Alex's school visits



One of the most rewarding aspects of being an author is the chance to talk directly to the students who’ve read my books, to find out what they’ve enjoyed and what their hopes and expectations are for the future books in the TimeRiders series. It’s also a chance to meet aspiring young writers and give them a few pointers in the right direction.

Ahead of the visit, you can download the free TimeRiders resource pack, packed full of activities and talking points for helping you and the students to get the most out of the TimeRiders series. Click here for the download.

What I do:

A typical visit involves a talk about the TimeRiders series with some very cool slides and the even cooler trailer. Followed by a short reading from the first book. After that, I host an energetic game-show style history quiz, with buzzers, and prizes. By the time we hit the final quick-fire round I usually have the entire audience on their feet supporting their respective teams. It’s usually a noisy finale!

Following this, there’s an opportunity for students to purchase copies of my books and to have them autographed and personalised.

The best audience size for this kind of event is anywhere from 100 to 250. The age groups it is most suited to are years 6, 7 and 8. Also this kind of energetic show is better suited to the mornings when the students have more energy to give up.

The duration for this kind of event is approximately fifty minutes to an hour, with a buying/signing window of twenty minutes afterwards.

I also offer an afternoon workshop, duration 40-45 mins, where I can talk students through the process of thinking up story concepts, structuring and planning so that they have a better chance of see a project through to completion. The ideal size for this kind of event is no more than 30.

What You Can do:

Because audio/visual equipment at schools varies in configuration and reliability, it’s helpful if I send ahead of the visit a copy of the powerpoint display to make sure it runs on the school’s system. It’s also useful if I can have five or ten minutes in the proposed venue ahead of the students’ arrival to make sure everything is working fine and to do a sound check on whatever speakers have been supplied.

It’s helpful if the students have been primed in some way; perhaps the discussion of ‘what if’ history, or time travel.

The Set Up:

A venue with space for the above mentioned 100-250 students to sit comfortably, room for two ‘quiz team’ tables with three chairs each and space enough for me to move around a little as I talk. I like to pace as I talk…and it keeps the energy levels high if I’m doing so.

The equipment I need is a projection screen, a projector, a laptop and sound system loud enough for the venue.

And finally, a table somewhere in the venue where I can set up and sell books and sign them.

Buying Books and Autographing:

It’s useful if the children attending the event are informed in advance that they will be able to purchase a signed, personalised copy of the book, and if a letter can be sent home to their parents letting them know, I would be grateful.

It’s very helpful and speeds things up if I can have a teacher assist me by taking the money and handing out change, and it also helps if someone can have the students write down their names on post it notes and stick them on the inside of their purchased book.


It’s good to have a single person at the school to deal with who I know will be responsible for the event and my various needs. My visits are booked through school booking agents Authors Abroad, so it is them (Trevor/Sarah) that you would need to arrange the booking with:


Tel: 01535 656015