Children’s author inspires Peterborough pupils with crime and mystery writing workshop

Children’s author Dave Cousins has teamed up with the National Literacy Trust and the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) to bring his crime and mystery writing workshop to St Augustine’s CofE (VA) Junior School in Woodston, Peterborough, and gift each participating pupil with a free book.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 2:28 pm
Dave Cousins
Dave Cousins

Dave, the author and illustrator of 15 Days Without A Head and Charlie Merrick’s Misfits, gave Year 5 pupils at the school access to his online workshop which consisted of a series of fun and creative activities which gave a flavour of what it is like to develop and write a crime and mystery story.

Dave is a lifelong fan of crime and mystery stories and his digital workshop is being run in support of the Ruth Rendell Award. The award was launched in 2016 by the National Literacy Trust and ALCS in honour of crime writer Ruth Rendell and is given to the author or writer who has made the biggest difference to literacy in the UK in the past year.

The winner for 2020 was poet and hip hop artist Karl Nova.

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In the workshop Dave shared his journey to becoming a writer from his dreams of walking on the moon to drawing comics in his bedroom. The session included a quiz, writing, illustrating, character developing and even some code breaking, all building up to challenge the pupils to go and write their own crime and mystery story.

Dave also read part of his latest novel, A Robot Ate My Grandma, and each pupil received a copy to take home and to keep.

The school was also granted a follow-up session where Dave will answer questions and offer feedback on the work created.

Dave’s crime and mystery workshop is available to a school in each of the National Literacy Trust’s hub areas across the country.

His visit to St Augustine’s CofE Junior School was supported by Peterborough Reads which is delivered in partnership with Peterborough City Council.

Launched in 2014, Peterborough Reads works with a range of partners to promote reading and writing and to improve literacy levels in the city. The campaign focuses on ensuring children are ready to start school and improving the transition between primary and secondary school to improve pupils’ literacy.

Dave said: “I really enjoy sharing tips to help young people get creative and write their own stories. I’ve always been a huge fun of crime and mystery books so was delighted to team up with the National Literacy Trust and ALCS to create this workshop.

“I certainly had a lot of fun creating it and I hope that Year 5 at St Augustine’s CofE Junior School had fun taking part. I can’t wait to read their stories!”

Mr Corbino, Year 5 teacher, said: “What a fantastic opportunity for our children to participate in. They were both engaged and inspired by the workshop.”

Dasha, a Year 5 pupil, said: “I really enjoyed hearing the helpful writing tips from Dave because I love writing stories at home.”

Jacob, who is also in Year 5, said: “I love the book and even better that I got to take it home. I now want to get the other books in the series.”

For more information on the Ruth Rendell Award visit: literacytrust.org/ruth-rendell-award.

For more information about Peterborough Reads, visit: Peterboroughreads.org.uk.