I’m delighted to announce that your Bute Park tutor has been shortlisted for a major award, the 2017 Lollies (Laugh Out Loud awards), for Thimble Monkey Superstar. Fear not, this will not affect the price of creative writing courses in Bute Park, although it does mean I’ll have to limit these this year to make time for school and library visits during the voting period.
This year I celebrate thirty years as a Cardiff author, and I couldn’t wish for a better way to mark the occasion.
Congratulations should also go to my brilliant illustrator, Martin Chatterton, who has illustrated half a dozen of my books, including Little Stupendo, shortlisted for the 1996 Children’s Book Award.
Thimble Monkey Superstar is for sale at all the usual outlets, but you can buy it at a discount price from Firefly Press, a local publisher which is really making a name for itself. If you like the book, please vote for it here, and if you are a teacher or librarian interested in an author visit, I am doing these for a very low fee at present.
As always, I am happy to hear from anyone interested in taking a course – feel free to email me with your area of interest.
Can You Write For Children? has now drawn to a successful conclusion but I shall be running more courses this year. As always I am interested to hear what you are looking for – I’m qualified to teach novel or short story writing, scriptwriting, writing for children, writing for young adults and anything else you may spot on my cv at my author website or by checking through the archives here. Just email me to discuss your interests.
nb If you have a child who’s attempting this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, look out for Thimble Monkey Superstar! Signed copies available from my author website.
Can You Write for Children?, starting Sunday Jan 8th, is now fully booked, but as demand has been so strong I am running a second course after the current one ends. The course will begin on March 5th for six weeks, avoiding April 9th (RBS show in Bute Park) and April 16th (Easter Sunday), thus finishing on April 23rd. As usual the workshops will take place from 1.30 – 3pm and be suitable for writers of any experience. The cost is £95, with concessions for the unwaged and those who have attended a previous course.
Early booking is always advised. I always operate a numbers limit to ensure that all students get the attention they need. I consider it essential that students get feedback on each piece of work in the week it is written.
Please feel free to email me or ring 07599 203480 if you have any questions.
By popular demand, the next course in Bute Park will be Can You Write for Children? Over six Sundays we will look at the basics of plot, character and voice in writing stories for children of all ages. The price will be £95 (£85 if you’ve previously taken a course), with concessions for the unwaged. As always the course will be suitable for adults of any experience, and if you are beset by doubts about putting pen to paper, fear not! Just give me a ring on 07599 203480 to discuss the course, or email me. Early booking is advised.
Please note – if you want to give this course as a Christmas gift, let me know and I’ll email you a gift token on payment.
Besides teaching creative writing at Bute Park I do occasionally write books (60 at the last count) and for this reason will be appearing this Saturday (8 Oct) as part of the Firefly Day at Waterstones Cardiff. I’ll be reading from my latest children’s story Thimble Monkey Superstar, answering questions and maybe making up some stories with whoever happens to be there.
The event starts at 11am and I’ll be doing my bit between 12 and 12.30. As I write for all ages I’ll be pleased to see children, teens or adults, but only of the human variety. I’ll be happy to chat about my creative writing courses afterwards (nb it is still possible to join Writing Short Stories – see above).
For more on those 60 books, see www.jonblake.co.uk.
The next course at Bute Park will be Writing Short Stories, running from Sunday 25 Sept to 30 October. Classes will be from 1.30 to 3pm each week. The course will be suitable for people of any experience and the cost will be £95 (£85 for those who’ve been on a previous course). If there is room I’ll also take people who are unwaged at a concessionary rate – just contact me about this or if you have any other enquiries.
Please note: the course is now running, but it is still possible to join it for one or more workshops, paying by the week. Email me or ring 07599 203480 for details, or simply use the pay-by-week button on the booking page.
This summer it will be thirty years since my first YA novel, Yatesy’s Rap, was published by Penguin Books. Fifty-nine books have followed, including the 200,000 selling You’re A Hero Daley B (Axel Scheffler’s first picture book), the 70,000 selling House of Fun series, the 35,000 selling One Girl School, and the widely-acclaimed YA thriller The Last Free Cat, a passionate indictment of privatisation. The books that I have written in Cardiff are sold as far afield as the USA, Japan and China; I’ve been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award and a Writers Guild Award and have won a BBC Talent Award for radio comedy.
Just as important to me is my work as a teacher, not just at Welsh universities and the Bute Park Education Centre but on a myriad of school visits and community projects. It has been especially important to me to work in areas such as Adamsdown, where I lived for nineteen years: I don’t come from a professional background and have always been on a mission to encourage others in the same boat.
To celebrate those thirty years as an author I am offering to visit schools, libraries, community projects and events free of charge: I will bring signed copies of my latest book for juniors, Thimble Monkey Superstar, for sale, as well as other books on request. The offer will last to the end of September 2016, so if you are interested, let me know as soon as possible by email, or call me on 07599 203480. I am a qualified teacher and hold a disclosure certificate.
For details of Bute Park courses, see below.
Are writing courses in Bute Park behind improvements in wildlife literacy? (photo:Rhiannon Hobbs)
It’s been a fantastic year so far in Bute Park: the third six-week course is nearing conclusion and last Saturday’s monologues workshop, the third one-off event of the year, was a great success. As usual there will be a summer break now, but more courses are planned for the autumn: if you’re interested in attending one or more of these, email me and I’ll make sure you hear about them. I always aim to provide whatever writers are looking for: check back through previous courses and workshops advertised here to see the range available. If you have an interest that hasn’t been covered, let me know.
Online tuition and editing are available at www.storyvet.net. My children’s books site is at www.jonblake.co.uk.
Matthew Bulgo’s Constellation Street, a series of interlocking monologues, was a huge hit when performed recently at the Other Room. Now there’s a great chance to meet Matthew in the beautiful setting of Bute Park: he’ll answer questions on his work and conduct a workshop on the writing of monologues. Writers of any or no experience are welcome.
The date is Saturday 25 June (1-3pm) and the cost just £12. As always it is recommended to book early.
For all enquiries email Jon Blake or ring 07599 203480.
The next course at Bute Park will be Creative Writing For All, a general creative writing class suitable for people of all ages and experience. As always, the emphasis will be on learning through doing; writing in a relaxed and encouraging environment and having fun doing it. The course will be tailored to the interests of those taking part; you will be able to write for whatever age-range and genre you prefer. It will run on Sundays from June 5 to July 10, 1.30 to 3pm, and the price will be £95 (£85 for those who’ve done a previous course). There is a numbers limit on courses to ensure that everybody gets sufficient attention, so it’s a good idea to book early. Check out the other pages here for details of the venue and tutor, and book here. Ring Jon Blake on 07599 203480 or email for further details.
Please note: owing to a large increase in room hire rates I’ve made a small increase to the concessionary rates. Email me for details of how to enrol if unwaged.