How Schools Have Used our Authors Live Events to Inspire Pupils

Authors Live is our series of digital events with top children's authors and illustrators. The events are streamed live in partnership with the BBC and recorded so you can watch again later. In this feature, find out how primary and secondary schools across the country have used these events as a launchpad to inspire pupils to read and write.

St Bridget's Primary School, North Ayrshire

Authors Live is hugely important to us, and features as a regular activity on any special literacy-themed focus days such as World Book Day, Literacy Week, Book Week Scotland, etc throughout the year.

Pupils have been able to pose questions to the author through Twitter and have them answered quickly and effectively, which they find thrilling! Authors Live has also provided inspiration and advice to our senior pupils about how to write - a few of our staff have led a series of lessons based on one Authors Live video.

When pupils came together to watch illustrator Chris Riddell's event, what they produced next was nothing short of brilliant, illustrating their favourite chapter or part of their own personal story books. 

We also had a fantastic experience being part of the live studio audience at Guy Bass's event. Guy was bursting with energy and the pupils were captivated. The video of this event now plays in our school library and children today still talk enthusiastically about it. 

Taking part in Authors Live has introduced the staff and pupils to new authors, and as such we have added some new names to our school library. Finally, as part of our agenda to include families in our pupils' learning, these events have enabled pupils to invite their parents and carers and join in on the experience and learning.

Steven Mitchell, St Bridget's Primary School

An older pupil and a younger pupil from St Bridget's reading together
Pupils from St Bridget's meeting Guy Bass at the Authors Live event


St Anthony's Primary School, Renfrewshire

Being part of the studio audience for Authors Live with Kes Gray was a fantastic experience for us. The pupils had great fun and were able to immerse themselves fully in Kes's imaginary world. The studio experience and the support offered by BBC studios and Scottish Book Trust imprinted a memory that the children will carry forward in their lifetime.

Since the trip the children have created an interactive Kes Gray wall in the classroom and can tell visitors all about their experience. We have also read the Oi! collection of books and have had lots of fun lessons creating our own rhymes.

Donna Barbour, St Anthony's Primary School

Image by Alan Peebles

Pupils from St Anthony's Primary with their Kes Gray display
Pupils from St Anthony's Primary reading Kes Gray books


Kilninver Primary School, Argyll and Bute

Pupils from Kilninver primary school holding their books

The children look forward to the Authors Live events and are keen to follow up by reading books by these particular authors. I have caught one senior pupil who up until now was totally disinterested in books reading whilst eating his packed lunch.

We are in a small two-teacher school and it is good for the children to get input from other people. We cannot afford to have authors visit because of the small numbers, and even organising a cluster school event entails considerable transport costs.

Wendy Douglas, Kilninver Primary School


Wick High School, Highland

My creative writing group (S2 - S6) thoroughly enjoyed watching the recent discussion about diversity in fiction and music. As we are based in Wick, Caithness - a very isolated part of Scotland - it is only rarely that they have the opportunity to hear 'outside' speakers and experts.

They were inspired in particular by Dave Hook, hearing him rapping in his native Glasweigan and tallking about the importance he places on Scots words. I think the pupils were heartened to know that the way they speak has value rather than being "wrong"!

The pupils involved are now working on short monologues, exploring the point of view of someone who feels they are an outsider or isolated from society in some way.

Chris Watson, Wick High School

Pupils from Wick High School watching the Authors Live Unheard Voices event

Pupils from Wick High School


Avoch Primary School, Highland

Phil Earle’s Authors Live session was fantastic. We are a large primary school in the Black Isle of Scotland and therefore are limited in events we can attend. The children were engrossed for the duration of the session. They worked hard to think of questions for the session - some of which were asked by children in the audience and online.

The impact of Phil’s session was evident in the next writing session. The children used Phil’s ‘Story Street’ idea to design their own door and then create a story behind it. During the class discussion the children described how hearing an author who had an unconventional route into writing speak passionately about his work helped to motivate them.

Taking on board what Phil said about having the time to write without constraints, we introduced a free writing jotter and regular sessions - this allows the children to write freely for 10-minutes slots a few times a week. Thank you Phil and Scottish Book Trust - what a fantastic classroom resource.

Erin Christie, Avoch Primary School

Avoch Primary School pupils

Avoch Primary School's drawing of Phil Earle

Feeling inspired? Check out our library of Authors Live events, available for you to watch on demand! We also have a new resource to help you make the most of any Authors Live event.

Top image by Alan Peebles.