Elka Evalds began her career as a museum assistant, and earned a PhD in art history from Yale University. After twelve years as a university lecturer she completed an MA in Creative Writing for young people at Bath Spa University in 2016. Her book, Granny Magic, was published in 2019 by Chicken House books. In addition to writing stories for children, she also lectures for adults. She has taught several courses in the history of illustrated children’s books.
Visit and workshop details
All visits include a book signing. Time should be allowed somewhere in the day’s programme for it; after school is fine. Elka gives every school she visits a gift copy of Granny Magic for its library.
All ages, any size of audience
- A Meeting with Elka: suitable for a full school assembly. Elka talks about writing, and how Granny Magic came to be written (30 minutes). Followed by a question and answer period (15 minutes), and a book signing.
Creative writing workshops
- The Seed of a Story: First we generate a (nearly) random sentence. Then we use the sentence to begin a story. We discuss plot, character arc, effective villain-making, and theme, while we outline. Duration one hour. Suitable for Year 4 and above, maximum 30 pupils.
- Writing as Play: We explore metaphors, and make poems. Then we imagine a character, get to know them, and write the beginning of a story. Duration one hour. Suitable for Years 3 to 6, maximum 30 pupils.
- Make a Picture Book: We talk about what makes a story, and we create a story together. Then, using a sheet of A4 paper and a pair of scissors, we make blank books, ready to be transformed into picture books. Duration one hour. Suitable for Years 3 and above, maximum 30 pupils.
- Medieval Beast Books: Learn how children were taught to read in the Middle Ages, and how books were made. Then make Medieval Beast Books. Duration one hour. Suitable for Years 3 and above, for a class group or can be done with larger groups.
- Magic Grannies: Grans with wings, grans with broomsticks and grans with magic cooking pots. Brave children can volunteer to help act out the story. Finishes with a reading from Granny Magic. Duration one hour.
- Magic Yarns: Stories about magical spinning, weaving and knitting.Brave children can volunteer to help act out the story. Finishes with a reading from Granny Magic. Duration 30 to 60 minutes.
- Winter Stories: Stories about winter, snow, and warm woolly jumpers. Includes paper snowflake making. Finishes with a reading from Granny Magic. Duration 30 to 60 minutes.
- Tales from The Round House: Talking otters, helpful beavers and curious goddesses appear in stories inspired by the prehistoric world. Brave children can help act out the story. Duration 30 to 60 minutes.
- Magical Beasts: Orpheus, Pegasus and a fleet of small dragons star in stories about fantastical beasts, with help from brave children. Includes clothespeg dragon making. Duration 30 to 60 minutes.
- Others: With a small development fee, Elka can make a session based upon any theme.
- The History of illustrated children’s books: a one-hour digital lecture, with examples to explore.
- The Development of the contemporary picture book: a one-hour digital lecture, with examples to explore.
Works with18+ (Adult), 14-16 (KS4), 11-14 (KS3), 7-11 (KS2), 5-7 (KS1), 3-5 (EYFS 2)
- £200 plus travel expenses for a half day (one session)
- £300 plus travel expenses for a full day (two or more sessions)