All About Peter Spafford
Peter Spafford has been writing professionally for twenty five years. His work has been performed in theatres, cathedrals, museums, arts centres, day centres, streets, schools, on television and on the radio. He writes scripts for stage and for radio, for musicals and operas, as well as poetry and short fiction. He performs his own poetry and songs to live audiences all over the country and has led creative writing sessions in all kinds of venues from Albanian schools to British prisons. He is also a radio presenter, producing programmes that champion the work of young and local writers. Peter started his professional life as an actor and is a vocalist and keyboard player with three bands.
‘As a performer, Peter Spafford asserts a passionate love of life’. Headingley litfest blog
In all the work he does, Peter’s aim is to embolden young people, make them braver with words and to encourage them to explore the full potential of language. He passionately believes that before we speak, put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, we must learn to listen. Reading is just another way of listening to the stories that surround us in the world. Peter also believes that the profession of ‘writer’ is often too narrowly defined. Writers write all kinds of stuff, from novels through to the words on the backs of cereal packets. If you love words, it’s all out there for you!
Peter has held numerous residencies in schools, prisons, young offenders institutions, social work agencies and museums (including The Royal Armouries, Leeds). His play about Alzheimers Disease toured nationally five times. He has written seven radio plays for BBC Radio 4 and is currently Director of Words at East Leeds FM. With jazz musician Richard Ormrod, he performs at arts and literature festivals all over the country.
Peter’s School Visits
Peter Spafford is a versatile writer and is able to lead sessions across a variety of forms: script-writing, poetry, song-writing and oral storytelling. He can work with small groups or whole classes, has worked with both keen and reluctant writers and welcomes the opportunity to work with big themes, for instance: ‘Dreams and Aspirations’, ‘Change’ and ‘Walls and Bridges’ (see below). He has worked with most age groups, but particularly enjoys writing with years 4, 5, and 6. He is happy to work with teachers to tailor his input to particular groups or themes.
Peter is happy to work with up to three different groups in one day, or to do an entire day with one group or class.
A whole day will probably include:
A fun warm-up in which words are seen to be like wet clay, to be smacked together or put in unfamiliar order to convey new meanings.
The exploration of a theme with writing exercises and discussion.
The telling of a story to the group.
The writing of the lyrics and music to an entirely new song created by the children.
Peter is also able, by negotiation with the school, to record highlights of the writing, edit the results and provide the school with a souvenir CD.
Examples of workshops
All Change (full day) is a writing project for upper key stage 2 exploring transition and change.
‘Change is the only constant in life’. That’s never been more true and not just for young people. change can be unsettling or inspiring, terrifying or exhilarating. All Change provides the space for children to express, explore and clarify some of the complex emotions surrounding change and specifically transition – through creative writing.
In All change, children will have the opportunity to write, read their work out and record their words.
Children will work individually, in pairs and in teams – to create poems, group stories, chants and songs.
Children will reflect on big feelings – searching for and finding, the words to express themselves in vibrant, resonant language.
Walls and Bridges (full day) is a writing project for upper key stage 2 exploring communication.
What are walls made of? Are walls useful, or do they just keep other people out?
Some cities have been cut into sections by walls of brick, concrete, or wire. But what about our own city: are there places we can’t go, people we’re not allowed to meet? Perhaps there are other barriers, made of silence, of unspoken rules. Walls and bridges provides the space for young people to explore these complex questions through poetry, drama, script and song.
In walls and bridges, children will encounter and re-tell the stories of real people living in communities divided by walls: Berlin, Palestine and Derry.
Working together, children will create poems, stories and songs that express their concerns and ideals about living here, now, in their own city.
In walls and bridges, children will create dramatic scenarios that explore the different ways we make bridges or open up communication with other people and different communities.
Poem Portraits (half day) is a writing project exploring self-image.
How are we seen by other people – by strangers, by friends and family? Does how we are seen make us behave in a certain way? How do we wish to be seen?
This is a chance for each pupil to define how they truly wish to be seen by creating a brand new self-portrait using both poetry (and photography – optional).
During the session, children will write a self-portrait in words, plus a poem portrait of a relative or friend.
Reviews and Recommendations
“It really helped me think about change – and to practice for it.” Owen, Year 6
“I’ve got a lot more confident in writing. I have ideas of my own now too.” Shania, Year 5
“The invisible kids began to shine. Boys who thought they were too cool to write are now doing it”. Brian Williams, Deputy Head, Rawthorpe Junior School, Huddersfield
“It has made part of his time in school happy. She makes a lot of it unhappy. A feat of pure genius. She hated writing and now she wants to do it”. Penny Kingston, Year 6 teacher, Honley Junior School
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Peter Spafford, 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