A visit from an author or illustrator can be an incredibly inspiring experience for pupils and is the ideal way to promote reading for pleasure. Hearing an author speak passionately about their work brings the magic of books to life in a unique and exciting way. It also shows students that authors are real – living, breathing, laughing people, consequently sowing a seed of thought: writing a book is something I could do too! Most importantly an author visit helps to reinforce that reading is FUN!
The following authors are currently offering school visits in the UK, including presentations, assemblies and interactive workshops.
- Carrie Sellon – Author of Pizza Pete
- Chie Kutsuwada – Manga illustrator of Tsunami Girl
- Lisa Williamson – Author of Bigg School: Best Friends Forever
- Anthony Burt – Author of The Animal Lighthouse
- The Brothers McLeod – Authors of the Knight Sir Louis series
- Louisa Reid – author of Gloves Off, Wrecked and Activist – please email Catherine Alport, publicist: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Anna Goodall – Author the Maggie Blue books – please email Catherine Alport, publicist: email@example.com
- Taylor Dolan – Author of The Ghost Scout series (offering visits in Ireland and virtual visits) – please email Catherine Alport, publicist: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Julian Sedgwick – Author of Tsunami Girl and 100 Tales from the Tokyo Ghost Cafe (Please download author event information for details about workshops and presentations.)
Top Tips for an Awesome Author Visit
Book the visit well in advance.
Booking a visit as early as possible will allow you to select the best date for your school. Look at your school calendar and consider key events, theme days and the curriculum/ assembly schedule. You may be able to plan the visit to coincide with topics, projects or lessons that match the themes of the book. Be aware that authors tend to get booked up far in advance, particularly in the Spring term around World Book Day.
Value authors by expecting to pay them for their work.
Some authors waive their fee and expenses if they are promoting a brand-new book, but the majority of authors charge a fee and will outline this prior to confirming your booking. If your finance system requires forms to be filled in, do make sure this process is outlined clearly to the author – and if possible, make sure they are paid promptly! They will thank you for it.
Make sure everybody at school knows about the visit.
Put the visit on your school calendar and ensure everybody knows when the author will be in school, how long the visit will last and which shared spaces will be used.
Liaise with the author about resources and tech requirements.
Ensure that you have equipment and resources ready. Test maker pens – make sure they work! If the author is planning to do a digital presentation, check computer cables, speakers, internet access etc.
Get pupils (and staff!) excited about the visit.
Tell them about the author and the stories they have written. Read extracts from the books. Show the author’s website or videos they may have created – some authors are happy to do quick bespoke videos too, so do ask if this is possible. Most authors incorporate a Q&A section in their event – help prepare children for this by discussing questions they may like to ask. Sometimes the publisher creates bookmarks, posters or other promotional items that can be used as prizes or for promoting the visit – do ask if there are any available.
Make the author feel welcome and comfortable.
Authors will appreciate a friendly face upon arrival – a named person who is expecting them and who knows where to take them. Ensure they know where to find the bathroom and offer them refreshments. Provide information in advance about parking and how to access the school by public transport.
Have a clear system in place for book sales and signings.
Giving children the option to buy a book by your visiting author is important and all authors will expect this with a visit. The best option is to work with your local bookseller, as they are set up to do events and can make sure this runs smoothly – and it takes the pressure off you. They are also flexible in situations and can offer advice. Liaise with the author, publicist or publisher in advance. Ensure parents know about the visit and how they can purchase books.
Remember authors are not teachers.
They don’t know your school or how to handle the behaviour of your group of pupils. Ensure staff members are available to help with the smooth running of sessions. If you have SEN children attending the event let the author know in advance in case they need to make adjustments to their event.
Take lots of photos.
Make sure that somebody is in charge of photography and that a camera is charged. Check whether you have permission to use the pictures you take.
Pupils will enjoy seeing photos of the day they met the author. The images will also make a great display and provide memories of a fantastic day!