Sparkes fly at Clayesmore festival

A number of acclaimed authors, including Ali Sparkes, appeared at Clayesmore School’s recent Festival of Reading

A whole host of literary shenanigans took place during Clayesmore’s recent Festival of Reading. As well as an array of authors at the Senior School Literature and Lunch event, the Prep School was delighted to welcome two expert word weavers including children’s author, Ali Sparkes who, as author of the ‘Shapeshifter’ books and winner of the 2012 Blue Peter Book of the Year, triggered great excitement among Years 6-8.

Ali presented an animated account of her past, describing how, before becoming a writer, she intended to be an actress, but ended up working backstage in London’s West End, becoming a Pontins’ Bluecoat and singing in a band. This penchant for performing shone through Ali’s talk with its visual illusions, multi-media presentations and even a spot of juggling to weave a fascinating story of how she came to write. The pupils were particularly fond of Ali’s spinning device that served as a make-believe time travelling means of going back to the 70s!

Pupils from Nursery to Year 5 were taken on a round-the-world trip by Lucy Walters, an actor and storyteller who specialises in bringing tales to life. The smallest spectators among this group were introduced to knights and castles, while the older children joined Lucy on a journey to Nepal to explore the theme of light. During her presentation, she touched on Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, JR Tolkien and Star Wars. Years 3 to 5 spent the whole morning participating in an ‘Around the World’ drama workshop in preparation for Lucy’s visit, creating soundscapes to evoke different environments, taking part in an interactive story and dramatizing new endings.

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