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News story

Hastings pupils crack the case in crime writing workshop

31 Mar 2021

Dave Cousins Crime and Mystery Workshop banner with logo.jpg

Dave Cousins with Book.jpg

Sandown Primary School in Hastings took part in live digital crime and mystery writing workshop with author Dave Cousins!

We've teamed up with Children’s author Dave Cousins and the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) to bring Dave's exciting crime and mystery writing workshop to Sandown Primary School in Hastings and gift each participating pupil a free book.

Dave Cousins, author and illustrator of 15 Days Without A Head and Charlie Merrick’s Misfits, gave Year 5 at the school a fun and interactive online workshop which consisted of a series of exciting activities that gave pupils a flavour of what it is like to develop and write a crime and mystery story.

Dave is a lifelong fan of crime and mystery stories and his digital workshop is being run in support of the Ruth Rendell Award. The Award was launched in 2016 by the National Literacy Trust and ALCS in honour of crime writer Ruth Rendell, and is given to the author or writer who has made the biggest difference to literacy in the UK in the past year. The winner for 2020 was poet and hip hop artist Karl Nova.

In the workshop Dave shared his journey to becoming a writer from his dreams of walking on the moon to drawing comics in his bedroom, and activities included a quiz, writing, illustrating, character developing and even some code breaking, all building up to challenging pupils to go and write their own crime and mystery story.

Dave also read part of his latest novel, A Robot Ate My Grandma and each pupil received a copy to take home and keep.

“I enjoyed drawing and writing characters because we could use our imagination. Dave Cousins has inspired me to continue writing comics and stories”

“I enjoyed getting tips from Dave and I loved designing my own characters and learning about how to make a great story.”


Lucy Bruce, Year 6 Teacher and English Leader, said: "The sound of Year 5s laughter filled the corridors on the day they had their workshop with Dave Cousins. Year 5 absolutely loved the book and were so excited to take home their very own signed copy. Dave's love for writing and creating characters really inspired all the children and the adults to go home and start writing. The classes loved creating their own characters and letting their imagination run wild and finding out all about Dave and his writing journey was also a highlight."

"I really enjoy sharing tips to help young people get creative and write their own stories. I’ve always been a huge fan of crime and mystery books so was delighted to team up with the National Literacy Trust and ALCS to create this workshop. Everyone’s energy and ideas were brilliant, I hope that Year 5 at Sandown Primary School had fun taking part!”

Author Dave Cousins

Dave’s crime and mystery workshop is available to a school in each of the National Literacy Trust’s Hub areas across the country. Dave’s visit to Sandown Primary School was supported by our National Literacy Trust Hub in Hastings.

Find out more about the Hastings Literacy Hub
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