SCHOOL VISITS AND EVENTS
"Brilliant! An inspiring performance that really engaged the students."
Janet Rothwell, LRC Manager, Langley Grammar School
WE ALL HAVE A STORY TO TELL
Dave Cousins Author Events
Join me on my journey to becoming an author! From dreams of joining the NASA space program and making comics in my bedroom, to writing songs and playing in a band (who were "almost famous!")—plus lots of reading and writing in between. Along the way, I reveal some of the true events that inspired my stories, and how learning to "sleep-type" helped me finish my first novel.
My author events have been described as "stand-up–with books", or as one year seven student put it: "well funny!" A mix of anecdotes, pictures, readings and leaping about. The underlying message is that we all have a story to tell, and if one ordinary bloke from Birmingham can achieve his childhood dream—anyone can!
I also offer writing workshops to help students generate and develop story ideas. These include tips on how to get their
stories down on paper, and what to do if they get stuck. The workshops are mixed ability and incorporate group brainstorms and individual mini writing tasks.
In my drawing workshops I outline the process used for the Charlie Merrick books, then share a few simple tricks for creating different characters and expressions, and show how drawing a character can suggest story ideas. For students who think they can't draw, I demonstrate how everyone can tell a story using simple stick people and the secret of the "magic eyebrows"! In the comic drawing sessions, pupils learn the basic storytelling blocks and create their own single page comic adventure.
Sessions last approximately one hour, including time for questions, though timing can be adjusted to suit school schedules and special requirements (up to four sessions in one day – can be a mix of talks and workshops). I'm always happy to spend time signing books and postcards, and bring free postcards to every event so that all students can take away a signed souvenir.
"Seeing 200 faces rapt, involved and amused by
Dave talking about his inspiration for writing was a joy. Introducing them to new books in such a lively manner will undoubtedly lead to more reading enjoyment."
Hilary Sutton, Librarian, Bishop Stopford School, Northamptonshire
"Dave Cousins was funny and energetic, engaging
with the year 7s and holding their attention for the whole hour. They were so inspired that we sold out of his books and have had to buy many more copies for the library. Thank you so
Susannah Phillips, Librarian, Skinners'
"Dave Cousins was very generous with his time and made some really honest comments about being a writer – something that is always valued by students. It was a very useful experience with some great insights being offered for all budding writers."
Louise Sautschak, Librarian, Northwood School
IDEAS FOR EXPLORING THE BOOKS WITH STUDENTS …
"I really like the way Dave told us stories about his family and how different events in his life have led to him becoming a writer." Chipaka Henry
Chipaka Henry, Skinners' Academy,
FREE WRITING TIPS to download …
When visiting schools I'm always impressed by the number of students who are working on their own stories. I'm often asked for
writing tips, so I collected 15 of my favourites into a handy slideshow. It's FREE to download in a variety of formats below. I hope you find them
"I thought the way he talked about how hard
he had to work to become a writer, living in his attic and writing for years before getting published was inspiring."
Souheib Benfetouha, Skinners' Academy,
A few event photos from my travels …
In March I visited Langley Grammar School in Slough to talk to students from Year Seven, Eight and Nine about 15 Days Without a Head and my journey to
becoming an author.
A few weeks later an enormous envelope of cards, drawings, poems and cartoons arrived in the post. To say it made my day would be an understatement! I was so bowled over and impressed by the creativity on display I had to share it.
Huge thanks to all the staff at students at the school for making me so welcome on the day, and for taking the time to send me these …
"Thank you for visiting our school. It was really interesting about how you became an author. Your story has really inspired us to fight for the things we want in life."
Faiza, Nousheen, Marium and Ayswarya, Langley Grammar School
"You were very funny. I especially liked the fact that you acted out what you said. I found this very effective and interesting."
Mohinder and Rickweer, Langley Grammar School
Earlier in the year I visited Our Lady's Convent High School and Clapton Girls' Academy in East London as part of the Pop-Up Festival Booklinks Project. Here is some of the fantastic work students at Our Lady's produced prior to my visit. Below that is a short film about another excellent Pop-Up Booklinks project I was lucky enough to be involved with. See if you can spot me!