I am a former English teacher and lectured in Creative Writing at Leeds and Glasgow universities. For the last ten years I have also worked extensively in schools, reading from my novels and reading workshops. I don’t take attention spans for granted and try very hard to be as entertaining and stimulating for pupils as possible.
Mainly, I work with senior school secondary pupils (4th-6th year), as my novels tend to be more popular with that age group. Don’t worry, I won’t read from Death of a Ladies’ Man.
Increasingly, I have been asked to appear in primary schools (p.6-7). I can tailor readings from The Incredible Adam Spark easily to suit this age group (it’s fine, there’s no swearing!) and have suitable workshop materials.
I have experience of reading and leading workshops in care units and schools for socially-excluded young people.
In 2008-09, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire councils commissioned me to run projects over several weeks promoting literacy in primary schools. I facilitated the creation of graphic novels by children, to teach them storytelling, writing and planning skills. These projects have run successfully in both areas, involving the artists Keith Brumpton and Alison Thomas.
Here are some testimonials from teachers, after a speech I made for the launch of Falkirk District’s Literacy Strategy in 2007.
• “Thanks to the inspirational Alan Bissett! What a marvellous speaker.”
• “Hearing him really brought home to me how we must seek ways to reach reluctant readers, especially boys.”
• “The talk from Alan Bissett made me think differently about raising achievement of boys’ reading and writing.”
• “He was inspirational and his presentation was very valuable in terms of the impact of literacy and literature as a means of empowering young people.”