Friday, February 13, 2009

MA writing, reading and leisure time

This week I started back at my MA which I really love. In this rollercoaster of life, it's what keeps me sane; I only wish I had more time and energy to do the course as well as I would like to!! This semester, I am studying Fantastic Fiction and working towards the daunting sounding Publishing Project.

On my first day back, I received my marked assignment and I was really, really happy to read that I got a ***DISTINCTION***. The piece is based on something I've been working on for some time but I am redrafting it now with the view to sending it out to publishers. I'm glad I got a good mark as it makes all the hard work worthwhile and suggests potential success in the publishing house. This next week is half term and I'm planning to do some work on a non fiction text I've been commissioned to write but also some fiction writing and of course my course reading.

At the moment I am reading Eragon by Paolini, having read Sabriel by Nix last week. I'm not a huge fan of fantasy fiction, although I enjoy ghost stories and supernatural tales. To be honest, I find all the narrative and back story in fantasy a bit heavy going. I can appreciate the skill that goes into fantasy world building but I'm just not sure it's my thing. Perhaps I will change my mind by the end of this module.

My other recent explorations have included watching Reading Rockets basketball team play against Sheffield Arrows. I really enjoyed the game and would highly recommend your going to see them - a relaxing way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Oh and if you're into war drama or historical films or films about Germany and Hitler, I quite enjoyed Valkyrie - you know the film starring Tom Cruise with an eye patch! Frost Nixon wasn't bad either although I left that film feeling a bit sorry for Nixon, which I'm not sure was a good or bad thing.

But for now, here's a picture of Reading Rockets in action! Hope it entices you to go and see them!!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

My New Collins Books

I thought I would write today about the series I have been co-writing for Collins, as the books are now advertising on Collins Education website.

The books to which I contributed are the Aiming for Level X Reading series which are dedicated to improving secondary age students' performance in reading with the KS3 Assessment Foci in mind. My particular chapters are centred around Reading Assessment Focus 4 which relates to students' abilities to identify and comment on the structure and organisation of texts.

This series of texts complements another Collins series built around the Assessment Foci for writing. Both are due out in April but I thought I'd give you a sneak preview of what the books look like. I'm pretty pleased with them especially as some of my students helped in the selection process for possible covers.