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Jacqueline Wilson inspires writers at masterclass

An exclusive group of 30 students, and two local writers, have taken part in a masterclass with multi-million selling children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson at the University of Roehampton, learning how to create an appealing children’s story.

Posted: 23 November 2014

image for news story Jacqueline Wilson inspires writers at masterclass
Professor Dame Jacqueline Wilson with students and local writers Sarah O'Mahoney and Julie Mullins before the masterclass

Professor Wilson, who became Chancellor of the University in October, led the masterclass to share with the group the secrets of her success, and give an idea of how characters like Tracy Beaker, Hetty Feather and Opal Plumstead have become instantly recognisable to a generation of children.

Professor Wilson’s session was an example of how the University adds real value to students’ degrees by bringing them into contact with world leading professionals as part of their studies, to show best practice and to inspire them. Opening the masterclass up to local people was intended to share the University’s expertise, and to allow local people to benefit from the knowledge available.

Writers Julie Mullins, from Wandsworth town and Sarah O’Mahoney from Roehampton were selected after winning a competition in the Wandsworth Guardian newspaper.

Professor Wilson said: “I loved doing a masterclass with so many keen and talented students - and it was great to include the two competition winners too, who also showed great promise.”

Ms Mullins, from Wandsworth town, said: “It was a great pleasure to be invited to the University of Roehampton to meet Jacqueline Wilson and it was also satisfying to be in a room of hungry writers. I have been wanting to dust off a children’s series I began some years ago and take the project forward and Jacqueline and this masterclass have given me the push I’ve needed to go back to my characters and breathe new life into them.”

Among the topics discussed during the two hour session were character development, the different types of children's books, and insider tips on how to present your work and actually get it published.

The University has a number of events, lectures and workshops available to the public every year, its library and other facilities are open to visitors and staff regularly visit schools to explain how university life works. More than 550 of the University’s students are from Wandsworth families.

Read about the University’s creative writing courses.

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