Since the publication of my debut novel Empire of the Waves: Voyage of the Moon Child (Puffin) it has been my great joy to visit Australian schools, libraries and festivals to share my love of literature and creative writing. Talks and workshops may be tailored to suit any age group or number of participants, from upper primary to adults, and from small groups to larger audiences.
“Christopher Richardson was completely brilliant. Spent a lot of time talking to the kids and really had them interested in what his experiences of novel writing have been. Please can he come again next year? I’m serious.” Bev Shroot, Crown Street Public School
“Your author visit to Penrith High really inspired our Year 9 students. The students were totally absorbed as demonstrated by the multitude of questions you answered thoughtfully and astutely. It can be hard to engage academically selective students at times, however, you had them thinking and interested. The hall was buzzing when you finished.” Nathan Wilcox, Teacher-Librarian, Penrith High School
Whilst I emphasise the importance of research and discipline in the creative process, my focus is always on the sheer joy of storytelling. There is wide scope for creativity and interaction in longer workshops as we create our own characters inspired by the world of Empire of the Waves!
Praise for Building Fantasy Worlds
“Thank you very much for such a warm and enthusiastic talk to our students. The Year 8 students are already asking when can you speak to them! I loved the pirate clan workshop too…” Helen Lee, Teacher-Librarian, St George Girls High
“Thank you so much for coming to speak to us yesterday. The Kogarah High students from 8K really enjoyed your presentation and are very eager to read your book … It was the first time our students had met a published author and they were very impressed both with your book and your presentation which was interesting and pitched at just the right level for them.” Gail Johnston, Kogarah High School
“Thanks again for an amazing workshop. The kids there really loved it. You truly inspired them.” Tara Klein, Youth Services Specialist, City of Canada Bay Libraries
“The students at Ultimo Public School were captivated by Christopher, his engaging manner and easy going presentation style encouraged even our reluctant readers to get enthused about sea monsters, pirates, floating worlds and Krakens!” Wendy Bull, Teacher-Librarian, Ultimo Public School
“Thank you so much for all your fantastic stories. Thank you for sharing with us your experience and secrets of your book writing. Your passion is very clear and it’s been a pleasure to listen to you.” Ela Sircelj, Teacher-Librarian, Loreto Kirribilli
“Christopher expertly managed to engage a large group (many of whom hadn’t read his novel yet) and then a smaller group of ardent fans. His visit has created a lot of anticipation for the next installment in the series. It would be unreasonable to expect all authors to be engaging speakers. They could certainly be forgiven for seeing school visits as a necessary evil. Over many years of ‘guest author’ talks I have sat through in schools, it is obvious that some of them would prefer to be anywhere but talking to their teenage readers! Chris, on the other hand, comes alive talking to his readers and it seems to be a genuine pleasure for him to hear their feedback and reactions to his fiction.” Rachel Duke, Head of English, Santa Sabina College, Strathfield
“The success of your recent visit to Trinity Grammar School during Term 2 has left a strong and positive impression on the young students who attended your workshops, many buying your novel at the end of sessions. Staff, too, enjoyed seeing the benefits of having a young, inspiring and engaging writer convey a passion for literature, writing and storytelling. Many are asking: when is Book Two published? I am impressed with the success of the novel for young, and older readers, alike, and cannot wait for you to return to Trinity to continue the story of Anni Tidechild. Thank you for your inspiration, hard work and passion in providing an engaging read for so many.” Justin McGrath, Senior English Teacher, Trinity Grammar School
Sample Workshop Outline:
Building Fantasy Worlds
Suitable for Upper Primary / Lower Secondary
Duration: 1 – 3 hours.
1 hour = author talk + Q&A
1.5 – 2 or 3 hours = author talk + Q&A + writing sprints
Christopher Richardson is the author of Empire of the Waves: Voyage of the Moon Child, an epic maritime fantasy from Penguin Australia.
In a special workshop at your school or library, Christopher will discuss how he created the world of Empire of the Waves. Explaining the role of research in the evolution of the fantastic, Christopher will explore the influence of history and culture on his novel’s cast of heroes, villains, giants, pirates and sea monsters. Christopher will describe the novel’s journey from idea to publication, and recount how he began writing as a child with a heart full of stories.
After a Q&A Christopher will then invite students to add to the tapestry of created worlds. Students will workshop their ideas as a year group, or in small groups, to create their own characters and places. At the conclusion of the workshop the students will introduce these creations to their peers, either through a brief dramatic presentation, musical performance, reading or illustration.
In “Building Fantasy Worlds” Christopher will share his love of storytelling and world creation, and give young writers the confidence to build new worlds of their own.
North Korea Workshops
In 2016, I graduated with a PhD in North Korean Studies from the University of Sydney with a thesis researching the children’s culture of North Korea (DPRK). My work has featured worldwide in journals, newspapers, radio, television and online.
In today’s atmosphere of crisis on the Korean Peninsula, an understanding of the DPRK is more important than ever. In recent years, I have had the honour of visiting many Sydney schools to talk about North Korea with students and teachers, whether in the context of Cold War history, the history of totalitarianism, propaganda studies, representation, or through the prism of dystopian literary studies.
“Year 10 boys were treated to a talk from Dr Christopher Richardson who spoke on the topic of representation in relation to North Korea. Dr Richardson shared fascinating insights into how truth is manipulated and perceptions shaped, through means such as children’s literature, school textbooks and visual images. The boys were highly engaged and asked many thoughtful questions. Excellent inspiration was provided…” Tania Mason, Head of English, Trinity Grammar School
Sample Workshop Outline:
North Korea as Dystopia?
Suitable for Upper Secondary
Duration: 1 – 2 hours
Christopher begins with an investigation of popular perceptions of the North Korean state and people. He then explores the ways dystopian literature illuminates aspects of the politics and culture of the DPRK, and the ways North Korea might – in turn – illuminate aspects of dystopian literature. In discussion with students, he looks at examples of totalitarianism in novels and films, from George Orwell to Ray Bradbury and Suzanne Collins, together pondering the ways authors of dystopian literature both understand and misunderstand the way such systems rise and fall.
These workshops are perfect for students of English Literature and / or Modern History.
Blog Wrap-up on Previous Student Events
Teacher Resources for Empire of the Waves