Monday, March 31, 2014
Monday, December 16, 2013
Final event of the year - Brownedge St Mary's High School
Have a very splendid holiday season and a happy new year!
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
WEREWORLD Virtual Visits from Curtis Jobling
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!
Monday, October 21, 2013
Speed reading - don't do it!
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
Bookseller: Bridge Book Shop, Isle of Man
BATH KIDS LIT FEST: CURTIS JOBLING CREATING CHARACTERS WORKSHOP
Monday 30th September
OLDFIELD SCHOOL, BATH
Bookseller: Waterstone's Bath
HENBURY SCHOOL, BRISTOL
Bookseller: Durdham Down Books, Bristol
SHREWSBURY HOUSE PREP SCHOOL, SURBITON
Bookseller: Regency Bookshop
SHOREHAM ACADEMY, SHOREHAM-BY-SEA
Bookseller: Regency Bookshop
ST MARTINS PREP SCHOOL, NORTHWOOD
Bookseller: Chorleywood Bookshop
BEAUMONT SCHOOL, ST ALBANS
Bookseller: Waterstone's St Albans
KINGSDALE SCHOOL, DULWICH, LONDON
FOREST HILL BOYS SCHOOL, LONDON
Bookseller: Dulwich Books
WELLINGTON SCHOOL, ALTRINCHAM
Bookseller: Waterstone's Altrincham
ALTRINCHAM GRAMMAR SCHOOL FOR BOYS
Bookseller: Waterstone's Altrincham
Thursday, July 04, 2013
Warrington Wolves Foundation and the Children's University - Graduation Night!
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.
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.
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!
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...
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Hijinks with Tommy Donbavand, AWARD WINNING author of Scream Street!
It was a bit special to see the master at work. Tommy's a real pro. For Morpurgo he convinced the kids that the fellow hates children. This wasn't too difficult, all said and done. His other feats were far more impressive. Walliams was written off as a fraudster, his work the fevered wittering of eighty-six year old homeless man, Alfie Thompson (a surprisingly prolific author - just google what I've said!) And as for Wilson, the kids really bought into the idea that she punches kittens for giggles. After that all five awards were safely in the bag.
Great to spend the day with Tommy and librarians Sophie and Claire. Cheers to everyone who came, hope you had a grand day. Bit of a special one for me tomorrow. I'm visiting Penketh High School, my old stomping ground, to speak to Year 7, Year 8 and the Year 6 pupils from all the feeder schools. Shall report in with a detailed report on my adventure tomorrow, but I'm REALLY looking forward to this one.
QUESTION: What's the best thing you've ever won? For me it was winning my age group at the Liverpool Chess Congress when I was ten years old. I got to choose my prize - a Disney's Black Hole pop up book. Trust me, it was WAY better than it sounds, just like the film itself. So what about you???