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Alex Woolf
Alex Woolf

All About Alex Woolf

Alex Woolf has worked in children’s publishing for almost twenty years. His career as a professional author began in 2001, writing children’s non-fiction and, later, fiction for children and young adults. In that time, he has written anywhere between 80 and 100 books, including six novels under his own name and six under a pseudonym. He has also written five stories for Fiction Express, online publishers of interactive stories for schools. His novel Aldo Moon and the Ghost of Gravewood Hall was one of Lovereading4kids’ books of the year in 2013 and his horror novel Soul Shadows has been shortlisted for the 2014 Red Book Award. He is based in Southgate, North London.

Alex’s School Visits

What the day will entail:

The first thing to say is that I am very flexible. However, a typical day might entail a talk and three workshops, or two talks and two workshops.

Talks

The talks will be about some or all of the following:

 How I came to be a writer

 How I go about writing a book [I will usually use a recent book as an example for this and the rest of the talk]

 The commissioning process

 Coming up with ideas

 Writing a plan or synopsis

 Research

 The writing process

 What publishers do

 Copy-editing and proofreading

 Finding photos/commissioning illustrations

 Printing and binding

 Publicising and selling books

Alex Woolf can also focus on particular topics to fit in with the National Curriculum.

For example on one session recently he was talking about a book he wrote on World War I and will use this as a starting point to talk about WW1 and how he went about writing and researching a book on that topic. It’s a book illustrated with amusing cartoons and they may get on to discussing the use appropriateness of humour with a topic such as this.

Workshops

Alex can offer workshops on all aspects of creative writing.

What will the children achieve?

From the talks they will learn about the writing and publishing process and how books are made. The workshops will help them unleash their imaginations and find new and creative ways of writing exciting stories.

Age ranges: Alex can work with year 5 up to sixth form, but prefers working with years 7-9.

How long each section of the day takes

Talks can last 45 mins to an hour. Workshops: ideally an hour, but can manage shorter or longer than this.

With his background in publishing and his present-day job as an author, he is ideally suited to explaining the whole process of how books are made, from initial ideas to printed pages. The format for a typical day might be as follows:

Primary School Visits

The talks will include readings from his younger fiction (e.g. the Time Detectivesseries, aimed at 9 -11s)

Alex is very happy to tailor his talks to the needs of the school. He has written numerous KS2 books on history, geography and science, and can relate his talks to particular curriculum topics if required.

The presentation might be followed by a number of workshops (usually one hour, though can be longer or shorter) with individual classes of up to 30, covering different aspects of creative writing, including:

 Coming up with ideas

 Plotting

 Building characters

 How to write exciting adventure stories

 How to write a scary story

The workshops include whole-class activities as well as opportunities to work as individuals and in small groups.

Secondary School Visits

The day begins with an hour-long presentation to a year group (up to 300 would be fine), illustrated with PowerPoint slides. See above for details of what the talks will cover. They will also include readings from his older fiction (e.g. his recently published steampunk novel, Iron Sky: Dread Eagle).

Alex is very happy to tailor his talks to the needs of the school. He has written numerous KS3 books on history and science, and can relate his talks to particular curriculum topics if required.

The presentation might be followed by a number of workshops (usually one hour, though can be longer or shorter) with individual classes of up to 30, covering different aspects of creative writing, including:

 Coming up with ideas

 Plotting

 Research

 Building realistic characters

 Creating mood and atmosphere

 Writing dialogue

 How to write historical/horror/gothic/science fiction stories

The workshops include whole-class activities as well as opportunities to work as individuals and in small groups.

Aims

By the end of the day, children will have received an insight into the processes that go into making books, both non-fiction and fiction. It will equip them with some valuable tools to write exciting stories of their own.

Materials and facilities

For the presentations and workshops, Alex will need a computer or laptop with PowerPoint installed and a display screen that everyone can see. For the workshops, children will need paper and pens or pencils. A PA system would be helpful when giving presentations to large numbers of students.

Alex’s Books

iron sky

Iron Sky: Dread Eagle

Imagine if the Victorians had invented powered flight. Picture an alternative 19th century of giant airships and fantastical steam-powered automata, floating cities and deadly iron eagles. Welcome to the world of Iron Sky.

Dread Eagle is the first of a trilogy of steampunk adventures set in this world, starring the intrepid aviator and spy Lady Arabella West and her automaton sidekick, Miles. In this story, Arabella and Miles investigate tales of a terrifying monster in the clouds and end up being captured by sky pirates.

The book includes spectacular gatefold illustrations of airships, air carriages, the floating city and the dread eagle.

 

The Shakespeare Plot trilogy (for 11-15 year olds).

THE SHAKESPEARE PLOT is set during the early 17th century, a dangerous time in English history, full of plots, rebellions, spies and secret codes. Yet it was also a glorious time for English theatre, when William Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays. Alice Fletcher is a backstage employee at The Globe, where she works alongside Shakespeare’s Chamberlain’s Men. When her brother, Richard, goes missing, Alice resolves to investigate the circumstances of his disappearance with the help of Tom Cavendish, a young servant of the ambitious and power-hungry Earl of Essex. Using the coded messages Richard has left behind, and risking life and limb, Alice and Tom uncover a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth I’s first minister and usurp the throne…

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Alex Woolf, 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 trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk