Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bringing Festival Cheer to Local Competition Winners

Words by Kate Butler

FOR the last few weeks, budding wordsmiths from across Greater Manchester have been plucking inspiration from historical characters and events, for the local-themed competition, Postcards from Christmases Past.

In a spin-off from the on-going competition, Postcards from the Past, a panel of judges from MMU sifted through sacks of entries covering a variety of festive themes, eventually agreeing on six lucky winners, who were announced on Friday.

John Herbert, 54 from Rochdale, Patricia Brock, 73 from Salford, Joseph Noble, 10 from St. John Fisher R.C Primary School, Christine Penney, 45 from Stockport, Noreen Dermody, 56 from Stretford and William West aged 62 from Chorlton, impressed the judges with their well-written, imaginative and touching messages, which are soon to be featured in their local newspapers.

From school history projects to keen postcard collectors, each individual had their own reasons for entering the competition. Each postcard uniquely encapsulated the Christmas festivities, be it through a moving story passed down through family generations, a celebration of the thriving hat industry in Denton in 1872, or whilst seeking shelter during a terrifying Christmas Eve bombing raid in 1940.

Postcards from the Past
The winners will be automatically entered in the Postcards from the Past competition, a collaboration from the Manchester Children's Book Festival and the Manchester Literature Festival. It is free to enter and open to anyone from age 8 upwards. The competition invites participants to write a postcard from a real or fictional character, which can be from any chosen time in history.  Winners will get to have their postcards designed professionally and will receive 100 copies. The the deadline is 20th July 2013, so start writing!

For more information, please visit: 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Christmas Competition with MEN Media

Postcards from Christmases Past invites readers of MEN Media local titles to submit a local-themed Christmas postcard. The best local entries will be published by the relevant MEN Media title in their Christmas editions

Were Christmases always better? Write a postcard and share your memories of Christmas in your community. Or send a postcard from a historical character or event.

Postcards should be no longer than 200 words and can be written as though from real or fictional characters. Entry is free and open to anyone aged 8 or above. 

· Simply write your postcard, attach a copy of the completed form to your postcard entry (or cut and paste the information into an email) and send it to:

· Or post a printed copy to:
  Manchester Metropolitan University, 
  Room 123, Geoffrey Manton Building,
  Rosamond Street West,
  Manchester M15 6LL 
  Click here for entry form.

Entries must be received by 12 noon on Friday 7th December 2012.
The best entries category will be published in your local paper.  If you have photographs to share, even better, but please do not send originals as we cannot guarantee to return them. If your entry is selected you will be contacted by telephone shortly after the deadline. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Time will tell... with postcards

TimeRiders with Alex Scarrow, Friday 5th October, 12.30pm, People’s History Museum

It’s a blustery Friday afternoon, but that hasn’t stopped 150 pupils from schools across Manchester braving the elements to meet their favourite author, Alex Scarrow, at the People’s History Museum.
Alex has also brought along copies of his thrilling time-travel adventure series, TimeRiders, in which three teenagers have cheated death and are recruited by a secret time travel agency with one purpose: to fix broken time. We listen intently as Alex reads an extract from his first book in the series, bringing the characters to life with his impressive array of dramatic voices and igniting all of our imaginations.

In keeping with the time-travel theme, Alex is also here to help us launch a brand new writing competition called ‘Postcards from the Past,’ which asks entrants to pick a year from history or research a key event, then write a postcard from the point of view of a real or fictional character. Winners of the competition will receive 100 copies of their very own, professionally illustrated and designed, postcard. To give you an example of what a potential entry might look like, Alex, together with a host of other authors, has put together a sample version. To see Alex’s entry click here. What’s different about this competition is that it’s open to everyone, aged 8 to 80!
Reflecting on his own past, Alex tells us that he previously worked as a computer games designer, every boy’s dream job, but found the commercial aspects of the industry fettered his creativity and ultimately came to the conclusion that writing was the only way he could truly bring his outlandish ideas to life. He’s not surprised that the majority of the children are familiar with the games he’s worked on, but he is a little taken aback to learn that just as many have read his books. It seems, in the battle to capture children’s imaginations, Alex’ crazy concepts are giving X-Box and PlayStation a run for their money!
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what they had to say for themselves:
Reddish Vale pupil, Bradley Smith, thought Alex was “very inspirational. He gave me a new outlook on life and made me think about all the possibilities there are out there – time travel included!”
Holly Ashurst, from St George’s Primary School, tells us she “loved Alex’s impressions”, while fellow pupil, Oruwa Isibor, feels “inspired to go and write a book”.

The teachers were also impressed with Alex’s wild and wacky antics, which seem to have inspired a whole new generation of budding authors.  Matthew Whoriskey, from Reddish Vale, thinks that Alex gave an “inspirational and energetic talk that thoroughly engaged my pupils. I am excited about their entries for the competition and look forward to the fantastic work they will produce.”
Navigating my way through a sea of pupils, all waiting eagerly to have their books and postcards signed, I finally get the opportunity to steal a second or two with Alex to capture his thoughts on today’s event: “I have really enjoyed meeting the pupils this afternoon. They have inspired me with their enthusiasm for reading and writing. This just goes to show how important it is for children to meet authors, and literary festivals like this are a perfect opportunity to do just that.”  There’s no doubt that the pupils here share his sentiments, as they scuttle away, in search of exhibits around the People’s History Museum to draw inspiration from.
The 2012 book festival was a huge success and MCBF are delighted to be able to continue working with the Manchester Literature Festival to provide children with exciting author events and writing competitions.

To receive details of other schools events and projects, email and we’ll add you to our mailing list. 

The full information for Postcards from the past is on (including sample postcards, posters and the entry form). 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Time and Blog Travel

It's tomorrow! 

If you don't know what I'm talking about you can read Sarah-Clare Conlon's interview with Kaye Tew, Director of Manchester Children's Book Festival and Manchester Creative Learning Network, HERE on the official MLF blog. 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Creating Comics

CPD event – Using Comics to Develop Narrative Writing, 25th October, MMU Geoffrey Manton Building.

On October 25th we are holding a CPD event in MMU’s Geoffrey Manton building called ‘Using Comics to Develop Narrative Writing’. The session will be delivered by Primary School teacher, Matthew Sullivan, who is just about to publish a teaching guide on this subject. The session will explore how comics can be utilised to improve characterisation, story planning, setting descriptions, spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary. Matthew will also suggest ways that comics may be used to engage reluctant readers and develop comprehension skills, as well as enriching and enhancing learning for gifted and talented pupils. 

Teachers who attend the event will be invited to register their interest in workshops which will be delivered by Humanities Student Ambassadors in schools. The workshops will aim to improve writing skills and raise the aspirations of underachieving pupils. It is hoped that the skills learnt in the workshops will also help pupils to produce their very own Postcard from the Past, which will be entered into our brand new competition.

Click here to book your place at this event. 
There is a  £20 charge to attend this CPD session. You can pay in advance here

The deadline for bookings is Friday 19th October. 

In the meantime, if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to contact us at or telephone Claudia Conerney on 0161 247 1789.