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Susan Elkin


  • 100 ideas for teaching communication, Language and Literacy (Continuum) February 2008
  • ISEB Revision Guide: English (Galore Park) January 2008
  • Encouraging Reading (Continuum) December 2007
  • 100 Ideas for Secondary School Assemblies (Continuum) 2007
  • The Teaching Assistant’s Guide to Literacy (Continuum) 2007
  • 101 Essential Lists for Secondary Teachers (Continuum) March 2006.
  • So You Really Want to Learn English Book 1 August 2004 - an English course for 9-11 year olds.
  • So You Really Want to Learn English Book 2 for 11-13 year olds published June 2005. Related answer books published 2005.
  • So You Really Want to Learn English Book 3 (and answer book) published October 2006 (all Galore Park)
  • GCSE Student Text Guide: To Kill a Mockingbird (Philip Allan Updates, a Hodder imprint) October 2005 Related Teachers’ Resource Pack January 2006.
  • Teachers’ CPD Pocketbook (Management Pocketbooks) May 2006
  • 16 separate Special Schools and Academies Trust publications, each in booklet form, since 1995 including From fighting and failure to shared success (2005) and Out of Special Measures 1 (2005).
  • Unlocking the Reader in Every Child (Ransom Publishing) 2010.
  • Teachers’ Guide to Year 9 English (Galore Park) 2010.
  • Unlocking the Writer in Every Child (Ransom Publishing) 2011.

Hobbies and favourite books/authors:

Shakespeare (of course) and anything by Dickens, AS Byatt or CJ Sansom: I have eclectic tastes. My favourite children’s book of all time is The Silver Sword by Ian Seraillier, closely followed by Apache by Tanya Landman and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Reading (naturally), swimming, choral singing, table tennis, walking, theatre and travel.

When did you started writing and why?

In the late 1980s. I was frustrated with the day time job (teaching but wanting promotion which wasn’t coming my way) I began moonlighting by sending on-spec articles about education to newspapers . . . and one thing led to another. But I always knew I could do it: I won a TV writing competition when I was 11.

How and where you find inspiration?

From reading . . . . books, newspapers, magazines, websites and so on. I also keep my eyes and ears open and a notebook in my bag wherever I go. I am a professional writer – i.e. I do it to earn my living so a pile of unpaid bills on the corner of my desk helps too!

How you go about research?

Usually by looking back through work I have already done in the past and then reading further and talking to people.

Creative writing tips:

Just do it. No professional writer can afford to have ‘writer’s block’. Be disciplined. Set aside part of the house and get to your work station punctually each day. Make sure you write something every day to keep in practice – it’s a bit like jogging. Keep reading – it helps with style, expression and vocabulary (unconsciously) as well as providing ideas and information.

Writing projects you are currently working on, including anything you’re doing not intended for publication:

A new edition of my To Kill a Mockingbird study guide and linked teacher resource (for Hodder).

Twice-weekly online feature for The Stage plus other features and reviews, weekly column in SecEd, regular work for Child Care, Teaching Drama and The Independent on Sunday . . . and other things.

Promotional services such as giving talks or writing workshops, and contact details:

Talks about literacy, teaching English and, particularly, encouraging reading.