Developing Writing

One thing I am glad of with the new GCSEs is that the writing requirements seem in some ways to be more realistic than some of the over-stylised demands of the old descriptive writing, for example. Using professional writers as models will always be useful in exemplifying current practice, as well as allowing stealth recommendations of good current work (and justifying contemporary writers) that might be more to students’ tastes).

For currently-publishing writers for young people who write lyrically, try:

  • Alexia Casale
  • Zoe Marriott
  • Claire Furniss
  • Melinda Salisbury
  • Marcus Sedgwick

For ‘clean’ and crisp writing which conveys emotional subtleties, look to:

  • Keren David
  • Non Pratt
  • Keris Stainton
  • Joanna Nadin
  • Dave Cousins
  • Phil Earle

Note: all recommended authors above write for teens (and sometimes other age groups) and there may be occasional strong language and content. All are UK writers (no/few Americanisms). My regular #ReadingTeacher recommendations may be useful as some explicitly reference writing skills, but all are chosen as well-written recent releases. These are books which KS4 (mostly) will enjoy, but which also have a curriculum link or some connection to a school-wide topic of relevance (e.g. SMSC), or something topical.


I’m an English teacher and writer living in Leicester in the East Midlands of the UK. As of Sept 2018, I’m also a part-time research student at the University of Leicester, working towards a PhD in Education looking at diversity in YA lit and classroom applications (drawing on the idea of reading fiction as having a special relationship with empathy).

I’ve always loved reading and writing – in fact I planned to be an author as a child, until aged about 15 I decided I’d never have any good enough ideas, it had all already been done and decided to teach instead! Writing books about English teaching therefore seems a reasonable place to end up (although, by the way, the good ideas are not all taken, and it’s perfectly possible to still have a writing career today – check out my blog for people who are making it look easy!)

For my published teaching resources and textbooks, check out this page in the Writing section.

Teaching bio:

My BA is in Modern Language Studies (French, German and Italian – Language, Literature and Culture) from Leicester Uni.

My MA is in Gender, Literature and Modernity from Warwick Uni. This course was jointly managed by the English department and the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender (and was very cool!)

I have a PGCE in Continuing Education from Nottingham Uni and QTS by assessment achieved at Beauchamp College in Leicester.

I’ve been teaching since 1996, with the bulk of my experience being with A Level Language, although I have also taught various other subjects. As well as the obvious GCSE and other A Levels in English, these include conversational French and Italian and Women’s History as part of an Access to HE course. I also have some experience of the IGCSE and IB syllabuses and examining experience for various bodies/papers.

Personal bio:

I’ve lived in Leicester since coming here for university (any students reading this might take this as a warning when looking at universities…). I’m married with two daughters and we have three dogs: two lurchers and a terrier cross, which take quite a bit of walking. I teach only part-time now to make time for writing and other interesting work which pops up from time to time, like teacher training. Keeping up with the blog also takes time, but the reading is fairly easy to fit in, as I do it mostly on the bus to and from work.

Writing bio:

As noted above, I’ve always loved writing. I’m one of the many teachers mourning the demise of the A Level in Creative Writing. However, I do write for my own pleasure as well as producing textbooks/resources. I’m usually working on some kind of children’s story, as that’s where the joy is for me – losing myself just as a did as a child. (Note also that I still read kids’ books, even though I’m an educated woman in my 40s – never let anyone tell you a book is too young/easy for you!)

Want to book me for a workshop? See this page and get in touch to discuss your ideas. I’m happy to come up with bespoke training to suit your needs, if it’s within my specialisms.