All About Nikki Sheehan
Nikki Sheehan is an author, journalist, story mentor, and mother of three teenagers. She is a former convent school girl who studied linguistics at university before becoming a subtitler on the Simpsons, and then retraining and working as a journalist.
Her debut, Who Framed Klaris Cliff? (age 10+) is a mystery about imaginary friends, and she is passionate about reconnecting children with their most powerful asset, their imaginations, through both big assembly talks, and creative workshops.
Nikki’s next book, Swan Boy (also age 10+) is a study of the changes that children go through from childhood to adolescence, and, with a main character who begins to turn into a swan, and then discovers his true self through dance, it has a lot to say about not being afraid to be who you are.
Her latest novel Goodnight, Boy (age 12+) is the story of one boy and a dog, and his journey from Haiti to America in search of love, told in second person, fragmented text.
As an experienced workshop leader for Little Green Pig (formerly part of the Ministry of Stories) Nikki is used to facilitating original stories, poems and scripts in a very fun and inspiring way, using the students’ own imaginary friends (everyone’s first creative characters) or human-animal hybrids inspired by classical stories as a starting point. She also loves working with more advanced writers to extend their work, encouraging them to break a few rules to see what happens.
She is, according to a former workshop attendee, “a very nice person who made us see the world in a different way.”
Nikki lives in Brighton and is available for events throughout the UK and abroad.
Nikki’s School Visits
10 minute Assembly Poem
Duration: 10 minutes
Year Groups: All
Equipment: Screen, 3 pupil helpers
Working with the whole school to democratically write a poem and inspire creativity in just 10 minutes. (It sounds crazy, but it really works.) The poem can be extended or improved in further lessons. Pupils become very passionate about having their word chosen, and are very pleased with the resulting work.
Swan Boy Interactive Talk
Duration: 30 mins to 1 hour
Year groups: 5 to 8 (but with some adjustment younger children can be accommodated)
Size of Group: From a small group to a whole school or more!
Equipment: Screen for slideshow
Using animal traits to inspire writing, this is a very interactive talk, interspersed with short readings from Swan Boy. The children are encouraged to think about what animal they would like to be, and why and how this could develop into a story. By the end the group will have invented several characters, acted out and planned a scene that can be carried on in class.
Klaris Cliff imaginary Friend Workshop
Duration: 1 hour to 80 minutes
Year Groups: Years 5 to 8
Equipment: Whiteboard/ flipchart plus paper for students to write on
Aim: to write a complete (or nearly complete) story
Through this imaginary friend workshop pupils will have had their imaginations shaken awake and their sense of self as creators strengthened. For the first half of the session the class will talk about imaginary friends and the pupils will have a chance to remember and draw their own creations, or to make up a new one. From there two are chosen by the class as main characters for a story which is written together up to a cliffhanger. After this the class has 15 minutes to carry on the story, independently or in groups, bringing in their own character if they wish.
Goodnight, Boy talk – Breaking the rules (age 12+)
All the best writers know the rules, and when to break them. Find out how, and why I created the unusual, second person format with fragmented text in Goodnight, Boy, and have a go at being wildly creative and musical, using words like notes, in your own writing.
GOODNIGHT, BOY, forthcoming, Rock the Boat, July 2017, age 12+
“Locked in a dog kennel by his adoptive father, a boy recounts the story of how he got to his devoted dog. Touching the themes of the displacements of people and child trafficking, there’s a great poignancy and hope in Sheehan’s beautiful writing.” –Fiona Noble, the Bookseller.
“A hauntingly original and heartbreakingly beautiful novel.” – Sarah Crossan, author of One and Apple and Rain
“Goodnight, Boy is a unique book. Brilliantly conceived and beautifully constructed.” – Brian Conaghan, winner of 2017 Costa Children’s Book Award
“With a unique voice, Nikki Sheehan creates a story that is both dark, yet filled with hope. It’s one of those books that you want to re-read again and again. Stunning, and unforgettable.”- Lisa Heathfield, author of Seed and Paper Butterflies
SWAN BOY, published by Rock the Boat May 2016, Age 8-12
Carnegie Medal Nominee 2017, shortlisted, Harrow Junior Book. Highgate Wood Prize, St Helens Book Prize
“I finished Swan Boy with a tear in my eye and fireworks in my heart. Tender, funny, wise and just a little bit magical.” – Piers Torday, author of the Last Wild Trilogy
“Swan Boy is fab – original, beautifully written, gentle but brutal. It’s my new favourite book.” – Emma Carroll, author of Frost Hollow Hall
“This book is beautifully written with a surprising element of quirkiness and smatterings of humour. Truly an original.” – Vivienne DaCosta, award-winning book blogger
WHO FRAMED KLARIS CLIFF? Published by OUP 2014, Age 10+
Winner of North Herts Book Prize 2015, Shortlisted: Wirral Paperback of the Year, The Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year. Longlisted: The Oxfordshire Book of the Year
“Sheehan’s book is as thought-provoking as it is moving.” – The Guardian
“The book has pertinent things to say about the need for imagination in the modern world.” – The Telegraph
“If Sheehan has more of this quality to offer then she’ll be an exciting novelist for the future. I loved it.” – The Daily Mail
Reviews and Recommendations
“Your assembly was a breath of fresh air, you got us all thinking creatively before 9 o’clock in the morning and what a lovely poem we had all helped to produce within 10 minutes. You sent the whole school off to their first lesson completely energised, well done!” – Lucy Dean, Librarian, BHHS, Brighton
“It was spectacular to play the game where we made a script with the funny characters!” – Year 6 pupil, Durrington Junior School
“Just this morning, my Year 7 class were quoting you. We have really benefited from your visit – you made a difference in such a short time. Thank you once again.” – Roland Miles, Handcross Park School
“Nikki had just the right balance of humour, creativity and interest and a great rapport with the children. One member of the audience said, “I could have listened to her all day!” The poetry slam was inspired and the children found themselves writing a whole poem in about five minutes. Brilliant!” – Victoria Dilley, Lindfield Litfest
“Nikki Sheehan visited us at Hampton School in May 2015, and over six sessions she delivered workshops to the whole of our year 7. Our boys really enjoyed the sessions, they were engaged throughout, and Nikki was great at involving them and drawing out ideas. I would definitely recommend Nikki to a school looking for a visiting author.” – Karl Hemsley – Hampton School
“It was interesting to meet Nikki as she gave us an insight into her thoughts and taught us to see the world differently. I have definitely become more involved with writing, and the creative writing we did with her was really inspiring.” – Y8 Pupil, Blatchington Mill School
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Nikki, 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