Clare Bevan
Clare Bevan
Clare Bevan is based in a Berkshire, where she lives with her husband, Martin; her grumpy cat, Miff, and a seriously sleepy lizard called Mac. Clare has been writing plays, stories and poems for as long as she can remember.

Her first play was extremely short and she forced her friends to perform it in the school playground.

Clare says ‘I was only seven and didn't know any better!'

All About Clare Bevan

Clare’s School Visits

So far, Clare has given talks in school halls, classroooms, libraries well as various outdoor settings – a tree-house, a gazebo, a hedge-maze, a field, and a woodland. Clare loves reading and performing her poems, she works mainly with year 5 and 6 but is happy to work with years 1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as young adult writing groups.

How a typical workshop day works

Clare will work with about thirty children in a workshop on the day she will bring with her a folder full of poems, interesting objects and images that will inspire the writers that reflect her theme for the day.

Themes for the day can range from: Playground Songs, Games and Rhymes (for younger children). Extraordinary People (invented, historical, mythical etc.) All Sorts Of Animals (familiar, fictional, mythical, extinct…) Famous And Fictional Characters (to be turned into Newspaper Reports). Parodies (of songs; of stories; of T.V. shows, of books etc.). Characters In Paintings (to be used as the launchpad for monologues, dialogues and/or short scripts.) Letters And Voices (culminating in hand-written, secret scrolls!), etc, etc.

Clare begins the day with the children introducing themselves and their favourite authors, best loved characters and their most hated/enjoyed villains.

With Years 1 & 2, Clare might begin with Skipping Rhymes (Salt, Pepper, Mustard, Vinegar.) We’ll clap the rhythms together and skip with amazing Invisible Ropes. Then, we’ll invent some lists of words together, using the same rhythm (Wolf, Dragon, Monster, Unicorn.) Once everyone has mastered the idea, they can try a list of their own. Finally, testing the best ones by skipping and chanting again.

With older children, Clare starts with short writing exercises, which. She begins by handing out printed examples of her own writing – Acrostics; Alphabets; Headlines; Kennings; Limericks; Parodies; Puzzle Poems; Shape Poems, etc.

The ‘Newspaper’ theme
For instance, when working on the ‘Newspaper’ theme, the day begins with an exercise she calls ‘The News In Brief.’ Children are challenged to write the shortest version of (say) ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, while still giving us all the facts? Some of the results can be remarkably clever – news reporters in the making!

Years 3 and 4, workshops on Fictional Characters, children are asked to imagine how it feels to be a Giant who has been burgled; a Wolf who has had his tail sizzled; a Princess who isn’t very impressed with her Handsome Prince. Can they think of other characters who have wishes or grumbles? Clare sets the scene in these workshops by reading one or two of her own fictional letters (Ugly Sister etc.). She explains the important parts of a letter – the address, the date, the way it begins, the mood of its ending…Yours huffily!

Then children create an example together. It can either be a Wish-List (to a Genie or a Godmother) or a Complaint (to the Editor of the ‘Daily Magic Mirror.’) She explains how important it is to SOUND like the chosen character. How would Captain Hook speak? Or Red Riding Hood’s Granny? Or a Troll with a goat-problem? Finally, the children compose their own versions – and usually come up with gloriously imaginative post-codes, e-mail addresses, dates and complaints!

With Years 3 and 4 their first drafts of the letters can now be developed and enhanced. It is time to create their ‘Ancient Scrolls’, children are each given a sheet of cream-coloured paper fitted with a handy hole! Children then use appropriate handwriting when they transcribe their letters – neat and small for Tooth Fairies; large and rigid for Trolls! Once they are satisfied with their finished scrolls bright ribbons are used to tie up the scrolls.

With Years 5 and 6, based on the ‘Animals’ theme, children invent their own, weird and wonderful ‘Just So Stories’. They learn how to set the mood for a story-telling session with a tempting opening. (“Would you like me to tell you a secret?” “Have you ever wondered why…?”) The aim is to them the chance to create a really Tall Tale! Children are allowed to use any magical tricks they like to move the story along. They can invent: a bad fairy; a kindly witch; an absent minded genie; a young and inexperienced Greek God… The session ends with their story-telling session. The most successful Tall Tales should prompt the age-old question: “Is it true?”

Note: All through the workshop day, and especially at the end of each Session, the children are encourage to read their work-in-progress aloud. If children are shy or very quiet, Clare will read their work for them. Plenty of praise and advice will be offered to them all.

Clare will need a flip-chart or a whiteboard will do, plenty of good pens and a cloth for cleaning unwanted words away. The children will need spare pencils and plenty of paper.

Clare’s Books

Clare has written about everything and anything:
– humorous stories for teachers’ magazines
– book reviews
– rhymes for birthday cards
– adverts
– comedy sketches
– lyrics for musicals
– plays for adults and children
– children’s novels
– reference books for children
– speedy reads for school libraries
– picture books
– hundreds of poems for children
– plus hundreds more for grown ups
– AND a set of poetry books for girls.

Her first published novel, about a boy who rode to victory in his mighty wheelchair, was called ‘Mightier Than The Sword‘. It won a Book Prize, following on from that she now has twenty five of her books published. Her poems, have appeared in over a hundred anthologies, as well as in her set of sparkly books for younger girls.

Mightier Than The Sword

‘The subject is handled with a lightness of touch and admirable restraint – a good story.’ Susan Hill

‘The racy, natural style and imaginative ingredients…make this book a compelling read.’ School Librarian Magazine

Fairy Tale Poems

Although this book has a pink cover, it is actually suitable for small boys too! (Look out for the Troll, naughty Jack, Aladdin and the Big Bad Wolf!)

download

Mr. Zigzag And The Case Of The Missing Pets

(Suitable for children aged 6 to 9 years – plus teachers and parents too!)

The adventures of the Storyland Vet who lives in a little Crooked House and is pestered by a Kettle Genie. His patients include a pig with hayfever and an exploding weasel! He’s sure he can cure the Big Bad Wolf’s sore throat – but can he track down the disappearing pets?

Just Like Superman

(winner of the Kathleen Fidler Award – 1989)

‘Sparkling with warmth and humour…an extraordinary time-warp adventure set during the blitz. A most fulfilling story of bravery and physical disability overcome.’ Junior Education Magazine

Lucky Numbers

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(This book was included in ‘100 Best Books 1998)

‘The Carter family win the lottery jackpot and suddenly they can buy everything their hearts desire!…An amusing, thought-provoking and lively tale for our times.’ The Book Trust

Everyone I See Is Luckier Than Me

‘These great poems are for the times when you feel the green-eyed monster of jealousy taking control of you. Written by brilliant poet Clare Bevan, they will help you understand your jealousy and beat it.’

The Wonderful Gift

‘Delightful illustrations accompany this insightful tale about the search for happiness.’ QED book cover

Fairy Poems, Princess Poems and Mermaid Poems

‘In Clare Bevan’s books, the secret worlds we are let in on are both playful (naughty fairies…jumbling up your jigsaws, grumpy magic mirrors, and shells serving as mermaids’ mobile phones) and also full of mystery: who saved the fisher-lad from the sea; where is the source of the Fairy Queen’s power?…The collections include shape poems and acrostic poems, counting poems, riddles and verse letters…’ Universal Verse – Poetry For Children.’ Barn Owl

Extracts from Clare’s Books

THE ROLLRIGHT STONES (First published in Junior Education Magazine.)

Beneath the stars a circle stands,
Carved and curved by unknown hands,
Set on high by mighty men –
But who can tell me why, or when?
My questions whirl and drift away,
The stones keep silence and will not say.

Did a leader, strong and wise,
Raise this tribute to the skies?
Or did a witch, with crafty spell,
Charm a king (as people tell)
And turn his soldiers cold and grey?
The stones keep silence and will not say.

Here’s the hushed and scattered crowd,
Here’s the King Stone, tall and proud.
Here, below the sleepy lights,
Still as death, the Whispering Knights.
Do they grieve, or dream, or pray?
The stones keep silence and will not say.

Is it true, when midnight passes,
The captives stir amongst the grasses
And softly creep towards a spring
To quench the thirst of knight and king?
And do they dread the sun’s first ray?
The stones keep silence and will not say.

Mystic shrine or ancient tomb?
Your legends lurk where shadows loom,
Your secrets hide like buried gold,
Your truth is deep and dark and old.
My questions whirl and drift away –
The stones keep silence and will not say.

Recommendations & Reviews

‘You gave us such a wonderful afternoon. Really wonderful for the children to have the joy of a single crocus or seed pointed out to them. Just the very thing in this crazy, materialistic society. We all sat down and wrote and wrote and drew and drew with a new energy. You taught us to put words to the things we see, and you brought us a great sense of fun.’  Ros Howell – Teacher. Meadowbrook Montessori School, Warfield, Berkshire

‘I’d like to say an enormous ‘thank you’ for coming to our school this week and for entertaining us with your poems. We ALL enjoyed the day and you inspired the children to produce some fantastic poems, which we are going to collect together to make a book.’  Philippa Hills – Teacher. Shinfield Infant and Nursery School, Shinfield, Berkshire.

‘On behalf of all the schools that took part in the Able Writers Workshop last Friday, I would like to thank you for all your hard work. The children that took part have not stopped talking about the wonderful day, and how you have inspired them to become writers of the future.’ Angela Disher – School Librarian. St. George’s College Junior School, Weybridge, Surrey.

‘I am the teacher of a mixed year 3 and 4 class in a small village school in Cornwall. The children are always enthusiastic to learn, but I cannot remember the last time a piece of writing captured their imagination quite like your poem The Rollright Stones. They are very proud of the work they have produced and are keen to share it with you. I hope you enjoy reading their writing. Many thanks for helping to make our Literacy lessons so exciting’ Linda Byers – Teacher. Perren-ar-Worthal C.P. School, Perranwell Station, Truro.

‘In literacy our class has been studying and reading about The Rollright Stones. We all sat down on the carpet and closed our eyes & imagined the curled stones. Last term we performed the play of Olaf the dragon tamer to the school. It was great because we got to make loads of different sound effects. I think you are one of the best authors because I have enjoyed all your work.’  Charlotte, aged 7.

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Clare Bevan, 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