All About Alan Durant
Alan has always loved reading but started becoming really interested in writing in his second year at secondary school. He worked for many years in children’s publishing as an editor and copywriter before becoming a full-time author in 2004. His first books were about teenage life and came from his own experiences and concerns. When he had children (he has three), he started to write to entertain them and their friends.
Alan has written 100 books and won a number of awards, including the Royal Mail Scottish Children’s Book Award. He writes lots of different styles of books and for a wide age-range – from teenage thrillers to picture books. He’s written spooky books, science-fiction, school stories, funny stories, horror, thrillers and football. He also writes poetry for children and adults.
His work was featured in the BBC series English Express, which won a Children’s Bafta Award. He also appeared in two programmes in the award-winning Let’s Write A Story series and his picture book Burger Boy has been broadcasted on CITV’s Bookaboo. He is a member of NAWE and The Society of Authors.
Alan’s School Visits
Alan works in primary and secondary schools throughout the UK and abroad. He is unusual in that he writes across the age-ranges and on all kinds of subjects from fairies to football, so he can work with children at any stage in their school life, from nursery to GCSE. His sessions are usually writing workshops or a mixture of a talk about writing with readings from his work, followed by questions and answers.
Workshops with various classes throughout the school
Alan begins the day with an assembly lasting 30 minutes to introduce himself and his work to the whole school. Following the presentation – Alan can do up to 4 workshops (or talks/performances) during the day. Writing workshops require at least an hour. For year 5 plus, up to an hour and a half. He is happy to work for a single day or a whole week or over a number of phased visits.
If Alan spends the day with just one group, the timetable for the day would be as follows:
9.30 – 10.15 Introduction to my work, being an author, writing process and the day, with questions
10.15 – 10.45 Writing game/exercise
10.45 – 11.00 Break
11.00 – 12.00 Discussion, preparation and start of story writing activity
12.00 – 1.00 Lunch
1.00 – 2.15 Writing and editing the stories
2.15 – 2.45 Sharing the stories
2.45 – 3.00 Plenary
3.00 Book sale and signing
Alan’s main focus is on writing from real life experiences and interests – whatever the genre explored – and he believes passionately in the importance of writing as self-expression. In recent years he has created jungle stories with reception children, garden poems with years 1 and 2, modern fairy-tales with a mixed age group, tales in different genres and lots more. He has developed a Jibber Jabber Storyteller writing exercise, based on the popular “chatterbox” or “fortune teller” origami device, that has a range of applications and has proved very successful. Over the past few years he has gained a particular reputation as a motivator of reluctant boy readers and writers – but his stories have plenty of elements that appeal to girls too. he believes that the most important thing with any writing project is that it should be fun and inspirational for everyone involved.
Alan in Action
Alan Durant at Bridge House School in Franschhoek, South Africa, performing his intereactive poem ‘Spring Cleaning’ taken from ‘What I did on my Holiday’.
Samples of Alan’s Poetry
Listen to Your Manager
Be first to the ball! Pass it!
Get it down and play!
Put it out! Boot it!
No, the other way!
Spread out! Take a man!
Come on, get stuck in!
Give it early! Keep it tight!
Knock it down the wing!
Tuck your shirt in!
Pull your socks up!
Tie those bloomin’ laces!
Wakey, wakey! Get you head up!
You’re not at the races!
Hold the line! Don’t turn your back!
Turn and face!
Back door! Skills! Roast him!
Use your pace!
Winners! Don’t you want this?
Who are you marking?
Peep! The ref’s whistle.
At last, the game is starting.
Writing in His Shed
Some people do all their writing in their heads,
some people do all their writing in their beds,
some people don’t write at all coz they’re dead,
but me, I’m Al, I write in a shed.
A library might be the favourite writing place for Ted,
a study is the only place to write for Ned,
a caravan is the preferred scriptorium for Fred.
but me, I’m Al, I write in a shed.
Some people like the cool feel of pencil lead,
some prefer wool or cotton thread,
for others it’s glass or concrete or metal instead,
but I’m Al. I like wood. I write in a shed.
Some go to restaurants to be well fed,
some go to church to pray or be wed,
others go to head hunters to get ahead,
but me, I’m Al, I write in a shed.
Some people like to hurtle on a sled
others like to stuff their cheeks with bread,
some like to party and paint the town red,
but me, I’m Al, I like to write in my shed.
So if you wonder where I am,
remember what I said
and you’ll know where to find me:
I’ll be writing in my shed.
What I Did on my Holiday
“This year, on my holiday, I went to the toilet one hundred and forty-two times…”
Everyone loves holidays: there are so many interesting things to do and places to see – as you’ll discover in this entertaining collection of poems and (very) short stories. Enjoy science, skylines and Spring cleaning; football, fireworks and friendship; hamsters, hippos and hallowe’en – and of course, toilets! There are poems (and stories) to make you think and wonder, to join in with, and that will have you laughing out loud. This isn’t really a book, it’s a holiday!
To purchase Alan’s books, click here.
Recommendations & Reviews
‘Hi Alan, Thank you very much for the work you did at Holy Trinity and St Johns at the end of November. Our children loved it and were buzzing! Sorry it has taken me so long! Many thanks again’ Christine Buller
“I would like to quote our Headteacher, Michael Higgins, in recognition of the work you carried out with our pupils: “Alan Durant was one of our most successful visiting authors ever, and greatly inspired and connected with the pupils. I have no doubt he left our pupils wanting to read more, which is crucial to their language development.” Your assemblies and workshops were pitched perfectly for each year group from Foundation Stage to Year Six. We have had lots of positive feedback from parents and staff. You are a hard act to follow! We wish you well in all future endeavours and I very much look forward to working with you again.” Lorraine Stevens, Literacy Co-ordinator, Headmaster Michael Higgins British International School Cairo
“The children are all buzzing from working with you and I think it has really inspired them. Many of his children are keeping their own notebooks of ideas now.” James Lacey, Literacy Co-ordinator, Harmans Water Primary School, Berkshire
“We would like to express our huge thanks and gratitude to you for the inspiration you have given to our son during this past week. You have made such an impression on him with your creative writing ideas. He has gone from a child who would write the bare minimum to a very mature child who now does not want to stop writing. Within a week you have helped him become so confident.” Gail, mother of a child attending a week’s writing course at Bishop Challoner School, Tower Hamlets
“Dear Mr Durant, Thank you for coming to our school. I enjoyed it very much. I liked the bit when we made up the story. When I grow up I want to be an author too. Me and my friend Henry thought your stories and poems were very amusing and great. Please come again!!!” Thomas Wilkinson, Class 4d, Holland Park Primary, Clacton, Essex
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Alan Durant, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org