Creative writing for wellbeing: age 8-12 (3rd-6th class), 1-1.5 hours.

These workshops boost confidence, resilience, literacy and a love of reading and writing. There are no wrong answers and the sessions aim to empower all, regardless of school performance. Fun and inclusive, they use writing games and exercises, drama, art and debate to strengthen children’s creative voices, solve problems, work in teams and improve their reading and writing.

I especially want to encourage children who find school work challenging or feel marginalised in any way. With encouragement, acceptance and fun, every child can contribute creatively and feel valued.

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Author visit: age 6-12 (1st-6th class), 45 min-1 hour

This fun, interactive session is tailored to the class age. I talk about writing and use themes from my books to ask questions and prompt the children to create a group story, think creatively, wonder and enjoy reading, writing and storytelling.

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Development education for global awareness & social justice: age 10-12 (4th-6th class)

For older primary pupils, these very interactive workshops build global awareness, a sense of social justice and empathy. Themes include:

  • Don’t Judge a Book … understanding and beating prejudice.
  • Best of Friends: participants explore friendship – how to make and be good friends.
  • Same Difference: pupils celebrate our common humanity and diversity by looking at other cultures (especially in South Africa and Bangladesh, where I lived, and Nepal (I’m a director of the charity Nepal Leprosy Trust Ireland, which supports people affected by leprosy in Nepal).
  • Small world: A workshop on climate change and justice run in conjunction with Green Schools, Ireland’s leading environmental management and education programme for schools.

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Other primary school projects

Once Upon a Folktale

To celebrate the different nationalities in a multicultural primary school, 6th class pupils at a school in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, researched folk stories from their countries of origin. They made props and costumes and performed the stories to an audience of pupils, staff and parents, librarians and county arts officers.

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A Factastic History of Bellewstown

Teachers turn into sausage dogs and highwaymen steal handkerchiefs in this book, part fiction, part history, written by 3rd and 4th class pupils at Scoil Naomh Treasa in Bellewstown, County Meath. Children interviewed grandparents and other pensioners who grew up in the village as part of the Teacher Artist Partnership run by the Department of Education and Skills, I worked with teachers and pupils to research, write and produce the book.

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Nation Creation

In this workshop participants dream up their ideal country, complete with laws, flags, national sports, customs, cakes etc.


My Handbook of Heroes

Children imagine themselves as superheroes and explore real-life superpowers such as kindness, honesty etc. in this workshop.



Having enjoyed Debbie’s book Dead Hairy we requested that she come to our school for the writing session. Debbie’s enthusiasm was wonderful and she quickly passed this on to the children. Her love of writing was evident throughout the session and the children were excited by what she had to say. She matched the content to their level and the children were able to identify with her through anecdotes that she told about her writing when she was their age. Debbie took the time to talk to the children individually about their writing and offered tips and advice to those who requested it. The children felt as though each of their thoughts and ideas were important. Many of them were inspired to begin writing books and we already have many chapters written in the classroom.
– Michelle Dully, 3rd and 4th Class teacher St. Mary’s Convent Primary School, Trim, Co. Meath.

Debbie’s visits to Clare libraries are always fully participative whether based on her books or more recently focusing on the Silent Books collection during intimate family gatherings for immigrant parents and children. In a recent residency at Ennistymon Library Debbie demonstrated an unwavering and infectious enthusiasm as project leader that saw Syrian families publish their own stories in English. Her expertise and commitment during all engagements with the library service in Clare is exemplary.
– Patricia Fitzgerald, Executive Librarian, Clare County Library.

Taking part in the Teacher Artist Partnerships and working with Debbie has been such a rewarding and positive experience for me and for the children of 3rd and 4th Class. Each child has made their own wonderful and unique contribution and has come away with a feeling of success. With the help of Debbie, they gained valuable insight into the short story writing process. She had such a positive influence on them and really sparked their creativity.
– Elaine Light, Deputy Principal, Scoil Naomh Treasa, Bellewstown, County Meath