Talks last roughly an hour, depending on your school timetable. I put a lot of effort into this and my hope is to be entertaining, enthralling and inspirational. My aim is to leave behind an audience keen to read.
The size of group I can address does vary from school to school, but you can pack them in if you feel it’s appropriate. I am used to dealing with large audiences.
Writing workshops are much more effective with students who are keen to write, rather than with reluctant students who are probably better with a talk – reading comes before writing!
Workshops can last from one to two hours or more. Numbers are obviously better kept low, particularly for the longer workshops, in which I would hope to get round and see how the students are getting on. for such workshops, no more than twenty, please. With shorter workshops, again, depending on the school, I can deal with more.
Schools often want to have both talks and workshops, and I’m more than happy to do that. Please bear in mind, though, that the talks are very demanding – it’s a bit like being on stage – and I can’t put in as many contact hours as if I were teaching. Workshops too, involve a lot of setting up. Don’t destroy the author! I can do combinations such as two talks and a workshop, two long workshops or three short ones. I do want you to get value for money, but basically, anything that involves me talking non stop for more than three hours is too much. I’m also more than happy to make myself available to be interviewed, or chat informally to a smaller group after lunch, etc.
If workshops are involved, it’s often a balance between how many students you want me to see, and giving some of them a chance to do some actual work. If you want me to get around large numbers, talks are better.
Some stats and feedbacks from a recent tour I did with The Scottish Book Trust.
The aim of this Book Week Scotland Road Show 2015 was to engage older teenagers who do not see themselves as readers, inspiring reluctant readers to pick up a book for pleasure, not just for exams.
First – some Super Stats!
98% of pupils gave the event 4 or 5 stars!
1 in 4 pupils bought a book!
8 schools really enjoyed Doing It!
Forfar Dispatch 03.12.2015
Central Fife Times 03.12.2015
Arbroath Herald 27.11.2015
Dundee Telegraph 25.11.2015
The Courier 24.11.2015
Motherwell Times 18.11.2015
Glasgow Evening Times 16.11.2015
An excellent talk which really helped my pupils to engage with Billy Elliot which we have been reading in class. They also bought books which shows that Melvin Burgess has helped them to engage with more teenage fiction. He also gave them tips for their own writing which has really helped the pupils and reassured me that my teaching of the novel was correct! Megan Brough, English Teacher, Arbroath Academy
Excellent event! Our senior pupils enjoyed Melvin’s talk and it has encouraged many pupils to read his books. Angela Macari, Librarian, Inverkeithing High School
The event was great fun and all the pupils really enjoyed it. They found Melvin very personable and all thought he was funny and that the books were interesting. Lee-Anne Connor, Librarian, Chryston High School
Pupils were very engaged with the talk because it covered topics not normally addressed. They found it funny and engaging. It was the appropriate level for a senior audience. Pamela Jannaway, English Teacher, Forfar Academy
It was a very enjoyable and well organised event. Our target audience was reluctant readers and it was very encouraging that so many pupils bought books after hearing Melvin speak. Melvin was funny and engaging and was a big hit with our pupils. Chris Juan, English Teacher, Forfar Academy
I had a really great time. Through the whole thing I had a smile on my face. He was a very funny and confident guy. I don’t usually like to read but his books sound interesting. Chelsea, 15 Arbroath Academy
I really enjoyed Melvin Burgess event and I also think that he is a very inspirational person. He has inspired me to read books and write more, I’m really glad that he came to Arbroath Academy to speak to us about his life and his work. Aaron, 14, Arbroath Academy
I really enjoyed Melvin Burgess’ author event and I found him really funny. I thought at the beginning of the event that it would be quite boring because I’ve never heard an author speak, but I actually found it very interesting listening to him talk about his career and books. Rachael, 15, Arbroath Academy
He’s a good author and I really enjoyed listening to him talk about his books. I felt the event was great and I had a really good time. I think I will have to read more of his books! Morgan, 15, Arbroath Academy
It wasn’t what I expected, I thought it would have been boring but it really wasn’t! I’m going to try and read some of his books now. Louise, 15, Arbroath Academy
It was very funny and I felt Melvin engaged the audience all the way through. He understood and connected with us well. Altogether it was a hilarious, engaging and interesting talk. Mairi, 17, Inverkeithing High School
It was very interesting. It made me want to read more of his books because they were very relevant to people of our age. Claire, 17, Inverkeithing High School
I had a good time and Melvin was really funny. I don’t normally read but I bought one of his books and am going to read it He had a lot to say about his books and all his books sounded really interesting. Megan, 16, Chryston High School
I really enjoyed listening to Melvin talk about his books and read some extracts from them. He treated us like adults and read stuff that other authors probably wouldn’t. Jonathan, 16, Chryston High School
I really enjoyed listening to Melvin as he spoke to us like adults and not like we had never heard things like that before. The books were aimed at people my age which was good considering what they are about. Calum, 16, Chryston High School
It was very good! Enjoyed it a lot! Was very funny to hear about his work and stuff. I’ll be making sure to pick up a couple of his books! Alana, 17, Chryston High School
I really enjoyed the talk and found Melvin Burgess really funny. It was interesting to hear about the opinions that he received about his books and his inspiration to write them. I would have liked to hear more! Holly, 15, Chryston High School
I found the event extremely enjoyable. Melvin was very entertaining and humorous which made the event memorable and a lot of fun. It has encouraged me to read Melvin’s novels, they seem to cover important and intriguing topics. Rebeccah, 16, Forfar Academy
I LOVED IT I THOUGHT IT WAS FAB!!! YOU ARE HILARIOUS! HA HA HA Rachelle, 17, Forfar Academy
I really liked the Melvin Burgess event as his books are related to real life situations and real people so others would be able to relate. It was a lot better than I expected as Melvin was very funny! Chloe, 16 Forfar Academy
Melvin Burgess is an absolute top lad: he has loads of banter and his books are top shelf material. It was a complete belter of an afternoon. 10/10 David, 16, Forfar Academy
I really enjoyed listening to Melvin’s stories and hearing about his influences. It was humorous yet it focussed on all of the serious issues that us teenagers experience. Lori. 17 Forfar Academy
I really enjoyed the Melvin Burgess event. It was interesting and he discussed topics that some people would feel uncomfortable discussing. I loved how his books were related to real life experiences. Kiera, 16, Forfar Academy
I thoroughly enjoyed this event, learning about his books and where he got his stories from was amazing. Glad he had a laugh with us about his book. Learning and hearing about the girls in his story was hard hitting but really good. Glad I went to this event. Emma, 17, Forfar Academy
I though the event was very educational and will help us to develop our writing. Melvin got everyone laughing when talking about his book ‘Doing It’ as it had funny things in it which we wouldn’t normally get to hear about. Euan, 17, Forfar Academy
Great! I liked the presentation because he was full of banter and it was educational too. Cheap books, signed by my main man Melvin. Lloyd, 17, Forfar Academy