Author Visit: Jo Cotterill

We are very pleased to have hosted a visit from children’s author Jo Cotterill who came to talk to groups of Year 7 and 8 students.

Author Jo Cotterill

Each of three workshop sessions began with Jo Cotterill showing various pictures on screen and leading a discussion about what might be happening in a picture, who the people are and perhaps imagining what might happen next.

There were many excellent scenarios suggested by the students, some of them quite spooky and all very creative.  The exercise certainly showed what fantastic imaginations the students have, especially when they start asking questions.

When Jo had shown five or six images including one of an empty train, the students were asked to take five minutes to write about one of the images of their choosing.  Some students read out their own work, others were read out by Jo.  “It was a normal day…” one piece began, but of course it was going to turn out to be anything but!

Another student had titled their story, The Train of a Million Realities which got imaginations going.  There were lots of great ideas, just from a simple picture on a screen.

Students writing. Worskshop

Jo Cotterill is an established award-winning author who has written many novels and short stories for children including one for a Doctor Who collection about the 13th Doctor.  She started writing in her 20s whilst she was acting and took a course in how to write children’s books.  “It’s hard work, especially when dealing with rejection but I love it and I am always thrilled when a book is published,” said Jo.

English Teacher Ms Goodwin said: “It was lovely to see Jo taking a hands-on approach; engaging with the students and getting them all involved.  Lots of them saw how being a writer isn’t as far out of reach as they might think.  This visit is sure to inspire some further writing from the many brilliant minds at this school!”

As the session concluded Jo said how impressed she was with the creativity of the students.  “Imagination and creativity is what will get you places when you leave school,” she said.

We would like to thank Jo for her time and for telling us about her work and her positivity about the work of our students.