Festival of Literature 2023

Posted on:

6 February 2023

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We were delighted to hold our annual Festival of Literature once again this year, from 30 January – 9 February 2023. 

Harry Baker kicked the Festival off with Shell for a tongue-twisting poetry extravaganza. The World Champion poet shared poetry about paper people, bumble bees, dinosaurs and puddings. The pupils got involved trying to get their tongues around some tricky lines! They were hanging on every alliterative word and joined in with the chorus of the song all about puddings, sung to the tune of a well known Ed Sheeran song. It was wonderful seeing the pupils so engaged in poetry and seeing how many different emotions it could portray.

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Amy Wilson took Form One and Form Two on an adventure over the bridge in an interactive creative writing workshop. The pupils shared their ideas for a fantasy world, with books on trees, rivers full of chocolate with biscuits for floats with ogres and dancing frogs. The children really enjoyed listening to Amy and took away lots of good tips about story writing. Amy also joined us for Form One and Form Two Book Club and the children had the opportunity to ask her questions about the book Lightning Falls. They were also very excited to have their books signed! 

Author and illustrator Elys Dolan joined Shell for a story-telling session on the Wednesday and a draw-along. She shared her story Mr Bunny's Chocolate Factory and the children created their own character – a chicken to clean up all the chocolate. The session concluded with all the children following Elys and drawing Mr Bunny. The children loved the hands-on nature of this session and many have continued practising
since the session. 

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On Thursday, Matt Goodfellow visited Form One and Form Two and shared his poetry. Both funny and edgy, he shared his experiences as a teacher of primary children and opened doorways to show children that poetry is a form of personal expression and a place for children to share their thoughts and feelings. The children really connected with him and his inspirational workshop. 

Chrissie Sains entertained Shell pupils on Friday morning with a wonderful talk about her books in the ‘jam’ series: An Alien in the Jam Factory and The Treasure Under The Jam Factory. We also learned about the exciting plot of her soon-to-be published book Slugs Invade the Jam Factory. Judging by the huge turnout for the Shell lunchtime book club which followed the talk, there will be no shortage of Shell pupils purchasing the third of those books! Chrissie had all the pupils involved in creating a wonderful jam concoction, including mango jam, strawberry sauce and friendship sprinkles, amongst other delicious ingredients. It was advised that the Shell pupils did not sample this particular jam though…it probably looked better than it tasted!

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Pupils from Shell and other schools in Bishop’s Stortford assembled in the Memorial Hall to learn the much-awaited outcome of the vote for this year's Picture Book Award on Wednesday 1 February. This yearly competition is always a firm favourite with the pupils, as was demonstrated in the spontaneous cheer that arose when Jeanne Willis and Paddy Donnelly’s book Hom was announced as the winner! The pupils enjoyed seeing a cartoon drawing demonstration from Elys Dolan, who hosted the awards. Videos from all the short-listed authors and illustrators were then shared and pupils learned more about the inspirations for the books, as well as some fascinating insight from the illustrators about the process from initial drawing ideas to finished images. 

At the start of the second week of our Festival, Cartoonist James Parsons came in for a Manga draw-a-long with our Lower Third and Upper Third pupils. Our pupils enjoyed an energetic and interactive workshop, creating their own characters and receiving brilliant tips.

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Author Ben Davis held a creative writing workshop for Lower Third on Tuesday. Ben shared embarrassing family stories and the children shared some of theirs. Together with Ben they created an embarrassing dad storyline and developed the main characters.

Storyteller, Wendy Shearer, shared Anansi and Miss Louise, an African folk tale, with props and Calypso music with our Shell and Pre-Prep pupils. The children joined in with the story, providing actions and sounds.

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Ending this year's Festival, LGBTQ+ author, Simon James Green, visited our Upper Third on the final Thursday before half term. He gave a high energy, entertaining, and educational workshop about being an awkward teenager and retelling cringeworthy events from his time at secondary school. He talked to the pupils about his route to becoming an author and gave tips on how to keep readers gripped.



Posted on:

06 February 2023

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