Arrange an author or illustrator visit 

Bringing a writer, poet, illustrator or storyteller into your school is a great way to inspire children and bring reading to life.

If you like the idea of arranging a visit from an author or illustrator but don't know where to start, don't worry! Below, you'll find our hints and tips about how to plan a school event, what to do on the day, and how to help your students make the most out of the experience.

We've also included some useful links and contacts to help you prepare, find authors and illustrators, and make bookings.

Chris Riddell visits a school and talks to students

Author-illustrator and former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell visiting a school in Manchester in 2016

Plan your school's event

  • Identify your aims: Do you want to increase enthusiasm for reading, develop writing skills, focus on a particular genre, or make your visit the focal point of a celebration of reading, such as your school's Children's Book Week or World Book Day?
  • Think about the format: Would you like your writer or illustrator to share their work with the whole school, answer questions, or run a workshop with a smaller group?
  • Find your writer or illustrator: You may have a wishlist in mind, but be aware that those who are well known may be booked up in advance - get in touch with their publisher to find out. Alternatively, contact one of the organisations below to find a writer with experience of working in school settings, or talk to colleagues or staff in your local bookshop or library for recommendations of writers and illustrators in your area. Take a look at the Society of Authors' advice on paying authors for their visits.

How to prepare for your author or illustrator's visit

  • Practical arrangements: Make sure your visitor has all the practical advice they will need well in advance, such as a map, useful contact details, start and finish times, information about your school, and transport details.
  • Prepare your pupils: Read and discuss your writer or illustrator's books and build up excitement around the visit. Make sure you have their books available in the library, and invite children to design posters or book covers to create displays.
  • Books to buy: You may want to organise books for children to purchase and have signed on the day. Contact your local bookshop for help with this, and make sure you provide parents with information in advance.

What to do on the day of the event

  • Meet and greet: Be available to greet your visitor when they arrive. Introduce them around the staff room and ensure you factor in time for a cup of tea or coffee.

How to follow up after the event

  • Talk to your class: Discuss the visit and what your students enjoyed most. You may like to write individual or class letters to thank your writer or illustrator.
  • Share with your colleagues: Discuss your experiences: what might you do differently next time? Who might you like to invite to visit in future?

Useful links and contacts

The following organisations and agencies offer advice about finding a writer or illustrator, or can make bookings on your behalf:

For a specific author or illustrator, try contacting the publisher first. Bear in mind that to arrange a visit from someone very well-known, you will need to plan well in advance.

Many locally-based storytellers, writers and illustrators have considerable experience of working in schools and bring as much 'magic' to a visit as a famous name.

More great ideas for schools

Children's Book Week

How to hold a Children's Book Week at your school: a week-long celebration of reading for pleasure.

Great Books Guide

Looking for new books to get kids hooked? The Great Books Guide gives you the lowdown on the ONE HUNDRED best children's books published in 2018.

Resources and activities

Browse through our useful resources: from lesson plans and reading tips, fun activities and tools for teachers.