Saturday, 15 June 2013

Inspiration from children's writing and illustrating at our CWISL Shoutsouth Festival

A spark to set us off from storyteller Margaret Bateson-Hill at the start of  Shoutsouth  
"There are some events you do that blow you away. Shoutsouth Festival was one of those."

So tweeted Margaret Bateson-Hill today after 3 days of writing and illustrating workshops with over ninety 8-13 year olds from a range of South London schools.
We're all part of a group called CWISL - published writers and illustrators promoting the love of reading, writing and illustration with children from all backgrounds. The children's stories and pictures will be published on CWISL's  Shoutsouth website when they are all scanned and typed.
Until then, here are some photos I took to keep me inspired!
I found this lost-looking man among the cuttings...
Designing book covers with my Leopard team
Mo directing  tableaus of emotions
as a prelude to our workshops
Writers Beverley Birch smiling
and Mo O'Hara inspiring kids

Helen (H L Dennis) centre showing off some covers that our 23 'Leopards' in my workshop
with two Leopards of different ages from different schools.

Author J L Buxton and ME  (ahem Bridget!)  with our Leopard display...pity our other Leopard leader
author Sara Grant couldn't be there today - some great stories to read online later! 
"Cold Joker" a great cover with a story behind it

Tissue paper helped  make this cover suitably mysterious
A cover by a WW2 expert aged around 8
Cover to a sad and gripping story
by another Leopard aged around 12
A collaborative cover and story with a political twist
  by two Primary schoolmates - 

The Panther team's display with "sharpie" focused drawings inspired by author -illustrator Gillian McClure's workshop.

The Lions' display with some covers inspired by author-illustrator Jane Porter's workshop
This cover from Jane's Lion workshop caught my eye! 
SCBWI illustrator Anne-Marie Perks got the Tiger team sculpting characters
Author Andrew Weale Master of Ceremonies entertaining at the grande finale
London South Bank University offered us workrooms and an auditorium, other sponsors like Rymans donated materials, but the hoped-for public grant didn't come through because of cuts.  So all the work that Carnegie shortlisted author, editor and CWISL founder Beverley Birch, and chair Sarah Mussi, and all of us others put into preparations, school visits and workshops, was entirely voluntary.

The week before many of us prepared for the Festival by visiting libraries and schools.
I loved Battersea Park Library and meeting fellow CWISL authors HL Dennis and Lydia Syson at Bessemer Grange School.  (Coincidentally I had just enjoyed reading Lydia's book "A World Between Us"  which starts with the battle at Cable Street which her grandfather had seen and ends with the Spanish Civil War battle of the Ebro which my Catalan uncle fought in aged 17.)

It was a commitment which meant a lot of time away my own writing and illustrating. However never have I felt more rewarded.  And humbled.  It was heartening to see kids of varying ages, backgrounds and schools work together - all thanks to books!
It's all here - what books can do for kids.
And to witness the energy the kids put into their work, the thought and dedication over 3 days was truly inspiring.  
What it's all about, really!

Feedback from one child : "I think Shoutsouth is a very eye-opening experience which reveals the work and success of illustrators and authors. You feel like a real author illustrator!"

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