Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Testimonials? You want testimonials? We got testimonials...

I'm frequently asked for testimonials for my school events, but I never have them handy. NOW I DO! Take a look at the smattering below. And if you're in cruel mood, you can read the previous blogpost which covers an amusing collection of comments from students as opposed to teachers, librarians and festival directors!

"Curtis was one of the most popular authors at the 2012 Manchester Children’s Book Festival and has, to our delight, agreed to join us again this year to help launch our Festival Reading and Writing Relay with an event at Central Library. His talks are always both inspiring and entertaining and, even more importantly, he is a joy to work with."
Kaye Tew
Festival Manager, Manchester Children's Book Festival
"Curtis was a huge hit when he visited our school. He spoke to nearly 400 students in the Main Hall and successfully kept them all entertained and engaged for a whole hour and a half – no mean feat! His talk was delivered in a humorous but appropriate manner. He spoke with such enthusiasm and conviction about not wasting your creative talents that students couldn’t help but be inspired.
Curtis started by talking about his experience of working in the animation business and impressed the boys with his art work, before moving on to his writing career. The finale of the event, “Hairy Man or Wolfman” was a brilliant interactive quiz that the boys just loved.
Teaching staff and students alike really enjoyed the talk, so much so that they were still talking about it days after the event. In fact he was so good we got him back again!"
Janet Clarke
Librarian, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, 21st March 2014
"A visit from Curtis is always one of the most entertaining author events I've ever been to. Not only is he a brilliant author and illustrator but the combination of the two elements in his talks has the whole audience, adults and children alike, totally enthralled from start to finish. His wit and humour and interaction with his audience guarantee no session is exactly the same. As well as all this he is a great bloke, no prima donna author, making a day with him more than easy for any school or library, I would heartedly recommend him."
Debra Conroy
Children's Library Services, Manchester City Council
"Curtis has visited us on a couple of occasions and his workshops are always memorable and exciting! Last time he took us on a whirlwind tour of his experiences as an illustrator and as an author – all of which served to inspire and motivate the children – they loved it so much they were talking about the workshop and his books for weeks afterwards!
Most importantly for us, as teachers, Curtis’s messages to the children, regarding reading and writing, fully supports our teaching and has inspired the children to apply the skills they’ve learnt, from his workshop, to their own work."
Mary Peters
Deputy Head, Westbrook Old Hall Primary School, Warrington
“Curtis has now visited our school twice. We were so enthralled by his first visit that we had to invite him back again this year as part of our World Book Day celebrations. Students (and staff) were captivated hearing him talk about his work as an Author and Illustrator and about his love of Animation. His wealth of experience and ease of manner has made him very popular with our students. We found his talks hugely entertaining and many students returned at lunchtime to chat with him and have their books signed.
I have organised several Author visits to our school but none have engaged the students in the same way that Curtis has. So much so, there was real excitement from the previous year’s cohort when they knew he was visiting us again.“
Helen Bayliffe
Library Resource Manager, Sir Graham Balfour High School, Stafford

Monday, March 31, 2014

Author visit testimonials, straight from the horses' mouths!

If you're ever considering having me visit your school to hold storytelling, animation and creative writing workshops, please refer to the following comments that I was recently from a fabulous librarian. The students filled in feedback forms which were handed back to staff, and this is a selection of their comments. Suffice to say I've been weeping, but they're tears of laughter. Is there a better testimonial than the below? If so, I haven't found it....

‘Curtis Jobling seems like quite a talented person and made a good impression’

‘I think how he described his animation and shows was very interesting, and is probably something that I want to try later in life.’

‘His books are really interesting if you are into that sort of thing.’

‘The presentation / assembly could be classified as boring but it had its’ moments, like when he showed short clips of a cow that wanted to kill herself.’

‘Curtis is a quite short, with a waistcoat and short sleeved shirt, he also has sideburns which are very long and dark trousers on.  He had a small nose and a Pork Pie hat and he as a faded beard.’

‘He was very funny and wasn’t boring as he kept you on your toes when he changed the tone of his voice.  This is definitely a book I would like to read.’

‘I think it was really fun for a workshop’

‘I believe that the workshop was more interesting than the talk because it was a bit more up close and personal.’

‘Overall, I enjoyed his visit and would like him to come again if possible’

‘Overall it was a fun day and was very nice.  My favourite part of the day was watching the cow clips.

‘It was lovely to meet a famous  author and producer and I  hope I can meet him again. He has inspired me a lot in writing.’

‘Curtis Jobling  is an author/ illustrator/animator who came into our school to not only persuade us to purchase one of his books, but also to inspire us to write and animate ourselves.’

‘He explained how he made the animations and we also watched the Nickolodeon adverts which everyone found hysterical, despite the fact that in truth they were really quite disturbing.’

‘His books seemed quite interesting and descriptive for the people that are into that stuff.’

‘It was brilliant and I really enjoyed it.’

‘His book was good, I know because he read a bit to us and it was very interesting.’

‘He had sideburns and a loud voice, which travelled round the room.’

‘His jokes were quite funny and when he did the assembly it was quite interactive, which was good.’

Monday, December 16, 2013

Final event of the year - Brownedge St Mary's High School

Great final school event of the year, and rather local too, Bamber Bridge outside of Preston. It was my absolute pleasure to visit Brownedge St Mary's - staff at the school were already in touch with me through my social media activity and when the opportunity to speak to the students arose they really leapt upon it. I'm quite missionary with my visits to schools, passionately promoting the idea of wider reading for pleasure, but at St Mary's I really was preaching to the converted. It was wonderful to encounter staff and students alike who had a real love of literature - this can only help the pupils across all areas of the curriculum as they go forward through their school life and beyond.
Big thanks to Tony Higginson's Formby Books for supplying books on the day, and certainly looking forward to revisiting St Mary's some time in the new year. On that point, if any of you fancy having this wordling crayonboy visiting your school, please do get in touch. I've still got gaps in the calendar around World Book Day so give me a holler and let's make it happen.


Have a very splendid holiday season and a happy new year!

Bada Bling!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

WEREWORLD Virtual Visits from Curtis Jobling

Who would like to host a Virtual Visit on my Wereworld Skype Tour? I know it's tricky for a UK based author like myself to visit classes in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the like, so here's an exclusive learning opportunity for you, running for a week from the 2nd December.

I'm offering 30 minute sessions where classes and groups of students can experience my acclaimed presentations. The talk has been a huge hit across the UK and also on my recent American tour, so if you fancy a whistlestop introduction to my career in animation (Bob The Builder, sorry!) which leads into me transforming him into a werewolf, then get in touch. I'll talk about the Wereworld series: the wider world of the Seven Realms of Lyssia, the Werelords who inhabit it, and where my inspiration comes from, culminating in a reading from one of the Wereworld novels.

If the audience hasn't been shocked into silence, I'll be welcoming a Q&A at the end of the reading where students can pick my brains - just be sure to put them back as you found them. It'll be an interactive, inspiring, and thoroughly engaging virtual event which should get even the most reluctant reader excited about reading for pleasure!

The only thing I ask in return is that the school ensure each of the students who participate (minimum audience number of 25, an average class size) has a copy of Rise of the Wolf, the first novel in the Wereworld series. The talk itself will be free.

Teachers, librarians and parents: do please get in touch with your details. Students: tell your teachers and point them this way. Spaces on the tour for events WILL be limited, so get them while they're hot!

Bada Bling!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Speed reading - don't do it!

I've been getting an AWFUL lot of messages from folk via email and the official Wereworld Faceache page who have read War of the Werelords and are dismayed by certain deaths, one in particular. Firstly, I'd just like to say war is cruel, it's tough, it's heartless and people can and will die. Not everyone escapes unscathed. More importantly, though, can I ask you to please RE-READ the final chapter again, only this time, soak it up, take it easy, read carefully what is said.

Either I've been too clever by half and far too subtle or there are a great many people who just speed-read these days. You miss so much when you skim - authors use all those words for a reason, you know? ;-) I don't want to get too preachy here (I do, actually), but so much of what characters think and feel is often hidden within the way they speak and think. It's the little things that can give away so much.

As an example, I got a message from one reader the other day exclaiming they had received book six in the post. They'd been very excited about the prospect of receiving it as had been clear from their updates online. However, later that SAME DAY I saw an update saying they'd read it and loved it... IN ONE DAY??? I expressed my surprise and disbelief, to which they happily replied they prided themselves on being a 'quick reader'. No, that's nowt to be proud of. Skimming a book is just that: you're catching one in every twenty words, you're absorbing the merest details from a page as your eyes scan over it. You're not enjoying the book as the author had intended. It's like ordering a seven course meal and only taking two or three bites from each dish.

Please don't speed read and then ask why certain things happen in my books or why so-and-so character snuffed it. You could be heartily sustained by a banquet. Instead you're settling for a happy meal. ;-)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"WEREWORLD: War of the Werelords" Tour

To celebrate the UK release of the final book in the Wereworld series, I'll be embarking upon an official tour next week, starting on Friday 27th September at the Manx Lit Fest. After that it's a whistlestop tour visiting schools all over. If you're keen to pick up a signed, doodled in and dedicated copy of one (or all) of the six novels, I'd recommend you get in touch with one of the booksellers listed below. They'll be very happy to help and will reserve copies for you. Check the tour dates below, sniff out a bookshop and drop them a line!

Friday 27th September
MANX LIT FEST, Schools Programme
Bookseller: Bridge Book Shop, Isle of Man

Sunday 29th September
2:30 PM

Monday 30th September
Bookseller: Waterstone's Bath
Bookseller: Durdham Down Books, Bristol

Tuesday 1st October
Bookseller: Regency Bookshop
Bookseller: Regency Bookshop

Wednesday 2nd October
Bookseller: Chorleywood Bookshop
Bookseller: Waterstone's St Albans

Thursday 3rd October
Bookseller: Dulwich Books

Friday 4th October
Bookseller: Waterstone's Altrincham
Bookseller: Waterstone's Altrincham

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Warrington Wolves Foundation and the Children's University - Graduation Night!

 (Warrington's wonderful schoolchildren graduating!)

This evening I was witness to a pretty blooming marvellous spectacle, the graduation of 100 school children from Warrington through the Children's University scheme. These were pupils who had participated in extra-curricular learning experience, outside of the classroom environment. The scheme isn't just in the UK, it's worldwide, and it's dedicated to providing educational activities to children of all ages alongside the fine work that schools provide. I'm patron of the Children's University in Warrington, through my work with the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation. Over the course of the last few years I've been delivering workshops to the youngsters of my hometown - as have many others - and tonight saw the children celebrate their achievements.

(Neil Kelly, Director of the Warrington Wolves Foundation, and Wolfie. "He's behind you!")

Caps were donned, gowns were draped, and a procession of mini-graduates marched passed with grins of monstrous proportions plastering their faces. As if the smiles of the children wasn't enough to melt the coldest heart, the tearful looks on their proud parents and grandparents in the audience would've stopped a charging rhino dead in its tracks. No doubt some of those children in attendance, participating in the scheme, might not ever have considered a further education. Perhaps they will now. I don't know. Only I do know that if I'd had someone for creative industries (as an example) visit me in school when I was their age it would have had a profound effect. That's the biggest kick I get out of all my work: visiting schools all over the country and overseas and enthusing about the fact that one can make a living out of one's hobby. Writing WEREWORLD? A job? It's an absolute blooming pleasure, and I'm sure that came across to the kids tonight. I'm lucky that I've turned my pastimes into a career. That's what I've been doing for years. I might just get found out now.

(The shy and retiring author, and friend...)

 Huge thanks to Neil Kelly and the ace team from the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation for ALL their hard work managing the CU scheme in the town, and thanks to the University of Chester for the support they've shown. Wobbly handclaps to all those who've delivered workshops in the last year and all the parents who've encouraged their children to participate. Most of all, WHOPPING CONGRATULATIONS to all the boys and girls who have walked away from tonight's graduation ceremony with a very special certificate tucked under their arm. Here's hoping this is just the first step along a very special learning adventure!

Author visit to Penketh High School, my old stomping ground!

I spent yesterday at Penketh High School, scene of my formative teenage years and many bouts of bad haircuts, bogging acne and body odour. It occurred to me as I pulled up that it was 30 years ago since I'd first attended the school. More shocking was the fact that a handful of teachers who had taught me were still there (I'm mentioning no names to protect the innocent). I was speaking with Years 7 and 8 in the morning, 11-13 year olds, while after lunch I got to talk to the Year 6 pupils from Penketh's numerous feeder schools who were there for the day.

As school visits go, this was a bit of a treat for me. If I'd had an author or artist visit me when I was there back in the day, it would've had a profound effect upon my fragile little mind. It would've shown me that one CAN make a living in creative industries, that art and media aren't simply bits of extra-curricular fluff. Sadly, I never got any advice as a lad that supported my desire to pursue a living in the arts. To now be back at my old high school and have the opportunity to enthuse about what I do for a living (which, let's face it, certainly beats a 'proper job') was a real honour. If what I had to say struck a chord with just one student who was in the room, then that's a job well done. If at the very least the lads and lasses were entertained by my wobbling gob then that also puts a big Cheshire Cat smile on my fat face.

I also got to meet the rather marvellous Mr Hughes, headmaster of the school. You may better know him from his various appearances on morning television and viral tweets. I actually introduced him to Tony Higginson from Formby Books as 'Gangnam Head'. If you watch the video, all will make sense, I'm sure. Smashing chap.

Massive thankingyous to ALL who were there yesterday, especially Ian Farrar for coordinating the whole enchilada, and Jon Kay for taking care of technical requirements (and providing good gossip) first thing in the morning. Most of all, thanks to all the students from Years 6 through 8 who endured my anecdotes, animations and arty doodles. You were great, every one of you, even the lad at the back who thought that Frostie The Snowman was a fair answer to the question: "Name me an entirely computer generated movie." I know. I don't know what he was thinking either.

"Can I have your name please, sir?" That's what the lady at Starbucks asked yesterday. Naturally, I happily obliged, and this is what came back. That's not even an attempt at a real name. She may as well have just put a random collection of consonants together. I tried to make it easier on an earlier visit to a Starbucks, having had my name repeatedly misspelled by them. When they asked for my name I replied: "Spartacus", garnering a chorus of guffaws from others in the queue. Humourless 'barista' replied: "Can you spell that please?"

Meh. The worst misspelling of my name is unrepeatable on here, and it featured on the front of my 'Frankenstein's Cat' picture book. No. I'm not even going there...