School Visits and Events


An Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Met University, Outreach Tutor for The Portico Library and Writer in Residence at Writing on the Wall, I have extensive experience of delivering both virtual and in-person events to both children and adults.

A former Head of Learning and Development, I hold an MA in Creative Writing and Pedagogy and a Level 7 Qualification in Action Learning. For many years, I was an Assistant Regional Advisor at the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators supporting the development of members at all stages of their careers.

Marie is such an outstanding writer and practitioner who is passionate about sharing her creativity with pupils of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, including those who have EAL and SEN. Feedback from teachers and pupils has been overwhelmingly positive and is a testimony to Marie’s ability to engage and inspire the next generation of creative writers.
Claudia Conerney, Schools Liaison Coordinator, MMU.

VIRTUAL VISITS MENU Schools and Children’s Book Festivals

My virtual events can be tailored to your needs or choose from one of my most popular events as detailed below. Please use the contact form or e-mail to discuss further.

Skype /Zoom Chat

15-minute session

I offer a limited number of free 15 minute Q and A sessions to schools that would otherwise be unable to afford author visits or who have used Princess BMX in the classroom.

#BeMoreBMX assembly style  presentation with reading and Q & A  

With themes of resilience, smashing stereotypes and developing a positive attitude, my assembly style presentation will leave children rearing to defy the limits others place on them and #BeMoreBMX. Includes a look at my own writing journey and of course some extreme sporting video clips!  

£100 for 60-minute session

A range of Princess BMX resources are available to schools to support the visit.  

While no limit on numbers, given the event is streamed via your preferred platform, schools will need to be mindful of logistics and the specific needs of pupils.

Live Workshop  

Princess BMX Character Mash using a Top  Trumps style format, children will develop their own fairy tale character and send them off on an exciting adventure!

Through the Portal travel through the portal and build your own fantasy world.    £100 for 45 minute session  

(£75 when delivered in conjunction with assembly event.)

Both workshops include drawing and writing exercises and are appropriately scaffolded so as to appeal to even the most reluctant writers. Follow-up activities will be provided so that the children can turn the activity into a full short story.  

Session tailored to school requirementsLet’s chat about fee and your requirements!


In Person Events

I can’t wait to visit you again in person. Here’s some examples of what I offer. Please contact me for prices.

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School Visits and Younger Audiences


With the publication of Princess BMX, I’m encouraging readers and writers – young and old – to achieve their ambitions through developing an extreme sporting mindset. My latest event offer including a fun, interactive presentation which encourages everyone to defy the limits others have set for them and Be More BMX!

Check out this Flickr video to see highlights of my Be More BMX assembly at St Oswald’s School in Wigan. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee a BMXer at your event.


Contact me to discuss your needs or choose from one of the tried and tested workshops I have developed. You’ll find some examples below:

BE MORE BMX – Core Presentation – 45 minute Assembly Plus Q and A and Opportunity for Book Signing

With their resilience, determination and a culture of mutual support, there is a lot we can learn from BMXers. With reference to my own childhood and the limitations others attempted to place on me because of my background , I explore why I wrote a book about BMX and how adopting an extreme sports mindset can help us achieve our ambitions and defy expectations.

Despite the serious subject matter, this is a fun, interactive presentation that can be tailored for different audiences. Expect flying teabags, jaw dropping BMX video clips and lots of laughs.

Themes: challenging stereotypes, resilience, developing confidence and self belief.

Listed in GEC Best Books 2019 – a round up of the absolute best books out there for mashing Stereotypes.

It was the ideal balance of learning activities and confidence building. The pupils felt that spending the morning with you had been a ‘treat’. It was a welcome change from the usual classroom setting and helped the disadvantaged cohort develop their literacy skills. To the pupils, it felt like special treatment, in the most positive sense.

Jane Hesketh, Audenshaw School – Commenting on my crime writing workshop for Year 7s

KS2 Creative Writing Workshop – Princess BMX Character Mash

Princess BMX is all about challenging expectations. This is true of the supporting characters too: a masculine fairy godfather who loves nothing better than his wife’s home cooked squirrel; a tiny, cantankerous unicorn with bucked teeth; and a dragon who breathes sherbet rather than fire, are just some of the ways the author mixes things up.

With reference to Princess BMX, and using a Top Trumps style format, children will create their own unique characters. After illustrating their character, they’ll highlight their unique traits and qualities and give them a problem – the key driver of any character-led story, before sending them off on their own adventure. Can be adapted to also cover story arc and plot development.

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World Book Day 2017 – Crime Writing Workshop with Manchester Academy, Year 9

KS2 Creative Writing Workshop – Through the Portal

Like any classic fairy tale, Princess BMX is set in a strange magical world with a number of distinct features. With an emphasis on descriptive writing, children will be challenged to create their own fantasy world and develop ideas for a short story:

• First, inspired by classic fantasy worlds and Marie’s sketches of Princess BMX’s Biscotti, they’ll map out their world.
• Next after thinking about its landscape and inhabitants, they’ll write a story opening, telling us more about the geography, animals and magical creatures that inhabit the world they’ve created.

For older year groups, the workshop can be adapted to include the classic elements of a fairy tale plot and portal stories, participants leaving with a plotting tool to further develop their story.

Book Cover Design Workshop – Years 5-7

Focusing on book covers, this workshop offers a different approach to exploring text. The session starts by taking a look at the jacket design of some recent publications, with Marie sharing exclusive author and illustrator insight into these covers and the process of book jacket design. The children will then design a book cover for a novel of their choice. With particular emphasis on how their cover relates to plot and themes, they’ll then write a short reflective piece about their design. If preferred, younger children can write a book blurb or short synopsis instead.

KS3 Creative Writing Workshop – Dude, what’s the problem?

Character, conflict and plot – a crime themed workshop.
A fun and interactive crime themed creative writing workshop that explores the links between plot and character and the essential conflict that is at the heart of any compelling narrative. The workshop includes a brief overview of some key components of story, including voice, dialogue, setting and editing. Depending on the interests of the group, the session can be adapted to place greater emphasis on any of these elements including a focus on descriptive writing in line with GCSE requirements.


Adults and Young Adults

Man Met Saturday Writing and Talking Club London visit.

Since graduating from Manchester Writing School,  I have worked at MMU as an Associate Lecturer, teaching BA English and Creative Writing students, Foundation Year and both writers and teachers attending the Teaching Creative Writing professional development module. As ARA Networks at the SCBWI British Isles, I commission and deliver development support for writers and illustrators at all stages of their careers.

Marie is such an asset to SCBWI – cheerful, hard working, diligent, fun and super bright – she brings so much more than her amazing organisational skills. We’d truly be lost without her!

Kathryn Evans, Author and Co-RA SCBWI-British Isles

In 2017, working under the direction of the Director Manchester Children’s Book Festival, I set up and managed MMUs first ever Writing and Talking Saturday Club, an enrichment programme for young writers aged 13-16.

Teaching at University level, I’ve experience of supporting writers with all elements of craft and I am happy to tailor an event to your needs. I also have range of unique workshops ready to deliver. In addition to the KS3 sessions listed above, these include:

Always show the reader what the kids are having to eat – a recap on some writing for children fundamentals. We’ll take time out to stop and ask are we writing a marketable book that meets reader and industry expectations: covering key elements of craft, book categories and child developmental stages, and demystifying the term high concept.

It’s my fictional world and I’ll cry if I want to! – world building and setting without the tears. Well, with less tears.

What Captain America taught me about voice – stand out characters and snazzy dialogue. Perfecting voice and dialogue with reference to the Marvel Avengers and Myers Briggs personality types – no advanced Avengers knowledge required!

So you think you’ve finished your novel – a redrafting and editing know how covering some of the key considerations when getting your novel submission ready.

Conferences, Bookshops and Festivals

I have also chaired or participated in a range of literary events and conferences, including the Manchester Children’s Book Festival, Chorlton Book Festival and Salford University’s YA Festival.

The workshops listed in the section above can be adapted for a range of settings and the assembly presentation also makes an excellent festival event. I also offer an alternative version which has a greater emphasis on my writing journey, explores the similarities between the writing and extreme sporting mindset and offers tips for developing resilience and staying the course.

Just when I thought she’d shown us everything, this year Marie took to the MCBF performance space at the Bigger Book Bash and engaged children in stories of Princess BMX, complete with party games, flying tea bags, bouncing eyeballs and unicorn hobby horses.  Completely bonkers but a consummate professional, not a bad mix in my book. 

Kaye Tew Director of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival

Sample Craft Workshop – Bookshops, Libraries and Festivals

If you require a less formal, event I offer a number of fun activities and games that celebrate the diverse characters in Princess BMX, including designing an outfit for Jeb the puppy, the Princess Expectations Memory Game and the Aunt Maude’s Eyeball versus Tyson Target Challenge.

A favourite activity is making a bobble hat for Tyson the tea bag, one of the upside-down fairy tale characters from Princess BMX. Combined with a reading and Q and A this makes a great bookshop or library event.

Make a Booking and Fees

An experienced learning practitioner with extensive experience of facilitation and personal development, I would love to talk to you about school visits and events or how I can support your own creative projects. As a former organisational development professional, I bring advanced project management and people skills to any assignment. In addition to the aforementioned MA Creative Writing, I have an MSc Management, Certificate in Coaching and I am an accredited action learning facilitator.

Please use the contact form or e-mail to discuss dates and fees.

Further Endorsements

I’ve worked with Marie in a number of ways over the years I’ve known her.  She is always positive and easy to work with and her events are always well organised and lots of fun.  In her role as ARA at SCBWI, we partnered on events and projects aimed at supporting the adult writing community, helping us to broaden our festival offer.  When I was asked to set up the first Manchester Writing & Talking Saturday Club, I knew Marie would be the perfect person to help.  I’d seen her deliver workshops with school groups before and knew she would be the perfect person to inspire our young writers.  The ethos of Saturday Club is about writers at different stages of their careers sharing knowledge and helping each other to develop their craft, Marie did this brilliantly, creating workshops weekly and really relating to the young people who came and kept coming throughout the 12 weeks.  

Just when I thought she’d shown us everything, this year Marie took to the MCBF performance space at the Bigger Book Bash and engaged children in stories of Princess BMX, complete with party games, flying tea bags, bouncing eyeballs and unicorn hobby horses.  Completely bonkers but a consummate professional, not a bad mix in my book. 

Kaye Tew Director of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival