Over 400 children filled the Fossetts Big Top to hear Jeremy Strong read from his selection of 93 publications. At once lively, fun and full of as many appropriately disgusting sound effects, Jeremy had the young audience captivated for the whole hour – which isn’t so easy when there are lights, popcorn stands and a flying trapeze to distract! But then again, who or what can compete with ‘My brother’s Famous Bottom’ or ‘Wham Bam, Jelly and Jam!’ super heroes?
Jeremy’s reading was fully interactive and had the children literally rolling with laughter. With a range of slides to support, including images of characters from his books that children have made and posted to him, Jerry guided the children through the process of writing stories; from the germ of an idea through to the editing process using instances the children would understand.
“Have you ever been to the doctors to get glued because you hurt yourself? When I went the nurse told me that she’d got her fingers stuck to a boy’s head. Luckily, she was wearing a glove, so she could escape. But he had to walk around with a glove glued to his head. Watch out for that in one of my books.”
Jeremy even addressed the types of environments that help a writer to write, making the whole idea of writing as a profession a realistic possibility.
“Put your hands up if you like writing stories when you’re at home. Where do you go to in your house to write stories? What room do you go to?”
Particularly brilliant was the way in which Jeremy encouraged the children throughout the session to dream about the possibility of being authors. Showing a story that he wrote aged six, Jeremy worked through the story’s strengths and flaws, highlighting spelling mistakes, the perspective-challenged images (think giant man, tiny door) and explained to the children;
“I started writing stories just like you lot; at school. Almost every person here is already an author because you’ve already written stories.’
Before coming to Writers’ Week, Jeremy promised:
“I generally talk about where I write and where ideas come from and give a reading and answer Q and A’s and it all seems to make the audience laugh a lot and we have a good time and then go home. In addition I shall be mentioning sheds, superglue, doughnuts and chocolate. And possibly throw in the odd bottom or two. Not to mention dolls made from carrots.”
That’s certainly what we got…and more!