Fairy tales with a modern twist as writer joins students

Award-winning writer Melvin Burgess has been sharing some of the secrets of story-telling with Tyneside students.

He visited Walbottle Campus as part of this year’s Northern Children’s Book Festival, which has seen some of the country’s top authors, poets and illustrators visit schools and libraries on Tyneside and throughout the North East over the past fortnight.

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(Coverage in Newcastle Chronicle http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/local-news/secrets-story-telling-revealed-tyneside-students-8170214)

Melvin – author of Junk and an adaption of the screenplay of Billy Elliot – lead a creative writing workshop with 29 Year Nine English students, where they applied the plots of Fairy Tales to contemporary life.

Little Red Riding Hood became a police officer and the Big Bad Wolf an assassin targeting the Prime Minister (Grandmother). Instead of leaving behind her glass slipper, Cinderella forgot her mobile phone.

“You could use the same plot as the motor for any story you want,” said Melvin. “The secret is working out what the plot is.”

He said he was impressed by the imagination of the students: “They were good. They came up with some interesting stories at the end. I particularly liked Cider-ella!”

Their teacher Phil McDonald said the session was very entertaining and engaging. “It shows the students that writing is more than just an English lesson. It can be a paid job, a profession. For the students, today put the world of writing and the world of literature into the working world.”

This is the second time Melvin has taken part in the Festival which is in its 31st year. “Everybody knows about it, it’s always a pleasure to come here and I’m a big fan,” he said.

“When you go round schools that have a good library and a good librarian you really notice the difference in the spirit of curiosity. If you put the right book into the hands of the right child, it can make a huge difference.”

Dawn Williams of Bridge North East, which supports the Festival, praised the region’s library services which come together every year in a partnership to organise the event. She added: “We are delighted that yet again the world of story-telling has been brought alive by some of this country’s best writers.

“The Northern Children’s Book Festival is a fantastic event which, for well over a quarter of a century, has delighted thousands of children and young people throughout the North East. We have been proud to support the Festival once more.”

 

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Notes to Editors

Bridge North East

Sage Gateshead is part of a national network of 10 Bridge Organisations, funded by Arts Council England, to use their experience and expertise to connect children and young people with art and culture. They connect schools and communities with Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations and others in the cultural sector – including museums and libraries – all across the North East region.