May, Year 5 pupils from Cranleigh Prep and nine visiting schools from London delighted in an inspirational Literary Workshop given by Tanya Landman, current Carnegie Medal winning author of Buffalo soldier. There were over 50 pupils taking part from a wide variety of London Prep Schools, including Dulwich Prep, Finton House, Fulham Prep, Hornsby House, Milbourne Lodge, Northcote Lodge, The Old Vicarage, The Roche and Tower House.
The two morning workshops took place at Cranleigh School. In the first session, Tanya gave a very amusing overview of her life, work and inspiration, which included many hilarious tales about her work at the zoo, as well as her own animals, Edgar the ferocious Siamese cat, Hobson the lively Labrador and some particularly funny anecdotes about her pet pig, Tilly. The children were equally enthralled by the second session, which was a brilliant interactive murder mystery workshop. Adopting an Agatha Christie ‘whodunnit’ style, Tanya showed some very excited children how to develop a gripping murder mystery novel – poor Justin Bieber was the voted murder victim!
After the exhilarating experience of such a diverse selection of lunch options and the huge excitement of watching their food disappear on a conveyer belt in the Cranleigh School dining room, the children made their way over to the Prep School where they enjoyed ice-creams in glorious sunshine on Top Pitch. The third workshop was equally stimulating, with creative writing skills being put to the test in the Roulston building. With Tanya’s able assistance, the children structured the opening chapter to their own, individual murder mystery novels, following the format discussed in the morning workshop. Some of the children then read out some of their exceptionally promising introductions, before they then embarked on their final chapter, when the murderer was revealed. Once again, we heard some superb creative writing from our promising young novelists, demonstrating how well they had listened to Tanya throughout the day, and capitalised on her wealth of experience.
Clutching smart new note books and a signed copy of Tanya Landman’s Mondays are Murder, the budding visiting journalists returned to London buzzing with enthusiasm. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from all the schools suggests the day was a huge success and we look forward to planning our third Author Workshop next year.