All About Victoria Campbell
Victoria Campbell was born in Glasgow in 1977. She attended first Gryffe High School and then Glasgow University and the University of Stockholm, where she read law. Victoria practiced as a solicitor for eight years and taught law at Glasgow University. She is married and lives in a small village on Scotland’s west coast. Since the publication of her debut novel, Viking Gold, Victoria Campbell has spoken at around 500 schools across the UK and been filmed by Education Scotland speaking to a class of 13 year olds for their Glowvember book festival. She regularly speaks at museums, book festivals and history festivals – the Jorvik Viking Museum, Edinburgh International Book Festival and the National Museum of Scotland being three recent highlights. She likes long road trips, procrastinating and watching TV late into the night when all normal people are asleep.
Victoria’s School Visits
Talks – The top end of primary (yrs 5 & 6) and secondary schools (yr 7 – yr 9).
Workshops – The top end of primary (yrs 5 & 6) and secondary schools (yrs 7 – yrs 13).
A typical school day:
• two one hour talks;
• two creative writing workshops;
• lunchtime Q&A with the school reading group or creative writing group;
• after-school talk with parents, teachers and pupils who didn’t get the chance to meet me during the day.
Talks Yr 5 – Yr 9
This talk can be tailored to appeal to a Yr 5 class who is studying the Vikings as much as a Yr 9 class starting to think critically about literature. It involves a bit about the history surrounding the Vikings and how a writer goes about imagining what it might have been like to live then, a bit about her own writing process, including changing career from a solicitor to an author and some writing tips for bringing a story alive that she’s learned along the way. Victoria’s talks are quite interactive; she brings along replica artefacts (including armour, shield, helmet, axe and sword) and medieval parchment. Victoria endeavours to engender a fun, easy to share environment. These talks are suitable for up to about 150 pupils at a time and last approx 1 hour. (Though they work best with groups of about 60).
Facilities needed: a smartboard or projector plus laptop and a table to display artefacts.
Workshops Yr5 – Adult
The writing workshop is quite hands on – Victoria will get the pupils writing straight away. In view of this, it is best with a smaller group (up to about 35). She uses multi-media, objects and magazine cut-outs to stimulate both class and small group discussion (and writing, of course!). The aim of the workshop is for every pupil to develop a character, give that character a goal and to plot out a story whereby that character will attempt to reach this goal (allowing for set backs, conflict and character development along the way). Time allowing, the three act structure will be discussed, how this is used in books and films, how a character’s aims in life can be used to propel a story, ways to hook a reader from the outset with a killer first line and ways to leave your reader desperate to read more by the effective use of twists and cliff-hangers. The workshop can fit into 1 hour and is suitable for any age.
Facilities needed: a smartboard or projector. Children will require paper, pencils/pens and a desk on which to write.
Master Class Workshop Yr6 +
This is a longer, more involved version of the standard workshop and is tailored to children or adults who are enthusiastic writers. It is especially suited for gifted and talented programmes. In this the participants will look closer at using language to tell a story, they will create their own ‘book’, they will design a book jacket, write a blurb and provide ‘puff quotes’ for their classmates works. At the end of this workshop, pupils will have met all the outcomes of the standard workshop, but will have written more of their story (typically 3 – 4 pages), and will have a mini-booklet to take home as a keepsake. Typically lasts 2 – 3 hours.
Facilities needed: smartboard or projector plus laptop. The participants will require paper, pens/ pencils (including coloured pencils/ felt tips), coloured paper for their book jackets, desks, and some samples from the library of popular books (to aid with design ideas). When this event is run for adults/older teens, there is less emphasis on designing a booklet, although market placing and book design is still discussed.
Q&A Session Yr 5+
An informal lunch, interval or after school session with the school reading or creative writing group. Victoria will talk for about five minutes, introducing herself and her work. Pupils are then free to ask as many questions as they wish. Usually the conversation is so involved that everyone is still chatting away as the bell goes. Typical topics covered are: the publishing industry, how to get published, what books to read, ways of improving your writing, tips and techniques for writing, ways to stop a story getting boring, how to finish a story, how to prevent a story loosing its way, how to write a cover letter and how to get work experience in the publishing industry. She will provide a tip sheet for pupils to take away.
Facilities required: None, but cake would be nice.
After-School Talk – All ages
Similar to the earlier talk, but tailored to appeal to adults as well as children, with a little more emphasis on the publishing industry, the writing process and looking at history in a ‘novel’ way
No one will tell 16-year-old Redknee how, or why, his father died.
Now his Uncle is Jarl and he wants Redknee to be a great Viking warrior. But Redknee is clumsy and more interested in tracking the wild deer of the forest. When brutal warlord Ragnar attacks the village seeking a mysterious book and kills Redknee’s mother, the young Viking swears to take his vengeance. His journey will take him through hill and valley, through stormy seas and volcanic islands far beyond the reckoning of his people.
But this is not the first time the book has woven its spell. Will its strange tales of a land filled with treasure distract Redknee from seeking his revenge? Or does the book itself hold the key to Redknee’s past… and his future.
One thing is certain, all Vikings must travel far… only the lucky few return.
V. Campbell’s debut novel is a thrilling tale of action and adventure, of love and loss and the power of an unlikely friendship; join Redknee as he seeks out his destiny on the shores of what some call the Promised Land.
Northern France, One thousand years ago:
A killer on the loose.
A castle under siege.
A girl running for her life.
Sixteen year old Redknee’s problems are just beginning: when he arrives at the newly built Castle Falaise looking for the beautiful but headstrong Sinead, he finds her determined to marry the ruthless Prince Halfdan. Unable to convince her the rumours about the death of Halfdan’s first wife are true, Redknee takes a post with the garrison.
But Prince Halfdan has powerful enemies. Northern France is in a state of lawlessness: robber barons terrorise the countryside while Viking raiders lay waste to the coast. When Castle Falaise is stormed in the night and Halfdan imprisoned, Redknee agrees to help defend the castle, and its inhabitants, against Halfdan’s vengeful family.
Catapults, siege engines, mangonels, boiling pitch and murder holes are just some of the weapons and tactics used to stave off the attackers. But when the body of a young monk is found inside the castle, a cryptic note pinned to his chest, it is clear a killer stalks the halls of Castle Falaise. A killer, it seems to Redknee, with a secret to guard. A secret threatened by Redknee’s very presence.
In a time of treachery, when death often seems closer than life, which danger will prove the greater? That without, or that within?
Reviews and Recommendations
“Am LOVING Viking Gold!!!” Stephanie, Children’s Bookseller, Waterstone’s, George St, Edinburgh
“A thoroughly enjoyable adventure story that keeps the reader turning the page.” Undiscovered Scotland
“I really enjoyed Viking Gold. Every chapter seems to leave you on a knife edge, brilliant. Well done!” Diane Wright, Schools’ Librarian, Northumberland Council
“I purchased Viking Gold when you came to my school (Albyn) and I have just finished it! I really enjoyed reading it and cannot wait for the sequel. Please keep on writing!” Zak Davis, age 12
“My dad bought me your book for Christmas. I hate reading, I’ve never managed to read a full book since I was 12, but managed to read through yours and can’t wait ‘til the next one comes out!” Saul Aulvas, age 15
“My son bought your book at Cumbernauld High last week. He really enjoyed your talk and is loving your book.” Louise Chambers, School Librarian
“A really enjoyable read.” Russell Leadbetter, Evening Times
“This book is wonderful!”Anne Hollyfield, Librarian, The American School, Cobham, London
“You signed a copy of ‘Viking Gold’ in Milngavie for me last weekend. I am very pleased to say I soared through your novel as soon as I got home and I’d finished it is just over 1 day! From the very first page, your story had me hooked and I loved every minute of it! The amount of work and detail that you put into the book was amazing, you must have done so much research! You couldn’t have created better characters, and I honestly can’t wait to find out what happens in the next instalment! This really is one of the best books I have ever read.” Alex Ewing, age 14, The High School of Glasgow
“Just finished Viking Gold, and I adored it! How long till the second one is published? I don’t think I can wait!” Bethany Wilan, age 17, Manchester
Picked this up because I luckily walked instore during the signing. Glad I did, this book rivals Harry Potter for the 1st place in children’s fantasy, but it also has tackles many important issues as well, such as religion, slavery, and even the protagonist’s family issues. As the story progresses the characters mature and the reader becomes attached to Redknee and his companion Sinead, as well as the other characters involved, and they also develop a loathing for the story’s antagonist Ragnar. Strongly recommend going to your nearest Waterstones and picking up a copy now! Craig Burns, age 15, Park Mains High School, Bishopton
“A most enjoyable read and I look forward to the next one.” Simon Radcliffe, Children’s Librarian, Edinburgh Central Library
“One of the pupils who bought Viking Gold (at your talk) came to me the next day enthusing about the book. He said he didn’t normally like reading but he couldn’t put Viking Gold down – he’d read half of it already!” Julie Needham, Librarian, Bablake School, Coventry
‘Thanks for the excellent talk you gave last night… Despite the disparity of ages, I really felt you pitched it just right and everyone enjoyed it. I know I did, it was really fascinating.’ Simon Radcliffe, Children’s Librarian, City of Edinburgh
‘Thank you so much for the visit to Merchiston. The boys and staff really enjoyed both the sessions and the younger boys have really benefited from your enthusiasm and knowledge at the beginning of their study of the Vikings.
Please do let me know when your next book is to be published and if you would like to visit us again.’ Julia Williams, Librarian, Merchiston School, Edinburgh
‘It was really lovely to meet you on Tuesday and to share such a fun day talking about Vikings and writing! The students certainly enjoyed it and many are avidly reading your book now.’ Sally Dring, Librarian, Ripon Grammar
‘It was great to meet you and I just want to say a big thank you from St Columba’s for yesterday’s visit! We had a brilliant afternoon and it was a great way to ease the pupils into S2. You have created a real buzz about Viking Gold, good luck with the sequel – we can’t wait to get it! I have also raved about your visit to every librarian and teacher I know!’ Anne Carle, librarian, St Columba’s High School, Dunfermline
‘Thank you for coming to our school and for delivering brilliant talks to our S1 pupils and for taking the creative writing workshop with our S3 class. Many of the pupils have said today how much they enjoyed your visit. I look forward to meeting you again when you visit with your sequel!’ Elaine Brazendale, Librarian, Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen
‘Thank you very much for your talk this morning. The children obviously enjoyed themselves and it gave them something very different to their normal class visit.’ Mark Annis, librarian, Cramlington library
‘Thank you so much for visiting our school today. The students have been coming to see me to say how much they enjoyed your talk.’ Helen Taylor, librarian, Bourne Community College
‘Thank you so much for your visit the other day, the students really enjoyed meeting you and have not stopped talking about you since!’ Cathryn Rahaman, The Regis School, Bognor Regis
‘Thank you so much for the wonderful day today. The students enjoyed it very much and Sue and I got some great ideas for creative writing. I was quite serious when i suggested that you give workshops to teachers on the writing process and on ideas for getting students in to writing. I think they would be very successful. In fact, I talked to the head of the primary school and she has suggested having you back again next year on a day backing on to one of our professional development days so that you could stay for a second day and work with teachers. I also think that you would have a lot to say that would be relevant to our older students in upper secondary. I was impressed by the fact that you didn’t talk down to the students, used some challenging vocabulary and quoted writers that they might not know yet but would encounter later. I also think that the historical element was well presented and gave them a real feel for the Vikings as people who had actually lived, rather than being the dry, historical figures of their history texts. They were certainly excited about Vikings after their session with you. I hope to be in contact with you soon about a return visit. P.S. We sold every copy of your book and will be ordering more!’ Susan Merrick, Upper School and Subscriptions Librarian, American Community School, Egham, Surrey
‘Victoria Campbell talked enthusiastically about her debut novel ‘Viking Gold’. As well as reading from the novel, she explained about the historical background and highlighted a lot of interesting facts about the Vikings. She illustrated her talk with slides and artefacts such as a replica sword helmet and sheepskin parchment. The 60+ pupils (not top set) paid full attention and those I spoke to all said they enjoyed it. One boy (Mario Veroni) says his mum takes him to the book festival every year and that Victoria’s talk was the sort of event he would enjoy attending.’ Chris Morrison, librarian, Linlithgow Academy, Linlithgow
‘We were extremely fortunate to have Victoria Campbell, author of Viking Gold, participate in our ‘off the page’, Stirling Book Festival. Victoria kept over 100 S1 (Yr7) pupils at Bannockburn High School enthralled with Viking tales and left them wanting to hear more of Redknee’s adventures. Very much looking forward to the sequel!!!!’ Deborah Hamilton, Off the Page Book Festival, Stirling
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Victoria Campbell, 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