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The Explorers’ Compendium of Strange Beings

Carmen Marcus

About the event

In this workshop with Redcar-based writer Carmen Marcus, children will learn about the strange and wonderful creatures that exist right under their noses and create new creatures inspired by the landscape they are working within.

For example, for a beach location children will learn about creatures like nudibranchs (sea slugs), bio phosphorescent creatures, sea stars and how they are perfectly designed for their world.

With this new knowledge, children will explore the natural world around them or in books to create a Strange Being fact sheet, detailing creature features, what they eat, where they like to live, and using the resources available to add their creature to The Explorers Compendium of Strange Beings.

This event is suited to 6 to 12-year-olds.

Event details

When: Saturday 26 November 2-3pm

Where: Kirkleatham Museum

Please arrive 10 minutes before the event is due to start.

This event is organised by the National Literacy Trust’s Read North East Hub, in partnership with Northern Children’s Book Festival. Funded by Arts Council England, with thanks to Kirkleatham Museum.

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If you have any trouble completing the booking, please contact

About the author

Carmen is a published author, poet, creative facilitator, and mentor. As the daughter of a Yorkshire fisherman and Irish chef her writing brings together the practical and the magical.  Her debut novel HOW SAINTS DIE was published by Vintage in 2018, it won New Writing North’s Northern Promise Award and was long listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize. Daisy Johnson describes it as a ‘glorious, beautiful sea shanty of a book.’

Her poetry has been commissioned by BBC Radio, The Royal Festival Hall, Durham Book Festival and Apples and Snakes. She was named as a BBC Verb New Voice 2015. In August 2022 she was chosen as one of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain’s recipients of the New Play Commission Scheme with her debut full length play AND THE EARTH OPENED UP UNDER HER.

She regularly runs writing workshops on subjects that range from creating dangerously to mythic underworlds. She has been a guest lecturer at the Universities of Leicester, Northumbria and Teesside and has been invited to speak by Penguin Random House and the Northern Writers’ Conference.

Having made the journey from council estate to the bookshelves Carmen is dedicated to supporting working class writers to tell their stories.

Carmen is currently working on a poetry collection entitled THE SKIN BOAT whichexplores her relationship with the sea and her fishing heritage. She will begin her PHD with Teesside University this autumn on Questions of Space, Place and Belonging.

She strives in her work to live up to the words of her first and most influential critic, her primary school teacher, ‘weird, minus one house-point.’

Visit Carmen's website.

Venue information

Getting to Kirkleatham Museum

Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds
TS10 5NW

Visit their website.

Public transport options

The closest train station to the museum is Redcar Central. This station is serviced regularly by the Northern Rail service from Bishop Auckland to Saltburn. Arriva North East service Kirkleatham with the services 81, 81A, 63 and the 64.

For questions relating to the venue, access and travel, please contact Kirkleatham Museum:

  • Phone: 01642 479500


  • Prams and buggies welcome
  • This event is free to attend, please ensure you have a ticket for each person
  • For questions relating to the event, tickets or any other questions, please contact
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