The Story Teller

I'm delighted to have been invited to appear on BBC Radio Lincolshire this weekend as a guest on a new show called The Story Teller.

The show is hosted by Ella Wydrzynska, the winner of a fantastic competition called Be The One. Contestants had to pitch their idea for a new show and present a sample episode. First prize was to make the whole ten-week series for broadcast.

Ella's concept, The Story Teller, was a show all about stories, books and reading for children - a subject close to her heart, as she is studying for a PhD in children's literature at Nottingham University. Ella proposed to interview a different writer each week, and - the fun part - to ask each writer to come up with a chapter for an interactive story - based entirely on suggestions sent in by listeners!

I'm sure you'll agree it's a great idea. Luckily the judges agreed, and Ella won first prize.

Ella wins the prize! (photograph, BBC Radio Lincolnshire)
I was so happy to be asked to take part in The Story Teller.  I've known Ella for a long time. Ever since she was in sixth form and did a course with the amazing Villiers Park and I was an on-line mentor - someone that students could ask for advice or feedback about the careers they were hoping to move into - creative writing/publishing in this case. Over the years, we exchanged e-mails, discussing ideas and options. I really did very little, other than stand back in admiration, as Ella's determination and creativity led her from success to success; from degree to Masters to PhD. Alongside her academic studies, Ella has also built up an impressive portfolio of experience in student radio - which leads back to the Radio Lincolnshire competition.

So, this Sunday I'm off to Lincoln to be on the show. I'm really looking forward to chance for a good old discussion of children's books. Not least, because I have never actually met Ella in person - although we've chatted by e-mail all these years!

And then there is the interactive story element.  I have the job of writing the first chapter, based on audience suggestions from last week. I won't give too much away, but let's just say that it will feature sewers, a talking crocodile and a dog called Skipper. I've decided that Skipper will look a little like this:
Skipper ready for adventure (photograph from American Kennel Club)

Tune in on Sunday to find out what happens . . . I'll be on from 2-3pm.

If you've not heard of Villiers Park, do have a look at their website to find out more. They are a charity committed to equality in educational outcomes, access to higher education and careers across the UK, with more than 50 years' expertise, working with 2,000 young people each year.