The Encounter: Bea’s Backpack

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A series of six workshops that explore home, displacement, loss and belonging through the co-creation of a magic realism story.

Connected to my current PhD exploring adoption through creative writing this series of workshops focuses on character creation using objects, maps and writing setting, worldbuilding and magical encounters. The workshops use drama techniques and oracy to create a shared story, building investment that inspires individual writing using diaries, poetry, description and narrative. The students are encouraged to use their own real-life experience to construct the fictional world.

Through these workshops I will introduce my current work in progress, Bea’s Witch, and talk about my process as a writer. I will use Bea’s Backpack – a series of props I’ve created that belong to my main character – to think about how objects help us to tell stories, asking the students to make connections and work out who the objects belong to and what their story might be.

There are six workshops in this series, all between 60 and 90 minutes, covering character development, setting, worldbuilding, structure and plot. The material can be adapted to suit the length of time you have. Some of the workshops stand alone, others can be combined to make day-long or weekend sessions. Let me know what your requirements are, and I can suggest the best combination.

“Not like a normal English class; it’s more relaxed and chilled… It’s fun because I’m allowed to freely express my thoughts and ideas with no wrong answers… [These sessions are] beneficial for all students (even teachers) to develop a sense of understanding how to create a story with complex and interesting characters.”

Aarzoo Khan, First Story Student