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Embark on a spellbinding literary adventure with an author session with Sophie, the author of The Best-Kept Secret! While the tale unfolds against the backdrop of Pendle Hill in Lancashire, the theme extends far beyond regional boundaries. Our mission is to empower children across the country, urging them to draw inspiration from their everyday surroundings, igniting their creativity and sparking a passion for writing. Join us in adding the extra to the ordinary as we delve into the enchanting world of 'Magic in the Mundane'.

The Best-Kept Secret author visits offer a unique cross-curricular opportunity for schools studying a wide range of topics, including Myths and Legends, Fantasy, Folklore and Fairytales, The Stuarts, Local History, Crime and Punishment, Witch Trials, James I, Macbeth, Poetry and Creative Writing

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Magic in the Mundane

IN-PERSON AUTHOR VISITS
PERFORMANCE POETRY / STORYTELLING

Sophie is a dynamic author who wears many hats—not all of them are tall, pointy, and conical. As a professional poet, performer, and educator, she weaves the magic of poetry into a theatrical performance, ensuring it is fun, inspiring, and unforgettable.

A one-hour 
author session with Sophie includes a highly interactive, immersive and creative reading of 'The Best Kept Secret', featuring magical props, music, a bubbling cauldron, a slime-covered baby dragon and costumes for all.

The session begins with an introduction to The Best-Kept Secret, followed by a brief exploration of folklore, legend and the history of the Lancashire witches. Every child actively engages in the storytelling process, with some embracing speaking roles while the rest join in as Demdike's trusty helpers, wearing witches' hats and conjuring up a dragon. And, of course, we must recognise the essential contribution of the whoopee cushion orchestra...

'Magic in the Mundane'

 A bespoke multimedia presentation tailored specifically for the pupils at your school based on their local area. This part of the session sparks inspiration, fosters a passion for storytelling, and encourages the children to explore their creative potential.

The session culminates in an engaging Q&A

'It was very mysterious and entertaining, and most of all, it was thrilling.  I liked that she got everyone involved.

  Charlie.Year 5

'The author wrote her book beautifully.  She was brilliant in the workshop, giving us parts to play and a spell to cast.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and  especially the fact that there were some historically accurate features as well.'

Holly, Year 5

'I really liked her presentation.  She put lots of effort in.  We all got a part too, which was fair, and I liked the witch's theme.'

 Gracie, Year 5 


'To our class, you are an icon. You're inspiring us to write our own stories.''
Felicity, Year 6 

'It inspired me to make a book'
Bleu, Year 6 

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP 
 

An author session, plus a dynamic, immersive creative writing workshop. The content of each session will be tailored to the school, though a one-hour workshop will include a selection from the following options  - 

Reimagining Realms  Whilst blindfolded, children embark on an immersive sensory journey into Demdike's world. Guided by Sophie's voice, audio cues, and scents, they are transported back four hundred years, experiencing the 'knights chase' over a rain-soaked Pendle Hill and finding sanctuary in Demdike's cottage. Through this experience, they fine-tune their senses and imagination, learning to create vivid narratives through sensory experience, thus enhancing their storytelling skills.

The Bare Bones  Where? When? Who? Why? What?  A brief exploration of story planning by identifying the ‘skeleton within.

Stagecraft This role-playing exercise introduces the "show, not tell" storytelling technique. Children embody different characters and scenes from "The Best Kept Secret," expressing emotions and experiences through facial expressions, body language, and dialogue. Through this immersive approach, they learn to enrich their writing by using figurative language, engaging their senses, and focusing on detail to emphasise the importance of "showing" over "telling".

Dragonlore   Children explore sensory-rich props to enhance their descriptive language skills and deepen their understanding of the 'show, not tell' creative writing technique.  Whisked back in time to Demdike's cottage, they marvel at the iridescence of dragon scales, peer into a crystal ball, listen to witches' bells, and inhale the aromatic herbs of Demdike's Garden. Amidst these experiences, they taste liquorice root, turn the pages of ancient spell books, uncover the secrets of potion cupboards, and unlock a mysterious box containing the first baby tooth and claw of 'Our Kid', the dragon—a cherished keepsake.

 

Magic in the Mundane  Children are challenged to write ‘what they know’ using familiar settings but with a fantastical twist!  Through art and design, character mapping and profiling, they bring their narratives to life, fostering their storytelling skills while exploring the realms of myth and imagination.

 Anatomy of a Dragon:An art and design exercise designed to enhance descriptive language and encourage the use of vivid imagery in creative writing 

Twisted Elements  A selection of creative writing games, including a mythological adaptation of Story Dice, in which setting, character, conflict, and plot are all determined by a roll of the dice! 

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble - Ingredients of a Poem. Rewriting Shakespeare.

COST

 *£175 minimum for two hours on site plus travel costs at 0.45 pence per mile.

 

Additional time, including time spent on set-up and breakdown, is charged at £60 per hour.

 

Book sales can offset costs —£3.00 will be deducted from the final invoice for every book sold.

*Special rates are available for small and struggling schools to cover essential costs and travel expenses only.

 

Each session is limited to 40 children, enabling all to be fully involved.

 

Sophie holds an enhanced DBS certificate. 
 

Bring The Best-kept Secret to life at your own pace and from anywhere in the world!

Receive a personalised video message from Sophie recorded in her 'witches hovel,' a signed and dedicated copy of the book and a fully illustrated and professionally narrated version for your class whiteboard. Additionally, enjoy a second recorded Q&A session tailored to your class, where Sophie addresses any questions they may have after their virtual author visit.

 
'They absolutely loved your book and were over the moon you’d dedicated it to them. When I shared your message, they were over the moon. You certainly inspired them, and the e-book brought the story to life with the beautiful illustrations'

The video was fabulous and so motivating for the children. It was a magical day!'

 

'I will be using this again- it is the best I’ve done for WBD, and this is my 28th year of teaching!'

'It was an amazing day!'

 

'The children loved the video, which really hooked them in, we then listened to the audiobook, and some of them read it out using props such as microphones."


COST £125.00

VIRTUAL AUTHOR VISITS
Listen to an excerpt of The Best-Kept Secret
Creative Writing Workshop - Sensory Props
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'KS2 thoroughly enjoyed their visit from local author Sophie Stewart. The action packed interactive telling of her story fully immersed the children in our local history and transported them back to the time of the Pendle Witches.'

Bolton by Bowland Primary School 

The author wrote her book beautifully.  She was brilliant in the workshop, giving us parts to play and a spell to cast.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and the especially the fact that there were some historically accurate features as well.

Holly, Year 5 

It was very mysterious and entertaining and most of all it was thrilling.  I liked that she got everyone involved.  Charlie.

Charlie, Year 5

I liked how unique it was even though the Pendle Witches is already a story.  The author kind of made it different in a more fun way because of the actions and all the costumes.  It was amazing and her words were fantastic.

Olivia, Year 5

I really liked her presentation.  She put lots of effort in.  We all got a part too which was fair and I liked the witches theme.

Gracie, Year 5

When the author came in, she read us her book and gave us speaking parts.  Her book was about the Pendle Witches and she gave us witches hats to wear.  They were very funny.  Her book is about Lizzie Demdike and every line rhymes.

Year 5

Pupil Testimonials Waddington and West Bradford C.E Primary School 
Thank you letters from pupils at St Saviour's Academy (virtual author visit) 
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