I have started work as a lecturer with the University of South Wales delivering a module titled ‘Writing for Children’. The post is for 12 weeks to allow my PhD supervisor relief from his teaching schedule to undertake research. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m thoroughly enjoying the chance to support students in the second and third year of their undergraduate studies in creative writing.
Since working at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, I have taken an interest in children’s literature and this can now be channeled into my teaching. As part of my PhD, I’ve been asked to develop scenes from the teenage years of my novel’s protagonist, so like some of the students, I’m working towards framing the experience of a young adult. I’ve returned to reading Esther Freud’s Love Falls to assist in this process. The novel focuses on seventeen-year-old Lara who takes a holiday with her father in Tuscany. There she’s introduced to the Willoughby family and their troupe of teenagers. She’s attracted to Kit but there are others who have ambitions for Lara which results in a struggle that changes her life.
The session I am teaching this week relates to dialogue in children’s fiction. I’m looking at examples from children’s literature including picture books and short novels. I’ve developed masses of material which I’m unlikely to get through, but I hope it will support the students’ skills and confidence in using dialogue in their writing. I’ll let you know how I get on.