Pupils for MacMillan Academy with writer Niel Bushnell and animator Mark Jobe

A year of author events

As the year draws to a close I’m about to complete my last school event of 2014. I’ve done lots of talks, workshops and signings this year so I thought I’d share some highlights with you.

  1. MacMillan Academy, Middlesbrough. I spent a week at the MacMillan Academy helping the pupils develop and write a script for an animated film about climate change. Under the guidance of animator Mark Jobe the pupils designed and animated their script. The completed film has gone on to be short-listed for awards and screened at the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, Kids for Kids UK at the BFI Southbank and will be screened at Hollywood Shorts in Los Angeles this November.
  2. Niel Bushnell author event at The District CE PrimaryThe District CE Primary, Newton-le-Willows. I was thrilled to be asked to be Patron of Reading by the staff at the District CE Primary school. I enjoyed visiting their pupils in September where I was spoilt with cakes in the staff room and a 3D cut-out display of my books in reception!
  3. Read Regional 2014Read Regional is a promotional campaign that connects writers living in the North East and Yorkshire with their local readers. Organised through New Writing North the campaign partners with library authorities throughout the region to hold author events and to ensure brilliant books by northern authors are stocked in libraries. I was very pleased to be included in the 2014 campaign, I visited libraries all over the north of England and met hundreds of enthusiastic readers.
  4. The Avenue Primary School, Middlesbrough.This Tees Valley Arts funded project helped the pupils to create their own story for a play about electricity consumption. Over a series of workshops they brainstormed ideas, developed characters and the story then rehearsed and performed the play.
  5. Niel Bushnell book readingThe Uppsala International Authors Stage, Uppsala City Library, Sweden. This was my second trip to Sweden as an author, having been to the Gothenburg Book Fair in 2013. This time I went to Uppsala at the invitation of Jan from The English Bookshop. He organised three events including a talk and signing at the city library and his bookshop.


And there were so many more I could mention! I did a day of back-to-back talks at St James’ Park football ground in Newcastle for the National Literacy Trust Premier League Reading Stars initiative (and I reversed my car into a bollard outside the stadium!) and a book signing in Waterstones for the launch of Timesmith. But every event has memorable moments, little gems that linger in the mind. Sometimes it’s the amazing unexpected ideas that a pupil will come up with, sometimes it’s the moments of comedy that I shouldn’t be laughing at – a carpet fart by a very young pupil springs to mind, but most of all it’s the genuine excitement and enthusiasm I see for reading when a school brings an author in to visit. Of course I’m bound to tell you how important author visits can be for pupils! But don’t take my word for it. There’s been lots of research done that shows the great benefits of getting authors into schools. You can find some of it here.

Here’s a few recent testimonials:

”Just to say on behalf of Unity City Academy how much we enjoyed this afternoon with Niel Bushnell, the students have come away with some brilliant ideas.”

Janet Dowey, Learning Resource Centre Manager, Unity City Academy, Middlesbrough.

“Niel has definitely inspired some successors to his literary throne and we have even had the questions ‘when is the next book out?’ and ‘is Niel coming back?’ It was a special afternoon and allowed our students access to an opportunity, which they normally would not have access to. Definitely another building block in Manor College’s literacy and reading community – thanks Niel!”

Miss Clark (AST in Literacy), Manor College of Technology, Hartlepool.

“Warwickshire Schools Library Service shortlisted Niel Bushnell’s first novel – Sorrowline – for our 2014 secondary book award. We were thrilled when Niel agreed to attend the celebration ceremony, and he willingly took to the stage, telling three hundred 11 and 12 year olds about his upbringing and writing life. He was a natural at this and thoroughly engaged the audience. He read from his second book and the pupils all eagerly bought copies afterwards. He also worked well with another author at the ceremony whom he had never met before and fielded questions of all kinds from the audience. We’d really recommend him for author visits to schools and libraries!”

Stella Thebridge, Manager, Warwickshire SLS

If your school, library, bookshop or festival is looking for a children’s author then please do get in touch. I’m booking up now for 2015 and keen to meet new readers. For event inquiries please email .


Writer & Artist based in the North East of England.

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