Inspiration aplenty was on offer as award-winning writer David Almond visited four Borders schools this week.
The children’s author, best known for his 1998 novel Skellig, visited Jedburgh Grammar School and Galashiels Academy on Monday and called in at Berwickshire High School in Duns and Eyemouth High the day after.
Pupils at the four schools were given the chance to take part in workshops and hear the Gateshead-born writer talk about his work.
The visits were part of a week-long tour organised by the Scottish Book Trust sponsored by Scottish Friendly Assurance aimed at giving nearly 1,000 pupils in the Scottish Borders, Midlothian and East Lothian a chance to meet one of the UK’s most popular children’s writers.
Almond, 65, said: “What a great chance to visit so many schools, and to share my love of words and language with so many young readers and writers.
“The tour is going really well so far and more than living up to my expectations.”
David Blake, head of English at Jedburgh Grammar, said: “It was excellent. The kids loved it and responded very well.
“He talked about what he loves about writing and how he first became a writer, before allowing the children to ask him all kinds of questions.
“The highlight was probably an idea exercise where the pupils were taught how to develop ideas and find inspiration.
Kathleen Mansfield, an English teacher at Galashiels Academy, said: “There were 45 kids from S1 to S4 in attendance, and they loved it.
“It was really interactive, and we are planning a set of six creative workshop sessions with follow-up art lessons to illustrate new writing which we hope to compile into a booklet.”
Scottish Friendly Assurance’s Calum Bennie said: “We’ve had outstanding authors on the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour in 2016, and closing the tour this year with David Almond is a real highlight.
“The point of these tours is to inspire the next generation of authors, and David is sure to have done that in his sessions as he gets young readers really involved in the storytelling process.”
Tour organiser Beth Goodyear added: “It’s is a fantastic opportunity for pupils to get creative and excited about reading and use their imagination to create their own stories.”
Almond’s other books include Kit’s Wilderness in 1999, Heaven’s Eyes in 2000, The Fire Eaters in 2003, Clay in 2005, My Name is Mina in 2010 and A Song for Ella Grey in 2014.