It does me no good to stay at home all the time talking to myself. So, from time to time, I do talks and workshops in schools. I’ve recently revamped what I do in schools (more images! more interaction! more anecdotes! more hard-won wisdom!), and here’s a list of what’s currently on offer.
Why Reading Rates
Why, when we have so many options, should we make room for recreational reading of fiction in our lives? Nick Earls takes a journey through his own reading history and its impact on his writing (specifically his award-winning YA novels After January and 48 Shades of Brown), and then looks at how reading works and why we should be doing it. Incorporating his own PhD research, K-Pop star Psy, the Kardashian-Jenners, cat memes and journals including Science and Neurology, Nick Earls pulls in everything to make an irresistible – and highly entertaining – case that reading is an excellent thing for us all to be doing.
(60 minutes, needs data projection)
Narrative Toolkit (talk)
Advice about writing is common, but this talk adds tools to a student’s writing toolkit. Nick Earls has taken what he has learned about writing and turned it into tools that writers can use, consciously and deliberately, again and again, to take control of their writing and create compelling stories. From discovering and developing story and character ideas, to structuring a narrative, to writing and editing, this talk provides tools to empower writers to take command of each step in the writing process, and gives them something to reach for any time they’re feeling stuck.
(60 minutes, needs data projection)
Narrative Toolkit (workshop)
Nick Earls takes some of the things he’s learned about writing and, in a series of exercises, turns them into tools that can be used to create compelling stories. Learn how to use simple questions to generate ideas, how to find and use detail to reveal place and character, when to enter and exit your story, how to find your story’s voice, and more. Invaluable for both enthusiastic writers and those who need to go into school writing assessments with more tools in their kit.
(Standard version 60 minutes, but can easily be adapted into longer and even much longer versions, incorporating more tools and more writing.)
Creative Writing for Academic Success
A new one, triggered by my ranty Porcupine Pie blog post. I’ve been approached by Edvantage Qld with the compelling proposition of bringing together my fiction-writing tools and their curriculum expertise. All the tools in the narrative toolkit, plus an insider’s insights into what secondary school examiners are looking for and how to maximise your chances of bringing together great writing and great assessment outcomes. Only available through Edvantage Qld. More info here. (90 minutes, needs data projection, aimed at years 10-12)
Primary Schools (years 4-6)
New Boy and the Migrant Experience
Using his own childhood migration from conflict in Northern Ireland and his central character Herschelle’s experience in New Boy, Nick Earls weaves fascinating and entertaining stories into a talk that looks at the personal stories behind migrations to Australia, with many opportunities for student thought and input. Available as an extended session designed for Year 6 curriculum units ACHASSK136 and ACHASSK137 looking specifically at migration push and pull factors, migrant experiences in Australia (including dealing with language and cultural differences) and the impact of migrants and immigration on Australian society post-1945.
(needs data projection, standard talk runs 45 minutes, extended session runs 60-80 minutes)
From the Word Hunters book series, comes this entertaining and energetic spin-off live show, featuring images, props, games and loads of audience interaction. Where do our words come from? Why do we spell them the way we do? Why is English the weird and complicated language it is? This talk introduces Lexi and Al from the Word Hunters books, while at the same time making English and its story exciting, giving students the tools to be word hunters themselves and giving them a new way of thinking about our language and how it works, including the evolution of language and factors behind it, and applying conventions and patterns.
(Needs data projection, standard presentation runs 45-60 minutes, expanded version with extra etymology runs over two 45-minute sessions, relevant to ACELA 1487, 1779, 1500, 1513, 1526 and 1539, and ACELY 1686 [but fun])