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Zella Compton
Zella Compton

All About Zella Compton

Zella Compton is a playwright, author (young adult), columnist, poet, journalist and creative writing tutor. She writes in many styles, and delivers a range of workshops on writing epic stories, epic poetry, and non-fiction, plus bespoke workshops by request including developing curriculum themed plays with students.

As an associate artist of New Theatre Royal’s creative laboratory, Zella writes musicals and plays for the stage including My World (Royal Albert Hall April 2018), How to be a Girl (Houses of Parliament Oct 2017, Brighton Fringe, NTR) Ambition (NTR, Berry Theatre May 2017), Five Beaches, and many others. Her work is extensively published and used internationally by GCSE drama students.

She is a weekly columnist for the Portsmouth News, and writes for newspapers and magazines on a freelance basis. Her first book, The Ten Rules of Skimming (published by Mogzilla) fused graphic illustrations within the text, making a perfect ‘in’ for reluctant readers.

Before writing full time, Zella, a mother of three, taught post and under graduates at Bournemouth University, worked as a teaching and learning assistant at a senior school (English and Drama) and volunteered at her children’s infant school. She knows what makes children tick, and how to get the best out of them in an unusual situation. As well as working for Authors Abroad, Zella teaches creative writing regularly for the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth and has been honoured with three writing residencies – Mary Rose Museum, Havant Literary Festival and Bay House School.

Zella’s Books


The Ten Rules of Skimming

Ever get the shivery feeling that someone’s walking over your grave? They’re not. It’s someone skimming your soul.
Adam finds that skimming brings an amazing rush, but joy riding across minds comes with risks. When he meets Jenny-Ray, he learns about The Board, with their lists of approved hosts to visit. The consequences of disobedience are terrifying, and it’s not long until he is hunted down by the shadowy figures of The Board. Adam has to break all the rules in a battle of wits as he struggles to find out who has taken his missing sister.
Half graphic novel, half book, the story is told with words by Zella Compton and stunning sequential artwork by newcomer Jess Swainson.

Reviews and Recommendations

‘This a just an email to say what a wonderful experience we had with Zella Compton on Nov 28th.  We were writing epic poems and the quality of work that the children produced was in deed EPIC! She has a lovely way with the children and was able through her advice and choice of activities and tasks to really get the children writing imaginatively and creatively! And most of all, getting the children to enjoy the writing they were creating! Thanks for the opportunity to meet her!’ Mrs Debbie Short Assistant Head Mansel Park Primary School

‘Zella has visited our children twice now. The children always have a fantastic time working with her, and come out of her sessions full of excitement and ready to share some quality written work. She is able to provide children with a special and unique experience which really gives them a chance to shine- we look forward to having her back again.’ David Harris, Waterside

“Zella Compton visiting Portchester Community School has been one of the best enrichment activities I’ve personally organised. Zella was very engaging with our students and pitched her presentation appropriately for the age groups. It was a pleasure to see so many students, especially dis-engaged Year 9 boys, asking her questions and even buying copies of Zella’s book. Even months after her visit, students are asking me when she is coming back. I will be definitely asking her back to Portchester again based on the impact she has on our students.” Mr Wood, English Teacher, Portchester Community School (senior)

“Thank you so much for your visit to Crofton yesterday, the Creative Writing group was in awe of you and valued your tuition tremendously. They were particularly thrilled by the section where you focussed on ‘Character Inspiration’; it gave many of them ideas to take forward for their own writing. Overall I think what you achieved with the cross-section of students from different year groups was fabulous. I have informed my Head Teacher of the success and he too was delighted.” Mrs Winkles, English Teacher, Crofton (senior)

“The children (and staff) were thoroughly captivated! Zella was humorous, engaging and presented an extremely educational workshop for our children. They were inspired! They were also motivated as many went back and started writing stories in class that very day!” Mr Dampier, Literacy Manager, Droxford (junior)

“Zella’s passion and talent for writing was a huge asset during our writing sessions to create a school newspaper. She both motivated and inspired the children as well as providing me with some very good ideas for planning. She clearly modelled every stage of the writing process which enabled the children to publish a successful newspaper.” Michaela Beetlestone English Manager Alverstoke Junior School

“Zella’s talk was aimed at A level students approaching their creative writing narrative coursework. The students found the talk entertaining, engaging and inspiring and it helped them plan and craft their final pieces. Many of the students reported afterwards that they hadn’t realised writing was so much fun, and Zella’s tips and ideas had made the process of producing their own work much more interesting.” Mrs Wallace, English Teacher, Portsmouth College

“Thank you so very much for coming to the school on Friday. The girls were totally inspired and had an absolutely wonderful afternoon with you. I, too, loved meeting you and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.” Mrs Webb, Portsmouth (senior)

“Firstly, this incredible author told us about her childhood and it was really interesting to find out what she did when she was younger. Listening closely, everyone was amazed by the secrets behind her new book. It was very motivating.” Freddie Besley (pupil junior)
“It was an inspirational talk and I have more ideas for creative writing now.” Evie Chandler pupil (senior)

“Zella Compton is inspiring and has made me think about a future in writing.” Sara Ahmed pupil (senior)

“She inspired me to carry on in English and to aim for her standards.” Jack Harris (senior)

“I used to only read comics but this book made me want to read proper fiction and start my own book.” Josh Boh (senior)

Book reviews

“The Ten Rules of Skimming is an exciting, action-packed adventure that mixes science fiction, horror, mystery and intrigue that introduces readers to a world where mind jumping is real if not common- it reads like Inception for YA readers!” Teen librarian

“Zella captures the reader’s emotions and even when the book ends doesn’t let them go. This 9/10 read will make you think hard about the minds of psychos, as well as what makes us us. As for me, I’m heading off to watch a cute anime to level out my head.” Nayu’s reading corner

“A gripping and exciting debut novel, perfectly suited to the graphic novel format. It’s a book which draws you in and grips you with its power and imagination and the illustrations convey a dark and sinister feel.” Parents in touch

“The Ten Rules of Skimming is a unique adventure which will grab even the most reluctant young reader. Zella Compton’s debut novel is an animating adventure told through words and a set of impressive illustrations which make the story an irresistible read. Adam Barnes could be any bored teenager until his life takes an exciting twist which takes him places most people can only dream of. Living any schoolboy’s fantasy, he skips through people’s minds from one cliff-hanging chapter to the next, bringing drama, suspense and defiance along the way.” Sam Bannister, the Portsmouth News

“Zella Compton’s first published novel is a dark and imaginative story with an intriguing central premise. What if you could slip into other people’s consciousness, leap from one mind to another? The format is also unusual –like Henry Tumour by Anthony McGowan & Andy Horan, or Slog’s Dad by David Almond & Dave McKean, there are black and white illustrations throughout. These break up the text and give breathing space for some pretty extraordinary ideas. This book would particularly suit older 10+ readers looking for big ideas presented through a mix of text and graphics: it’s not as visual as a graphic novel but far less intimidating than long blocks of text in a more traditional format. Distinctive, interesting and likely to appeal to gamers.” Serendipity Reviews

Reviews of performance poetry

“Zella’s poem about the Mary Rose is a powerful and lyrical imagining of the sinking of the famous flagship, brought to life in vivid and beautifully performed verse. It was also a real pleasure to see a woman performing material that is traditionally more likely to be explored by male writers.” Sarah Cheverton, New Writing South

“I was spell bound by her new poem written for the night.”  Blogger.

“Fabulous performance.” Blogger.

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Zella Compton, 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