UK and International School Specialists
Working with over 5000 schools in the UK
Over 800 International Schools in more than 65 countries.

All About Dr Michael Leach

Neal Zetter

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Dr Michael Leach has spent his whole working life chasing animals around the world – gorillas in central Africa, polar bears in the Arctic, sharks circling the Galapagos and lions in Africa. Of course he doesn’t just chase animals, he writes about them and so far has 26 books which have been translated into 14 languages.

Michael has also worked extensively in television, as wildlife cameraman on more than 100 TV documentaries for both the BBC and ITV.

Michael’s Able Writers’ Days

Into the Wild – presented by Dr. Michael Leach and Dr. Meriel Lland

Creative non-fiction workshops in which you get to explore extreme environments and meet the animals who live within them!

Learn how to observe wildlife at the poles, on the savannah or in the rainforest: how do we study polar bears, elephants, orangutans or lions? What exactly do scientists and wildlife explorers need to do to record and to share their experiences? Help create a wildlife fact-file and an explorer’s blog, and learn to think like a gorilla! Using a range of visual and sensory stimuli, the workshops aim to build confidence in observation, imagination and expression, developing writing skills and creativities.

Workshops mix group and individual writing activities. They are optimized for small group working but can be tailored to different requirements by prior arrangement.

A typical day for Years 5 and 6 would offer four sessions of approximately 60- 70 minutes – and might include:

Session 1 – Life as a wildlife explorer.

Getting to know your target.

Learning to ask questions.

Science and research.

Writing burst:

Create a fact-file.

Session 2 – Time and Place.

Getting to know the habitat and climate.

What’s it like to spend time in a rainforest or on the ice? Who lives here?

What do we see, hear, smell or touch?

Writing burst:

Postcard home/blog post

Session 3 – Walk like a…; talk like a…

Wildlife explorers need to be able to think like their target animal. We use scientific observation AND our imaginations to get close to our targets. How does a gorilla stay close to her family in the forest? How does a young elephant communicate with his mother? How does a snake sense prey? We explore how key animals use their senses to experience the world.

Writing burst:

In someone else’s skin.

Session 4 – Feedback session.

Golden tips for exciting and effective non-fiction writing. Commendation: The most atmospheric and effective work from the writing bursts – what do we learn from them? Q&A on non-fiction writing, book sales, signing, photographs and farewells.

If you are interested in an Able Writers’ Day or a Literacy Workshop at or near your school, please contact Keeley Ferguson at Authors Abroad –