My name is Julie Irwin and I was born in east London in 1964. I am now based in Essex.
I spent many years trying to get anything at all published, but finally found success in 2010 with the publication by Catnip of my first children's novel Edwin Spencer Mission Improbable. The sequel Edwin Spencer Shadow Magic came out in 2011, and the final part of the trilogy Edwin Spencer Spirit World was released in June 2014.
The Edwin Spencer books are fantasy adventures set in the weird, wonderful and magical kingdom of Hysteria. The plots are mysterious and complex - and sometimes very dark - but the stories are laced with a very large dollop of humour. Non-achiever Edwin is paired with monumental know-it-all Perpetua Allbright; together with novice wizard Bellwin they try to save Hysteria from their sworn ememy, the Umbrians.
About my events ...
My school 'author events' last an hour and are about ideas and fun. I'll chat about reading and writing, tell a little of my own history and read from one of my novels. However, the main event is the parallel worlds game: children pool ideas to create schools in both a perfect world and a truly awful world. School trips to the graveyard at midnight ... chocolate fountains in every classroom ... zombie dinner ladies serving eyeball stew ... The ideas are endless, and with my help the children create themes and storylines that spark the imagination and fuel ethusiasm for reading and writing. After all the excitement there is a more sedate ten minutes for Q&As!
I also run creative writing events that cover anything from composing sparky dialogue to inventing dazzling characters. Day-long workshops that aim to bring out the flair in more able writers is a speciality. I'll work with groups of any size and am happy to stay all day and mix workshops with talks (school dinner included ... they are a LOT better than they used to be!).
Comments from adults ...
'Wow, what an inspiration Julie is! The children were enthralled at the book event and buzzing with ideas about writing the next chapter. She was able to spark ideas and interest whilst also delivering useful notes for planning good fiction. Thanks so much to her for bringing reading to our school in such a fun and engaging way.' Anne Hoeb, Thundersley Primary School, December 2019
'The children were really inspired by the events - especially the assembly, where you made every child feel like they were an author. Each workshop was brilliant and gave everyone the opportunity to express their ideas and get creative with their writing. The children are still talking about you!' Roxanne Mills, Cherry Tree Pimary School, Basildon, June 2019
'Middle and Primary thoroughly enjoyed their workshops. You really inspired the children in lots of ways.' Sam Davies, Cedar Hall School, Essex, March 2019
'The girls really enjoyed the day and we are still working on some creative writing that was inspired by your workshop.' Deborah Smith, St Mary's School, Colchester, June 2018
'Thank you so much for your work on Magical Spaces and Places. It was fantastic - the children's creative writing development was impressive. I was amazed how you drew out the final pieces from an initial nugget of an idea.' Anne Bonham, Director of Children's Services, Southend Borough Council, May 2017
'An amazing event - the children absolutely loved it!' Karen Collinson, Darlinghurst School, April 2016
'Thank you for a fantastic day! The children thoroughly enjoyed your session on characterisation and were inspired to compose their own short stories.' Heila Vlok, Hutton All Saints Primary School, Feb 2015
'Thanks for providing such a great day at Engaines. As a teacher it was great to see how enthusiastic and inspired the children were to write. They produced some amazing pieces of writing of which they were very proud.' Kate Wainwright, Engaines School, March 2014
'A huge thank you! The children have had a fantastic and truly memorable day at school today - thanks to you.' Katherine Roberts, Literacy Leader, St Bede's School, Jan 2014
'Thank you so much for leading both of the amazing creative workshops for us last week. They were very successful - the children and parents thought they were great and want to know when we are doing more!' Katherine Pond, Southend Libraries, Aug 2013
And some from children ...
'I think today I wrote the best I ever have done thanks to your help, Julie, so thank you very much.' AZ, St Bede's School, Chadwell Heath
'Thank you for making me enjoy writing now and thank you for a brilliant day!' HS, Merrylands School
'Yesterday you came to my school and we all loved it! We were inspired by you and we’d love to meet you again.' LD, Handsworth School
'I really enjoyed your talk at school and loved doing the parallel worlds activity.' SR, Lordship School
'We loved you coming to our school today ... it was amazing!!!' RI, Kingston School