With the help of the story

bag (and perhaps a modest

flying carpet) all ages get to work on imagining characters and putting into words what they might see hear, touch and feel in situations they set up. Later they write up their ideas in a follow-up session with me on hand, if that's scheduled, or with their teacher. With older students the focus is on creating characters and settings that feel real and engage the writer and reader without spelling everything out...

The story bag is packed

with objects (a mix of the

strange and the everyday},

that trigger ideas for stories and characters. I work with junior or senior school students and there are always lots of ideas! Some get more fully developed than others. The main thing is to give the chance to handle things that fire the imagination and share what comes out of it. Tips: Class-size groups are better than larger ones. And it's great to build in time afterwards for children to write and share their stories.

                         Something Else  workshops

storybag pirates2

Visits & workshops

Ask about a visit

"I felt compelled to write to you immediately as we had such a wonderful day today! The impact on our children was literally amazing - I have never seen them so enthusiastic about writing. I was amazed about how you could be such a calming influence and yet so inspirational at the same time."  [Year 5 visit]


There's a list of recent visits below. I live in London (and can work from Cornwall as well).

Feedback from visits

Story bag sessions

Writing sessions

(with story bag/magic carpet)

Where do I visit?

Able Writers' Days

Working with a group of children is a real delight. No two sessions are the same. It can be a lively free-the-imagination ideas-generating encounter,   a more sustained session on making and writing stories, or a read-aloud/slide show /Q & A visit (with the focus on Something Else, other picture books, or longer stories). I do – and enjoy – all of these. I'm open to new ideas and suggestions too.

"The quality of their writing, particularly my hard-to-motivate boys, is excellent.  

I would say that for some of those children this is the best piece of writing they have produced all term. I will be doing my very best to build  upon it!" [Year 2 visit]


               "The children have

             been so enthusiastic    

           about their writing. I

gave my class some more time

to finish their writing this afternoon, as they requested, and they were working in self-imposed silence - this is almost unheard of for Year 2 in the afternoon!" [KS1 visit]

PS: Pirates and wolf are by Chris Riddell. Click on an illustration to see the books where they appear.

I spend the day with a keen writers from several schools in an area, giving them the chance to try out  mini writing assignments: creating villains and heroes, starting a ghost story, mocking up a title page, for example. Contact Authors Abroad to find out more about these workshops.

Guernsey schools

Cowley St Laurence

Wellington Primary, Hounslow

International Book Day, Dhubai

Upwell, West Norfolk

Hale Primary, New Forest Downside, Epsom

Palmers Green HS

Annemount Pre Prep, NW3

Grove Infants, Hemel Hempstead

Marlborough, Hounslow

Eveline Day School, Tooting

Creswick, Welwyn

Rosedale College, Hillingdon

Durston House, Ealing

Galley Hill, Hemel Hempstead

University of Wales, Carmarthen

Hoebridge School, Woking

Latchmere School, Kingston

Wellington Primary, Hounslow

Thorpe School, Egham

Sherwood School, Merton

St Thomas More, Bexleyheath

Lambrook School, Ascot

St James, Weybridge

Belswains, Hemel Hempsted

Lambrook School, nr Ascot

The Vineyard, Richmond

St Thomas, W10

Carr Mill Primary, St Helen's

Combe Bank, Sevenoaks

Chislet Primary, Canterbury

St Michael's, Sandhurst

Qatar Academy, Doha

Recent visits

"The staff and children

really enjoyed your visit and

the writng that the children did after was great. So they were inspired! "

Next visit


Professional affiliations:

Membership of Society of Authors (CWIG group)

National Association of Writers in Education

PEN English branch

"The writing the children produced was so imaginative ...

you have brought ideas and

imagination out in them that I

didn't know they possessed"  [Year 5 visit]

Muraikh School, Doha, Qatar, World Book Day 2011

"An excellent visit to the classroom with perfectly pitched resources and interaction that had the children (and Staff!) hooked."


                        I tell the story alongside a slide

                        show, pausing to discuss the scenes

                        in depth. Children share ideas on how

                        the creatures might be feeling, and          

                        what they might do themselves in                      

                        that situation. We talk about how I

came to write the story and where ideas for stories

come from. This session lasts 25-40 minutes, and because it's about sharing ideas rather than handling things, it works with larger groups than the story bag workshops.

Grade 5 workshop with Kathryn Cave

"[My daughter] came home so enthusiastic about her writing. It is not easy to engage teens but Kathryn did and lit up such enthusiasm in her for the written word."

Qatar for web Ibn Sin for web

Author in Residence

I enjoy working with schools (primary and secondary) over a longer period as author in residence. Most recent visit: Qatar Academy, Doha.