All About Mark Robson
Mark’s School Visits
Mark’s visits are dynamic, informative and inspiring to young people of all ability levels. He generally works with years 5 to 9, though will work with older or younger pupils if required. The emphasis of his ‘author talk’ is on personal motivation and setting goals. He recounts how he overcame the odds of becoming a Royal Air Force pilot despite never achieving an ‘A’ in any of his school exams and then moves on to describe how he has broken into a second very competitive profession as a published author with a ‘B’ at ‘O’ level English as his only relevant qualification.
“I like big audiences for my author talk – as many as you can pack into your biggest venue is ideal. I then look to fill the rest of my visit by conducting workshops, preferably to single class sized groups.”
Bermuda Triangle Talk (allow 1 hour with questions)
This presentation is about the research Mark did for his new trilogy: The Devil’s Triangle. It covers some geography and the history of the reputation surrounding the Bermuda Triangle region. It also touches on other diverse research topics including: the problems the Florida Wildlife Commission are facing with species dislocation on land and in the sea, The Philadelphia Project, some local myths and legends from the Florida Keys and more.
Again this talk is for as large an audience as you wish. There is an accompanying PowerPoint slide show, so a projector and screen is needed for this talk.
Mark Robson’s Workshops
Mark owns thirty NEO2 word processors, which he can set up in a classroom for use by students in the workshops. These can be wirelessly linked through his laptop to an interactive whiteboard, allowing Mark to demonstrate visually the process of editing on any individual student’s work at any point during the workshop. It also allows all of the students’ work to be saved onto a data stick at the end of the session for later printing, or to allow follow up work. By allowing students to work on word processors it encourages the more reluctant writers to produce more than they normally would. The machines are writing tools only – no games, no internet, no distraction. As there are only 30 machines the class size is limited to a max of 30. However all of Mark’s workshops can also be run with a flipchart, pen and paper if this is a problem. Also, workshops using the NEO2s require a classroom with a projector or an interactive whiteboard. It is preferable for multiple sessions to be held in the same classroom to avoid losing time to transportation and setting up.
Starting a Story Effectively (1 hour – word processor or handwritten)
This is a workshop in three quick phases – a teaching phase where Mark gives the students the building blocks, a writing phase where the students write the opening paragraphs of a story and a critical analysis phase where Mark takes work the young people have done and show them how to make it more effective. Follow up task is to redraft the opening.
Developing a Character (1 hour – handwritten only)
This workshop demonstrates one effective method of building a character. By the end of the session the students will produce a character map to include the primary, secondary and tertiary layers of a character.
Use of Dialogue in Fiction (1 hour – word processor or handwritten)
The object of this workshop is to teach the rules of dialogue in fiction, both for content and punctuation. The student task is to work in small groups, writing a scene using dialogue only (with no speech tags) and then act it out as a group.
The Short Story (1½ to 2 hours – word processor or handwritten)
This workshop begins with the same basics as starting a story effectively, but extends the structure to the middle and end phases of a short story. The students will draft and re-draft an opening. Better students will progress their stories into the middle phase.
Publishing Workshop (1½ hours minimum. Handwritten only. Y9 and above)
This is a workshop for up to 28 students. They are divided into four groups and each group has a designated leader. Each group leader is then given a set of instructions for his/her group. One task is editorial, one is a proof-reading exercise, one involves graphic design and the final one is on marketing. The graphic design and marketing teams will need to use computers with internet access to complete their tasks.
The tasks each take approximately one hour to complete. Once the time is up, each leader in turn explains to the rest of the combined class what his/her group has achieved. Mark will then explain how this task is actually tackled within a real publishing house. The exercise is based on a real book launch (Dragon Orb: Firestorm).
Handwritten Workshops (roughly 30 students maximum)
Requirements for these are paper and pens/pencils for the students and a flip chart or normal whiteboard for Mark.
In a world of magic and murder, Femke is entrusted with a vital foreign mission by the Emperor. The task appears straightforward, but the young spy quickly finds herself ensnared in an elaborate trap.
Isolated in a hostile country, hunted by the authorities and with her arch-enemy closing in for his revenge, Femke needs all her with and skills to survive. Only Reynik, a soldier barely out of training, appears willing to help. But with no knowledge of her true mission, Reynik soon discovers loyalty is a dangerous business.
This is the first of a trilogy of medieval, cloak and dagger style spy thrillers.
Dragon Orb: Firestorm
Firestorm is a day dragon, one of a long line of dragons renowned for their bravery and nobility. He can feel it is his time. The Oracle is calling for him to fulfil his destiny, but on seeking out his pre-destined rider he discovers he has a problem – Nolita, his life-bonded partner, has deep phobias of large animals and heights. With the help of two other dragons and their young riders, Elian and Kira, Firestorm must help his rider overcome her deepest fears, for without Nolita’s cooperation the Great Quest will fail, and dragon-kind will descend into anarchy and war.
Imagine if Biggles were to meet dragons … well this quartet of books brings four young dragon riders into World War I, where they fly in secret with the Royal Flying Corps against the Red Baron!
The Devil’s Triangle
The Bermuda Triangle has cast a shadow over Sam and Niamh Cutler’s lives since their mother vanished nine years ago. Her whereabouts remains a mystery and every year the twins return to the Florida Keys with their father, Matt, who is obsessed with solving the haunting puzzle.
But Sam is bored with lazing around by the pool while his father hunts for the truth. Craving excitement, he and his friend, Callum, “borrow” Matt’s boat. At first it’s great fun, but when they find themselves marooned in a terrifying land, the boys realise they too have fallen victim to the Triangle’s mysterious effects. Can they find a way home, or will they be lost forever?
With shades of Planet of the Apes, Lost and Primeval, this first book of a new trilogy blends strange other-worldly technology, highly evolved dinosaurs and one of the world’s most celebrated mysteries with real world drama.
To purchase Mark’s books, click here.
Recommendations & Reviews
‘I recently watched an assembly you did at my school. I found it truly inspirational and it has spurred me on to achieve my dreams. I want to become a vet, which as you probably know is a very competitive line of work to get into. Before I had listened to you talking about becoming a pilot, I had a lot of doubt about becoming a vet and if I was ever going to be any good because I’m not incredibly gifted with academics. Your speech about your persistence and drive to become a pilot changed my attitudes to everything! I feel now, that I can do anything as long as I keep trying to improve myself and set goals for myself. This attitude was probably due to that brilliant story of you making them cardboard planes. I found that very inspirational and amusing! Consequently, I have made myself a list of short term goals and a list of long term goals. Also I have numbered them in rankings of importance and which short term goals apply to the long term goals. I have about 50 short term goals and 4 long term goals. But don’t worry I will have time to read the book you signed for me! Thank you very much for helping me to realize what needs to be done to get where I want to be.’ Katie.
‘Having booked Mark for our finale to Book Week last Friday I wasn’t sure what to expect. We are a secondary boys school and our lads can be a tough audience but I was blown away by the impression Mark made on them. Even the toughest, most street wise Year 9 class sat enthralled whilst Mark was speaking. In the afternoon we gave Mark a tough task – to choose the winners out of a strong field of 28 in our ‘write the first pages of a novel competition’. Mark managed to give constructive criticism to all the boys whilst still praising their efforts. So impressed were we that we have already re – booked Mark for next month!’ Mrs Beverley Humphrey, Librarian, Woolwich Polytechnic
‘Thank you very much for visiting K.E.S last Friday. Our boys thoroughly enjoyed your talk, as you already know from the applause that you received at the end. Your career story is both inspiring and motivational for young people. Thank you also for involving the audience by asking them questions – this was a very successful approach. You developed an excellent rapport with the pupils from both schools and I have had very favourable feedback from the English Department and the other staff who were present.’ Librarian King Edwards School Warwick
‘Thank you so much for coming to Caldecott to tell us about your time as a pilot and your current career as an author. The children really enjoyed the talk and many of them had more questions after school. It was great for them to have a positive male role model, as we’re always trying to find ways to raise boys’ attainment. My literacy set was buzzing about the workshop, and have come away with lots of ideas on how to improve their writing. You were inspirational!’ Literacy Co-ordinator Caldecott School
‘We have had a phenomenal response to the day you spent with us last week. It has been amazing how many boys (and some girls) who normally never come anywhere near the library if they can avoid it, have been literally queuing up for your books. One parent I have spoken to said her son, who as far as she could remember has never admitted to willingly reading a book in his life, pestered her so much for a copy of ‘Imperial Spy’ when he arrived home from school after your talk that she felt she just had to go out and buy the book there and then. Many of the staff at the school, myself included, wish to pass on their thanks for giving us a truly inspirational day and we look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.’ Librarian Brookvale High School.
‘Thank you so much for a fantastic day yesterday 19th February 2013. The children were all very keen to share their work and had an amazing day. We have blogged our children’s success, so thank you.’ Gastrells Primary School, Kate
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Mark Robson, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email Trevor at email@example.com
Further information on Mark Robson is available on his website: www.markrobsonauthor.com