All About Neil Arksey
Neil Arksey is based in central London. His action packed novels for children and young adults are published by Penguin and Random House. Fast paced futuristic thrillers such as Playing on the Edge and As Good As Dead In Downtown and gritty football stories like Flint, Brooksie and MacB. As a screenwriter, head writer and producer Neil has also been responsible for over a thousand episodes of TV drama. And more recently he produced a feature length thriller for the big screen. Before becoming a writer Neil worked as an actor. For a number of years he was based at Shakespeare’s Globe where he gave workshops on aspects of acting and drama. His creative writing workshops frequently make use of ideas and techniques derived from this experience.
Neil’s School Visits
Neil works with children from KS1 right through to the 6th form and beyond. But his books are most popular with young people in KS2 and KS3.
He offers workshops on all aspects of creative writing – from basic character creation and story writing to more advanced and specialist areas including screenwriting and writing for TV dramas. He has also devised and run a number of more specialist projects and residencies aimed at developing creativity in students who need extra input and encouragement or have become disengaged from the reading and writing process.
There is no upper limit for larger group talks and presentations. If the venue is big enough, Neil will go for it. He has performed in front of audiences of 1000 + and is not intimidated by large crowds.
Most schools want some kind of larger talk/presentation for an assembly or year group followed by a couple of smaller sessions with a class or selected group in a classroom or library space. But if you want a variation on this, Neil is happy to adapt to your requirements
Early years and KS1 – Neil was part of the team that created the BBC’s highly successful Little Robots animated series and can show extracts/episodes of this and talk about the creation of the characters and the stories. He has also written episodes of Kipper the Dog and a number of short stories for bedtime story anthologies which he can talk about and read from.
Most of Neil’s books are read by children in KS2 and KS3
As well as fun filled creative writing workshops based on characters and themes from his books, Neil has extensive experience in devising bespoke workshops geared towards the needs of specialist groups. He has run successful longer term projects too designed to boost the reading and writing skills of children who have fallen behind and become disenchanted and disengaged from books and reading. He has also devised a number of projects to hone and advance the skills of gifted and talented readers and writers. Big Fish, Little Fish, a drama and writing based project (funded by the Cripplegate Foundation and Islington LEA) was devised to prepare children in yr 6 for the move to secondary school and has since been taken up by a number of LEAs around the country.
Neil teaches screenwriting and courses on film-making and writing TV drama at the London Film School and has taught these same skills through workshops in schools, mostly to KS4 and 6th formers who are looking to go on to study for a career in media.
What facilities will Neil need when he visits your school?
For presentations and talks Neil likes to make use of a laptop with access to the internet. This is not essential, but preferred. For very large audiences a PA system is useful. For workshops on aspects of creative writing, scripts and screenwriting, an interactive white board or flipchart with pad and pens is essential. If it’s a writing workshop then children will need paper and pens or pencils.
MacB – relocates the drama of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the school football field. Strikingly original in its approach, it grips boys and girls alike with its engaging characters and situations which disenchanted readers easily identify with. What are the themes? Friendship, school life, mystery and imagination and individual vs society. Teaching points? Excellent way into Shakespeare’s Macbeth – opportunities to compare scenes on the football field with the battle scenes in Macbeth and compare the genres of drama and prose. Gripping story line and thrilling writing style provide plenty of opportunities for shared and guided reading.
Brooksie – Lee’s father is a famous premiership footballer. But after a spectacular fall from grace the family are hounded by the paparazzi and subjected to a media witch hunt. Determined to keep him and his sister out of the spotlight, Lee’s mum spirits them away from the family’s mansion on millionaire row and flees with them to the council estate where she grew up. Here under the anonymity of an assumed identity, Lee tries to build a new life for himself. But it’s a very different world to the privilege he’s been used to….
Flint – Flint lives alone with his dad. His dad is a hard man. His father doesn’t’t allow him to play football. His father doesn’t let him go to school. His father doesn’t like him having contact with anyone… As we are sucked into Flint’s bleak world, the mystery of what drives his father to be the way he is, unravels piece by piece as the story accelerates to its thrilling climax.
Sudden Death – With his father in prison, Flint finds himself in children’s home and a whole new world. A tough world. His longed-for placement with a foster family brings an added bonus – a foster father who is coach for the top local team. But Flint soon discovers things are not as rosy as they seem…
Intelligent Life – If a single savoury nibble can save the world, then surely anything can happen.
Jonathan just wants a straightforward life, but the universe isn’t listening. His mother is convinced he’s a genius, his father is a drunk and his twin brother is the most annoying person on the planet. And as if that weren’t enough, life keeps chucking the unexpected at him.
But when, during a stay at his dad’s, the random moments start to get out of control, Jonathan has to face things head on. The consequences are dramatic.
Fast-paced, anarchic and funny, Intelligent Life keeps the surprises coming, right through to its spectacular and heart-warming end.
Recommendations & Reviews
“Neil enthused and engaged our students – the sight of scores of Year 8 students pleading to hear the next part of ‘Intelligent Life’ is not something I’ll forget in a hurry! Neil is someone who really can raise the profile of reading in a 21st Century secondary school.” Peter Ratcliffe, Longdean College, Herts.
“Neil Arksey is a great story-teller and speaker who establishes an immediate rapport with children. Whether reading to a group of hundreds or running a workshop for thirty, the response is immediate and sustained.” Rik Nowik, Head Teacher, Pilton School, Barnstable, Devon.
“Multi talented and versatile, I can thoroughly recommend Neil Arksey. Great value for money and a terrific performance!” Bridget Bancroft, Organiser, Wessex Schools Literary Festival.
“I highly recommend Neil. His workshops were received with enormous enthusiasm and he left a lingering impression on pupils and staff.” Feanna Drake, Literacy Coordinator, Bishop Lanfranc Secondary School, Croydon.
“I have worked with Neil over the past few years on projects involving boys and writing in Year 3/4 and stimulating creative skills in Year 6. I have found the reaction from children and teachers to be incredibly positive and his work has had an impact on the ‘reluctant’ writers. His passion for writing comes across from the first moment you hear him speak and he develops an excellent relationship with the children that he works with. I am really looking forward to working again with Neil this year.” Barry Read, The RJ Mitchell Primary School
“Neil Arksey’s visit was one of the most popular visitors with pupils and staff alike. Everyone listened intently when he read to them (with an actor’s perfect timing) from his new book, Intelligent Life. And we can’t wait for the sequel so we can invite Neil back for another fun-filled day.” Edyth Miles, King’s School, Winchester
Reviews for Intelligent Life
“Fast-paced, anarchic and funny, intriguing and a lot of fun. If it reminds me of anything, I’d say… Douglas Adams. I’m going to pass it on to my son and get the sequel.” Professor Jon Butterworth of the High Energy Physics group at the Large Hadron Collider.
“This book is like no other – funny, emotional & wacky! It was incredibly entertaining for me!” Leon Butterworth (Jon’s son)
“A major accolade from me – it flowed well and had a great mix of humour and pace… it’s great fun and I wish it every success.” Johnny Ball, veteran TV presenter, maths and science enthusiast.
“Fast-paced, fact-based science fiction – making you smile and think.” Quentin Cooper, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s popular science show ‘Material World’
“Beguiling, cleverly compelling… very readable.” Professor Chris Riley (Science and Media) University of Lincoln.
“I read Intelligent Life cover-to-cover today and I’ve got to say I really enjoyed it! It’s fast-paced and exciting. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.” Dr. Lewis Dartnell, astrobiologist, University College
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Neil, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on 01535 656 015 or email him at email@example.com