All About Eileen Condon
Fires, floods and famous film premières – just another extraordinary day in Eileen’s career as a journalist. She’s covered it all, from being one of the first reporters on the scene of a major plane crash, to partying with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Pupils love hearing about the events which have made her journalistic career so varied and exciting – and she’s happy to talk about them until the cows come home!
But Eileen’s greatest satisfaction comes from teaching children the simple but very important writing techniques which could start them onto a career path in journalism and the media.
Eileen was just 14 and still at school when she had her first short story published in the teenage magazine Look Now. She got paid £50 for it. A small fortune in those days! And never looked back. Eileen continued writing short stories for other teenage magazines including the best-selling weekly mag Just 17.
After gaining a National Certificate for the Training of Journalists Eileen worked as a reporter on newspapers throughout the country including The Leicester Mercury, The Birmingham Post and Mail and The North-East Evening Gazette. After moving to London she wrote for a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, marie-claire, Hello, OK!, Company, Bella and Best.
Eileen also worked as a full-time commissioning editor/writer at Woman magazine, a senior editor/writer at Woman’s Weekly magazine and film celebrity writer for the Press Association – a job which meant she got paid to interview Hollywood movie stars!
Eileen is also a visiting lecturer for undergraduates in Mass Communications (media, scriptwriting, TV) at Regent’s College, London. Throughout this she has dovetailed her journalism career with a passion for creative writing, Eileen is also a keen script writer and has recently completed a play for radio and a TV sitcom Legsby Avenue with her co-author Amanda Edwards.
Eileen’s School Visits
For the past few years Eileen has been transferring the skills she learned as a journalist, author and scriptwriter into classrooms, arts centers and educational venues around the country.
During her visits, children and young adults are given a fascinating insight into what it’s really like to work on a major newspaper or magazine. She teaches them exactly what makes a good story, how to conduct a great interview and the best ways to get the rich and famous to really come clean!
The workshops are not just eye-opening they also enable children to come away with a few tricks of the trade which might even set them on to the path of a future career in journalism.
Fun, motivating and inspiring, the workshops teach children that they don’t have to be brilliant novelists in order to earn a living from writing.
Using tried and tested methods learned throughout her career as a successful journalist, Eileen teaches pupils how to craft a newspaper or magazine story which could even catch the eye of an editor.
The workshops are hugely informative but also provide a great tool for literacy aims, by encouraging reluctant writers and further advancing the writing potential of gifted children.
During the course of the workshop, children will learn:
• What it’s like to work on a national newspaper and magazine, how to get access to the rich and famous and what they’re really like once you do!
• An introduction to Journalism writing techniques such as the ‘inverted pyramid’
• Good reviewing techniques
• Good interviewing techniques
• What makes a good news story or feature.
By the end of the workshop, every child – even the most reluctant writer – will have had a go at crafting their own news or feature story.
The workshops are both relevant and resonant for media savvy youngsters today as they provide an awareness of writing styles which could lead to career opportunities. They will also see that their own interests and experiences (however unusual!) could find a place in different media outlets.
As well as journalism workshops, Eileen also offers lessons on creative writing. She had her first short story published while still at school – an achievement which usually resonates with aspiring young writers. After a prolific writing career she now has a pretty good idea about what commissioning editors are looking for.
Once again the workshops are fun, motivating and involve lots of practical exercises aimed at helping pupils get over the fear of the blank page. They also provide valuable advice on how budding writers can keep going once the initial motivation has waned (a problem for even the most experienced author!)
Through practical exercises children will learn:
• How to get over the fear of the blank page
• How to find ideas how to create characters
• How to create strong dialogue
• How to bring out your inner voice
• How to keep going right to the very end.
Recommendations & Reviews
St Cuthbert’s Church of England Primary School’s Able Writers’ Day held in November 2012 was attended by Hallaton Church of England, Fleckney Church of England, Billesden Parochial, Church Langton Church of England and Foxton Primary Schools, all from the Leicestershire area. The teachers and children made the following comments:
“I thought it was amazing and I am a lot more confident now. Really inspiring, I never much liked journalism but after today I’m sure I will find it much more fun.”
“I liked it very much because it built up my confidence on writing stories and reading them aloud.”
“Thank you so much, I never thought I could ever be a Journalist but now I think I probably could!”
“The day was brilliant and I think I know a lot more about journalism then I did at school before. Thank you for such an enthralling day!”
“I thought it was really good and I enjoyed making a newspaper.”
“Thank you for coming today, it was great and I learned a lot, I’d love to write when I am older. Thanks.”
“I loved writing the report about the fire and writing the newspaper. THANK YOU!”
“The fast pace of working, concentration and sense of achievement was very rewarding to see. A great learning experience. Many thanks.”
“Today was an amazing experience and I really enjoyed it. I now believe the Fleckney Star shall go on!”
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for running the workshop on Monday. I have had fantastic feedback from everyone involved and they have all said that it was the best workshop that we have had so far. You really inspired the children to consider journalism and taught them many new skills too, which was exactly what I was hoping for. Hopefully we may see you the same time next year to work with some more of our pupils. I really appreciated you letting our pupils interview you- I hope they didn’t grill you too much!” Paula McIntyre-Gay, St George’s College Junior School
“We were all very impressed with your behaviour management skills. The children enjoyed listening to you and working with you. You had a lovely manner with them and included them well. It was nice that you included references to your actual work as a journalist, which they found interesting.” Sarah Boldero, Year 6 Team Leader, Feltham Hill Junior School
“I’d like to offer a large thank-you from myself and all at Bedfont. The children really seemed to take on your ideas and inspiration for writing journalistic stories. We have certainly ‘stolen’ many of your ideas for use in our planning next year. I really do want a finished newspaper produced from the writing.” Gavin Winters, Teacher, Bedfont, Primary School
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Eileen Condon, 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