Events and School Visits

I love visiting schools and libraries to meet readers, budding writers, anyone interested in the themes in my books, and in the route to becoming a published author. I am a natural performer and have been told I engage my audience and leave them feeling inspired.

I am happy to discuss your needs and plan a day consisting of a mixture of the workshops/talks below, or a repetition of workshops/talks for different classes/groups.

I also deliver talks via Skype/Zoom. Please contact me here to discuss your needs.

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WORKSHOPS AND ASSEMBLIES: 

I deliver whole school assemblies and also 50-minute class workshops. I use a range of interactive activities and if requested, leave work for the class to finish after I have left.

WORKSHOP: BOY, EVERYWHERE
Duration: 50 minutes
Suitable for years 4 – 8
Size: Classroom of up to 30

I grab the attention of my audience by going through a set of photographs that help them visualise the setting in my book and show how refugees are not as different as they’re depicted to be. The adults in the room are sometimes left more surprised than the children! After a reading from my book, children are asked to imagine having to leave home, make a list or write a letter to their best friend. In the past children have designed a chair to welcome refugee children to the UK for the #3000chairs project on Twitter.

BESPOKE BOY, EVERYWHERE WORKSHOP:
Duration: 50 minutes
Suitable for years 4 – 9
Size: Classroom of up to 30

There are many STEAM and language related topics within Boy, Everywhere that can also be delivered with resources up on request, including:

1. Geography: Sami travels through Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece and Manchester. Look at continents – do they have a river/ocean/mountains. Capital cities.
2. Travel: Methods of travel used by refugees; boats, planes, buses.
3. STEAM: Medicine, engineering, building. Basic Maths: How many countries did Sami leave, how many friends?
4. Politics and current affairs: Refugee crisis, homelessness, asylum, detention.
5. Religion and culture: Islam, Syrian culture in comparison to British/American culture
6. Language: Metaphors (e.g. Sami compares Aunty Fatimah to Cruella de Vil), Sami’s methods of communication (texts, iMessages, letters, emails, Whatsapp). Look at descriptive passages or dialogue from the book.
7. Family Life (food, work)
8. History (Syrian crisis began in March 2011, why and how, impact on Syria, Europe and refugees)
9. Mental Health (anxiety, worries, fears, bullying, belonging, selective mutism – worksheet on empathy “what are you afraid of? Why are you afraid of that?)
10. Family and friendship related topics for younger ages (mum, dad, sister, grandma, granddad, uncle, aunty, cousin)
11. Empathy/stereotypes

TALK: BECOMING A WRITER AND GETTING PUBLISHED
Duration: 45-60 minutes with a Q&A
Suitable for years 5+
Size: Classroom to assembly

A look at what it takes to get published. From reading around your genre, to the importance of critique, editing, rewriting, submitting your work to agents and then waiting for publisher responses.  I also cover how I developed my manuscript, sharing some of the ‘zero’ draft opening chapters, which eventually became other chapters within the book. Then I look at working with an editor, choosing a cover and the marketing process.

TALK TO AN AUTHOR:
Duration: 30-60 minutes
Suitable for library groups, years 5 to adult

I talk briefly about my books and how I got published, and then open the room up for questions.

WORKSHOP: WRITING REALISTIC CHARACTERS
Duration: 50 minutes
Suitable for years 4 – 9
Size: Up to 32

We’ll look at writing realistic and memorable characters. Students will visualise and plan their fictional character, then write a scene including them. The workshop will focus on describing characters, showing their personalities on the page and distinguishing their voice in narration and dialogue.

WORKSHOP: EDITING
Duration: 45 minutes
Suitable for years 4 – 9
Size: Up to 32

We’ll look at how ‘writing is actually rewriting’. I’ll show them how certain chapters in my book were developed and improved with each stage of editing. We’ll look at adding description, distinctive details, showing and telling. Students will write a short scene and then edit it.

WORKSHOP: SUBMISSION PACKAGES AND QUERYING AGENTS
Duration: 50 minutes
Suitable for adults
Size: Up to 50

For writers at the beginning of the publishing process. We’ll look at word counts, formatting your submission package, author bios, synopsis and comparative titles. We’ll also look at responses from agents, what to look for in an agent and how to decide if they’re a match for you and your work.

WORKSHOP: REPRESENTATION AND AUTHENTICITY IN YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOK
Duration: 1 hour
Suitable for adults
Size: Up to 100

For writers / publishers who want to publish books outside of their lived experience. Using my personal perspective, I will show you how to sensitively and accurately represent communities that you are not a part of. I’ll share practical tips based on how I wrote my upper middle grade novel Boy, Everywhere. We will explore common pitfalls and harmful tropes through discussion and activities.

 
 
School Visits classrom set up

TESTIMONIALS:

“Thank you so so much for your visit yesterday….I spoke to the other teachers and children and everyone thought you were amazing! I really hope we can keep in touch and work together again one day.”

“I am wondering how you would feel about visiting us at Glebelands again this year during Refugee Week?”

“Everyone was so engaged, even —– (a child with autistism). I was so impressed by how you managed the class, have you had experienced before?”

“You could’ve heard a pin drop. You had us mesmerised.”

“Eye opening. Really good.”

FEES:

My fees are in line with what the Society of Authors recommends.

  • £150 for a single 50 minute talk.
  • £250 for a half day (2 workshops).
  • £350 for a whole day (4 workshops).
  • I will reduce the fee to £300 per day if additional days are booked.

These fees do not include travel expenses (I will not charge travel if the visit is within a 15 mile radius).
Food and accommodation will be added for events that require overnight stays.

ONLINE FEES:

• 10-15 minutes (A short reading and Q&A) = £25.
• 20 minutes = £50
• 30 minutes = £50-90
• 60 minutes = £90-£150-£180 (depending on workshop)

Please read this excellent guide by the World Book Day team on how to organise an author visit and a guide to typical fees for workshops.

I am a member of the following writer’s organisations:

SoA – The Society of Authors 
CWIG – Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group
SCBWI – The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

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EVENTS AND PUBLIC SPEAKING

A. M. Dassu is a confident speaker who has in the past been interviewed for television and hosted charity auctions and events. She is happy to discuss interviews and school visits in person or via Skype/Zoom. Please contact her here.

  • She has been delivering school workshops since 2016, using her experience of class observations as a school governor. More information on these here.
  • In February 2019, A. M.Dassu read a chapter from Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon to a big audience at the Southbank Centre in London
  • In February 2020, A. M.Dassu moderated a panel of ambassadors at the Inclusive Minds A Place At The Table Conference to an audience of publishers, booksellers and authors.
  • She pitched her book directly to booksellers at the at Publishers Association Conference.
  • She delivered a short workshop on authentic inclusion at the Children’s Media Conference on 6th July 2020.
  • Her WOWCON writing workshop in September 2020 on representation and authenticity in children’s books sold out in 1 hour! 
  • She chaired a panel discussing the opening pages of manuscripts with Asmaa Isse (Assistant Editor, Penguin Random House Children’s), Dave Rudden (Middle Grade author, Puffin), and Lydia Silver (Agent, Darley Anderson) for the WOWCON conference in September 2020.
  • The launch for her MG novel Boy, Everywhere will be on 21st October 2020. Watch this space!