Author Visit with Megan Wynne
My author visits aim to inspire teachers and students. I talk about the ups and downs of my life as a writer and also about the art of creative writing.
I encourage pupils and teachers to be adventurous and imaginative in their approach to creative writing. I also give tips on how to use incidents from our own lives and embellish them for dramatic effect. I talk about my favourite books and own self doubts about becoming a writer.
My message is that everyone is original and unique, and it is important to write what is in our hearts regardless of what anyone thinks.
I am happy to talk to very large groups of children (several hundred) as long as class teachers are present.
So far I have received excellent feedback from schools and libraries. Here is a recent testimonial from Julie Walsh, 3rd Class teacher in Holy Trinity National School, Leopardstown, County Dublin:
"Megan's talk was both entertaining and inspiring to the children and teachers alike. She has the ability to speak to the children in a very mature yet child friendly way. The anecdotes about her life were both funny and thought provoking which captured the children's attention. Her passion for reading and writing is infectious."
1. My Long Road to Publication
2. The story behind my Novel ‘The House on Hawthorn Road’
I tell a story about the strange coincidence that lies behind the idea for The House on Hawthorn Road. It came about twelve years ago when I was teaching my very first creative writing student in various locations around Dublin. I wanted to send her a Christmas card and so asked for her address. When she told me she lived in no. 3 Hawthorn Road in Clonskeagh I nearly dropped the phone. She was living in the exact same house in Dublin that my father had grown up in. I had visited my grandparents there when I was a child. When I told her this, she and her mother immediately invited me there for afternoon tea.
3 Hawthorn Road is a beautiful red-brick house in Clonskeagh. When my father lived there, it had been dark and pokey inside but since my student’s family moved in they had built on an extension. While I sat there eating scones, in their light-filled extension at the back of the house, an idea came to me. What if, by building on this extension, the family had altered the structure of the house causing magical cracks in the walls to appear? And what if those cracks allowed my eleven-year-old creative writing student, Beth, to travel back to 1950’s when my father and siblings lived there?
The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I knew my Dad’s brother, Robin, would make an excellent character for a children’s novel. He was outrageously funny and used to get into lots of trouble in school. He was called the class dunce and nobody was able to handle him. Unkown to him and everyone else at the time, he had dyslexia. As a result he was completely miserable and frustrated. Beth (in the novel) is also having a hard time at her new school and the two form an unlikely friendship. They are able to help each other out and at the same time cause havoc for both families!
In the story I show how having dyslexia does not mean you’re stupid. In my experience children with dyslexia have wonderful imaginations and are very intelligent. I have been teaching creative writing to children for over twelve years and some of my best students have dyslexia.
3. Bullying and Anxiety in Children
Another topic I am keen to discuss is bullying and anxiety in children. I was bullied in school and as a result became anxious. I find a great cure is to write about the experience (as I did in The House on Hawthorn Road) and also to keep a journal. Another excellent way to keep my mind from worrying is to read and write stories. Many children who are drawn to writing and stories have large imaginations, which can cause them to worry. I love to help these children by encouraging them to keep their minds busy by creating stories. It works a treat!
4. Time Travel Stories
I read aloud from The House on Hawthorn Road and discuss time travelling with the group. I give my top tips on how to write creatively. My aim is to inspire them to write their own stories.
5. Questions and Answers
I always give time for lots of questions about writing and anything else the children wish to talk about.