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How to get kids writing with jazz

I'm a firm believer in the power of music as a creative force. I've written before about using music alongside creative writing in order to see where this takes children on the page, as well as the importance of playlists for my novels. Rhythm…
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Where to find some fabulous poetry activities for kids

One of the best websites I have ever found for inspirational kids' poetry workshops ideas comes from the Poetry Society. I have used countless exercises via their downloadable lesson plans, adapting them as necessary to suit my needs. Recently,…
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Shel Silverstein's 'Whatif'

I think that for anyone who writes, its therapeutic properties must have come to mind at some point. We've all been there, I'm sure, that moment when we finish writing something - whether it's a letter, a diary entry, a chapter of a novel or…
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You're an artist when you say you are

'People working in the arts engage in street combat with The Fraud Police on a daily basis, because much of our work is new and not readily or conventionally categorized. When you're an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic…
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Music as a creative force in writing

Katie Basil Screenprint I come from a family in which music is very important. Last week I wrote about the healing power of music as written about and illustrated in Quentin Blake's gorgeous children's book Patrick. As I was growing up, everyone…
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Natalie Smithson: Unlocking our imagination with stories

Natalie Smithson is a freelance writer and creative at Bobbin About who specialises in work for parenting, children, and baby brands. Here she tells her story of how her active imagination as a child landed her in hot water, but went on to fuel…
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Keeping the stories alive

        It seems I have a bit of a thing about elderly men. That's not nearly as dodgy as it sounds. Let me explain. Whilst researching for my first novel, The Poet's Wife, I was lucky enough to interview a gent in his…
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The power of reading out loud whilst editing

Yesterday, the wonderful Bookouture turned two, my publisher who had (and continues to have) faith in me. That's two years of publishing 22 female authors and building their publishing business into this melting-pot of international creativity…
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A few thoughts on Rejection

I have been meaning to do this for some time, but finally I sat down this morning and counted up how many times my manuscript of The Poet's Wife was rejected before being taken on by Bookouture. Ok, are you ready for this? 83 times. Eighty-three…
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Nairobi's Storymoja Festival

I have just spent the past three out of five days at Nairobi's Storymoja Literature Festival. It is an offshoot from the UK's Hay Literature Festival and showcases literature, art and music from Kenya, other African countries and beyond as…