All About William Hussey
William is the author of seven books and his latest one, Jekyll’s Mirror, published in January, 2015, has been nominated for The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. His other books are the acclaimed Witchfinder trilogy and the supernatural thriller Haunted (‘A nail-biting chiller’, Michael Grant, author of the best selling Gone series), as well as shorter works The Nightmare Eater and Turn Her Face to the Wall. Inspired by comic books and detective stories, he started writing at any early age and trained as a solicitor before gaining a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. Alongside Terry Pratchett, he was a finalist in the BRIT Writer of the Year Award in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Award for Witchfinder.
In the past 5 years, William has gained incredible experience going around the country talking to schools, book groups, libraries and community groups involved with young people. His foremost aim as a writer is to get children reading and excited about their own stories. To this end, he has created four tailor-made, fun and interactive events focused on writing, reading and history.
William’s School Visits
1. The ‘What If?’ Writing Workshop:
An interactive journey through the writing process. With full guidance and encouragement, pupils come up with their own idea for a story which they then develop into a narrative driven by a strong main character. At the end of a PowerPoint presentation and a batch of group exercises focused on plot, characterisation and setting, the class will be ready to start writing their own short stories and novels! (A version of this workshop has been designed specifically for years 5 & 6 primary).(NB: primary Workshops are based on a flexible format and usually take an hour and half).
2. The Gothic Masterclass:
Designed for students in years 7, 8 and 9 (and 6th form) who are studying elements of Gothic fiction, this masterclass also provides excellent material for English lessons in general. Complete with thrilling PowerPoint presentation, this educational exploration of the history, themes and great writers of the genre includes the fun and interactive Dracula vs Van Helsing quiz. Aimed at assembly-size audiences, it incorporates an introduction to the life of a writer, a dramatic reading from Haunted and a lively Q&A session.
The plot of William’s latest book, Jeykll’s Mirror, centres around cyber-bullying among teenagers and in the school environment. He will add an additional 15 minute section to the Gothic Masterclass (which discusses Jekyll and Hyde) in which he will address the issue of cyber-bullying.
William completed extensive research into this area – interviewing victims, families of victims and former bullies. He will give children advice and insights into the subject and leaving them with places online where they or their friends can receive help if they are being bullied. He will also discuss with groups/assemblies the temptations and serious potential consequences of cyber-bullying.
Jeykyll’s Mirror also includes an Advice section as well as Reading Group Notes relevant for classes studying Jekyll and Hyde/Gothic fiction and classes discussing the problem of cyber-bullying.
3. The Witchfinder Experience:
Designed for assembly-size audiences, this Horrible Histories-style event includes a memorable reading from the Witchfinder books and an introduction to the life of a writer. We then move on to a fully interactive recreation of a 17th Century Witch Trial in which students play major roles. Funny and informative, the session provides a great introduction to Civil War history and, in the final moments, draws parallels with the modern issue of bullying. The session concludes with a Q&A.
4. An Evening Of Ghost Stories (optional):
A brand new idea designed in response to teachers asking for an after-schools event that might bring parents into the school and engage them more with school life. This spooky, thrilling evening, designed around traditional ghost stories, allows the school the opportunity for other activities and announcements while fostering parent interest in their child’s education.
• Ideally, each session is 50 mins – 1 hr.
(NB: Primary Workshops are based on a flexible format and usually take an hour and half)
• Requirements for all sessions: a laptop hooked up to a projector screen.
• All sessions described above are intended for secondary schools, ideally years 7 and 8. The What If? Writing Workshop has a version specifically designed for primary years 5 & 6 and includes a reading from The Nightmare Eater and an Author Q&A. William is happy to talk to GCSE and A-Level students who might be studying Gothic fiction as part of their course.
• Any combination of events can be booked, but ideally a day ought to start with either the Gothic Masterclass or Witchfinder Experience assembly, followed by two or three What If? Writing Workshops. The assemblies can accommodate any size groups (William has experience of festivals with up to 500 children!) but the creative workshops work best with no more than around 30 pupils. The Ghost Stories event for early evening can be tagged onto the day for a small extra charge.
Jekyll’s Mirror – Nominated for The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016
‘Sam is a tortured soul, but his darkest hour is yet to come, when he’s invited to take part in ‘Project Hyde’. A new social networking site where users can enjoy total anonymity . . . it’s exhilarating at first, until Sam notices that the other users are becoming obsessed with the program . . . addicted to the cruelty they are inflicting online. Sam watches with a growing sense of horror as his classmates turn into something unrecognisable.
For the truth behind Project Hyde is this: it doesn’t simply change who you are, it changes What you are.
One click away from Evil’s new domain. Are you ready to face the truth?’
Listed in The Telegraph’s Best Young Adult Books 2015 – please click on this link for details.
‘An amazing read. A creeping thriller story that tackles the issue of cyber-bullying head on.’ – Alex Scarrow, author of the Time Riders series
‘A nail-biting chiller, which will leave readers begging for more. Be prepared for some sleepless nights.’ – Michael Grant, author of the bestselling GONE series
‘I felt at home in this scary world: I wish I’d written this book myself!’ – Joseph Delaney, author of the bestselling SPOOK’S APPRENTICE
‘A nail-biting chiller, which will leave readers begging for more. Be prepared for some sleepless nights.’Michael Grant, author of Gone.
Milton Lake is a seemingly ordinary town, where tales of hauntings and strange goings on ripple beneath the surface. When a mysterious boy comes to town and moves into a large, derelict house, all alone, his arrival changes everything.
Shrouded in secrecy, he senses a kindred spirit in Emma Rhodes, and reveals to her a shocking truth.
Someone in Milton Lake is using the fabled Ghost Machine to call the spirits of the dead back to our world. Now it is up to these two lost souls to find out who is operating the strange invention before it is too late . . .
For call by call, the dead will be unleashed.
The Nightmare Eater
Imagine your very worst fear. The kind of fear that visits you in the middle of the night and leaves you gasping for breath. The kind of fear you keep buried deep, deep down.
Tomasz Kaczmarek knows all about that kind of fear. And he’s about to find out what happens when your very worst fears come true…
Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide
‘William Hussey’s ‘Witchfinder’ is this year’s strongest contender for the “new Harry Potter” prize’ SFX
The Demontide is coming
And Jake Harker is the only one who can stop it…
When a violent storm rages around the little village of Hobarron’s Hollow, a young boy is sacrificed ‘for the greater good’. His blood is used to seal a mystical doorway and prevent an apocalyptic disaster known only as the Demontide. Twenty-five years later, another boy, Jake Harker, is about to be drawn into the nightmare of the Demontide. Witches and their demon familiars stalk his every move, and his dreams are plagued by visions of a 17th Century figure known only as the Witchfinder. When his father is abducted, Jake must face the terrible secrets kept by those closest to him and a shocking truth that will change his life forever ..
‘Cleverly crafted, this is a masterful horror story that will chill readers to the bone.’ JULIA ECCLESHARE, Lovereading4kids
‘A dark fiction for teens that will leave them wanting more!’ SYFY CHANNEL
Witchfinder 2: Gallows at Twilight
‘I felt at home in this scary world; I wish I’d written this book myself!’ JOSEPH DELANEY, author of the bestselling ‘Spook’s Apprentice’
Human will fight demon
The past will battle the future
Jake Harker will become the enemy…
The Demon Father has escaped from hell and walks among us, his trident symbol branded into the earth in countries all over the world. A scorching beacon. A call to arms. A sign that war is coming. Meanwhile, Jake is struggling to harness his powers and live up to his reputation as the boy who closed the demon door. But now he must push all doubt aside. To stop the Demon Father Jake must change the course of history – embark on a treacherous journey deep into the past and into another dimension, filled with horror and pain.’
‘A pulsating story with a depth of imagination and scope that is truly mind-blowing.’ Lancashire Evening Post
Witchfinder 3: The Last Nightfall
The Age of Man is over
Dark creatures wait to be unleashed
The Demontide is here…
‘The much anticipated final chapter’ Blackpool Gazette
The future of humankind rests on Jake’s shoulders. His only hope is to close the demon door forever by harnessing the power of the witchball. But the demon, Pinch, holds it in hell. He waits for a witch with enough darkness in their heart to summon him back to earth.
Jake must travel to hell and back to stop the demon and save a stranded soul. All the while, a strange voice that is his, but not his, is getting louder in Jake’s head. A truth as old as time has been hidden deep within in him and it is slowly forcing its way to the surface…
Turn Her Face to the Wall
Turn Her Face to the Wall is a free short story so chilling, it is sure to leave your blood running cold. In this creepy tale, the twist comes with the very last word…
Reviews and Recommendations
‘On behalf of the whole school, but particularly the English department: We all thoroughly enjoyed your visit and learned a huge amount about putting together our own stories from your workshops. And the Gothic event was a lot of fun too. I had a lot of kids asking on Wednesday if you were still here, and disappointed faces when I said no. They loved having a real writer around. All the staff were very positive about your sessions too, and many commented on what a friendly chap you were. It was great working with you, and I’m glad you were so flexible, so approachable and so comfortable with the students.’ Tim Appleton – Librarian, The British School, Bucharest
‘William was excellent; his sessions were focused, inspiring and entertaining. All year groups gained an enormous amount and he set the students good challenges for their creative writing. The historical and social context was also interesting and stimulating. William threw himself into the experience and he gave his time very willingly throughout the day to field individual queries and questions. I would ask him back without a moment’s hesitation.’ Paul Chapman Jennings – Head of English, The British School, Bucharest
‘My Year 6 group really enjoyed the session, although the sheer number of students meant that it was not quite as interactive as William would have liked. More sessions with smaller groups will work better in the future. However, overall it was a very successful event and the students appreciated Will’s advice and discussions. Afterwards they were very enthusiastic to start writing and Will has very kindly agreed to look at some of their work in the coming weeks. We would highly recommend a visit from William Hussey as a way to increase students’engagement with and enjoyment of writing. Maybe we can see him again in the future!’ Peter Ennion – Key Stage 2 and Literacy Co-rdinator, The Bristish School, Bucharest
‘A hush descended on the audience within seconds of William’s opening words, and by the time he began reading a passage from one of his novels, there was not a sound to be heard in the College Chapel. I have never seen so many 11 & 12 year olds quite so engaged before, and the clichéd phrase that ‘they were on the edge of their seats’ could not be more apt. The Witchfinder Event sparked a sequence of intelligent and thoughtful questions from the students, all of which William was able to answer in a way that provided useful insights to the writer’s craft and his own background. We will certainly be booking him again next year; the students are already anticipating the possibility of attending William’s creative writing workshop!’ Nik Waight, St George’s College, Surrey
‘It takes a great deal to hold 200 secondary students spellbound. This William Hussey did last Thursday at Haven High. His reading had many students’ mouths agape! The re-enactment of the Witch Trial was informative and entertaining. A thoroughly enjoyable and engaging afternoon for all, it certainly gave me, as a Drama teacher, useful stimuli for future lessons.’ Terry Patman, Haven High Technology College, Boston.
‘I wanted to thank you so much for the event you held at our school. It was much appreciated by the students and me. Year 7 and I are reading the first book and having amazing conversations about it. It is so refreshing to have these types of interactions in the lunch queue and around the school! You have inspired a new generation of authors.’ Lesley Baker, Assistant Head Teacher, Rokeby School
‘The events to coincide with the launch of the second book in the Witchfinder series were well prepared and flawlessly “executed”. It was a pleasure to see such enthused and engaged pupils. William Hussey comes highly recommended!’ John Newman, Newham Bookshop
‘A great mixture of emotive reading and interactive drama for the students to enjoy and they were all left with an enthusiasm for creative writing. It has been a long time since I have seen a visiting author capture the students’ imaginations so thoroughly.’ Anne Coleman, North Kesteven School
‘Our main event during our Annual Reading Week was a visit from ‘Witchfinder’ author William Hussey. The lights were dimmed, adding a mysterious atmosphere, before the Witch Trial began – the audience were gripped! We have never seen Year 7 so quiet! Hands shot up during the question and answer session. We have had endless requests for a return visit from the students, and we are hoping to get William to come back to spend a day doing creative writing workshops with us.’ Vicki Geeson, Librarian, The Priory Ruskin Academy.
Quotes from children at St George’s College, Surrey:
‘When William Hussey presented his books to our school, I was thoroughly amazed. I enjoyed the way he performed his work and when he read out one of his books it just glued you to the spot.’ Alex House
‘It was engrossing. I was completely absorbed in the talk. Honestly, I was concentrating so much I had to order one of his books straight after.’ Min Kyu Park
‘It really inspired me to hear such great writing tips from a real writer. When he was reading a really exciting part of his story, his vocabulary was excellent. I think that both of his books have a really good plot and it lead to lots of interesting questions and answers after the presentation.’ James Guy
‘I think that William’s presentation was very exciting and enthusiastic, full of enjoyable, interesting facts. William very clearly told us about the olden days and how gruesome some of the things they did were. Overall it was a very fun presentation that I enjoyed.’ Alex Shellard
Quotes from children at Linton Village College, Cambridge:
‘I loved the reading as it was exciting. The witch trial was brilliant.’ Erik, Year 7
‘William Hussey was very enthusiastic and gave great advice about how to become an author. The reading was exciting and made me want to buy the book. I have the first two Witchfinder books now and can’t wait to read them. Next week is half-term, so I will be kept busy! Noah, Year 7
‘The reading was interesting and scary at the same time! William Hussey read it really well and did not even have to read from the book. He had memorised it!’ Farhan, Year 7
‘I liked everything about the reading. William Hussey has a great imagination and my friends and I are reading ‘Dawn of the Demontide.’ Jamiul, Year 7
‘An inspirational experience for our Year 7 students. Both staff and students were hanging on William’s every word… It’s a testament to William’s presentation that the students inundated him with questions after the talk, and were fervent to obtain his book, autograph and a group picture. I would definitely recommend other schools to take up this fantastic opportunity.’ Lucy Smith, Learning Resource Administrator, Carre’s Grammar School
Quotes from children at Carre’s Grammar School:
‘The talk was quite simply, brilliant. The reading from the ‘Witchfinder’ book was very exciting and the expression he put into it made it even more enjoyable. I also liked the role play he got some students to do, which was entertaining. All round, the talk was (in my words) awesome!’ Joshua, age 12
‘I really enjoyed the visit by William Hussey. I found his talk interesting and I learnt a lot about witches. The extract from his book sounded excellent and I am intrigued to know what happens next!’ Fraser, age 11
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about William Hussey, 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
Further information on William Hussey is available from his website:http://www.williamhussey.co.uk
Or find him on Facebook (William Hussey) and on Twitter (@WHusseyAuthor)