The Shakespeare Schools Festival project is run very professionally and the resources are excellent.

The students themselves found the whole experience very uplifting and helped develop their skills as performers particularly helping them develop approaches to ensemble acting and giving them experience of working in a professional space. It also helped them with their GCSEs in both Drama and English in terms of understanding Shakespeare's language and deconstructing a text.

Thanks so much again to all at the Wells Literature Festival for sponsoring us in this event.
(Catherine Rubbo. St. Dunstan's School, Glastonbury)


For 2014 we are expanding the range of literary activities on offer to local schools and are delighted to be including special schools in our programme for the first time. As well as continuing our programme of author visits, we are supporting projects which will actively engage young people in writing, theatre and poetry. Siobhan Goodwin is running a literacy project in primary schools in conjunction with Wells Remembers; we will be enabling two schools to participate in the Shakespeare Festival, which will culminate in performances by local students at The Egg in Bath, and we are putting on creative poetry sessions in schools.

English professor and broadcaster John Mullan will speak to local sixth forms and Nicola Davies, author of Whale Boy (shortlisted for the 2014 Blue Peter Awards), The Promise (Winner of the 2014 English Association Picture Book award for best fiction) and other stories about nature, the environment and animals, will be speaking at the Junior School Festival event, on Thursday October 16th, as well as working with two secondary schools.

We welcome enquiries from schools who would like to be involved in the Festival education programme and are very grateful to our sponsors who make this work possible.

'Spreading the love of words and the excitement of reading.' Every year, with the help of our sponsors, we fund events for young people of school age. Last year we worked with pupils from no less than 25 local schools. Authors Steve Voake, Jeremy de Quidt and Sarah Lean gave talks to older primary and secondary school pupils and Theatresaurus, the drama company run by Ros Johnson of the RSC, ran workshops on A Midsummer Night’s Dream in local primary schools.

Schools Events 2013


In 2013 Wells Festival of Literature has been able to support more educational events than ever before, bringing a diverse range of speakers, writers and storytellers into schools. We were also able to offer free places at a number of events in the main festival to science and politics students from Strode College, The Blue School and Wells Cathedral School.

In addition, the barrister and broadcaster Clive Andersongave a hilarious and fascinating talk about law and broadcasting to sixth formers from the Blue School and Wells Cathedral School.

The Shakespearian actor Ben Crystal ran inspirational Shakespeare workshops for GCSE students at St Dunstans and Whitstone Schools, launching his Springboard Shakespeare series.

photos courtesy of Maud Craigie

David Almond, the multi award winning author of Skellig, spent a day visiting students at St Dunstans, The Blue School and the Cathedral School. He spoke about how he became a writer and showed students his workbooks.

Local author Beth Webb spoke to 200 primary school pupils from Wells and surrounding villages and the story tellersMichael Loader and Martin Solomon have been to Stoberry, SS Joseph and Teresa, Horrington and St Cuthberts Schools, enchanting the children with traditional folk tales accompanied by music.

Our work in schools is something we hope to continue to expand. Please get in touch if you would like your school to be involved.

Schools & Film Events 2012

Sarah Lean, author of the wonderful book A Dog Called Homeless was the speaker at the annual primary schools event in the Town Hall in October 2012. Sarah Lean is a local person who attended Blue School. Wells. We had 220 children from our local schools, ages 10,11 and 12 and Waterstones sold all the books they brought with them. Sarah signed each one and promised to return specially to Waterstones at a later date to sign books for those children who were unable to buy one on the day. She also spent the morning at St. Josephs and St. Teresa's where she was a primary school pupil. The children were thrilled! http://www.sarahlean.co.uk/

Ros Johnson of Theatresaurus took her Shakespeare workshops into four local primary schools, and immersed the children in the experience of performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Ros lives in Wells and teaches for the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as running a number of very popular drama clubs.  Her school workshops were such a hit that she is now running workshops in several of the schools visited. http://theatresaurus.co.uk/

Steve Voake, the award winning author of The Dreamwalker’s Child and many other novels is visiting Wells Cathedral School to talk to students about creative writing.  Steve teaches on the successful Bath Spa University Creative Writing MA and was formally a head teacher in Midsomer Norton. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Voake

Jeremy de Quidt spoke to hundreds of Y9s at Wells Blue School and St Dunstan’s in Glastonbury about his latest book, The Feathered Man.  Jeremy lives in Wells and like Steve is an experienced teacher and brilliant performer.http://www.davidficklingbooks.co.uk/davidficklingbooks_author.asp?page=Jeremy%20de%20Quidt&authorid=57408

What the Press had to say

Press cuttings

What does the Festival do?
The aim of the Festival is to promote books and the love of reading in the community and particularly in schools...
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