Felicity Pulman

History and Mystery in the Middle Ages

with Felicity Pulman

THE PRESENTER

Felicity Pulman’s love of history, fantasy and crime is reflected in her numerous novels for children and teenagers, most notably Ghost Boy, the Shalott trilogy and her medieval crime series for teenagers, The Janna Mysteries, set in the 1140s at the time of the ‘Anarchy’ the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda. The first Janna Mystery, Rosemary for Remembrance, was a CBC Notable book in 2005. Book 4, Willows for Weeping and Shalott have both won the Society of Women Writers Biennial Book Awards. Her books are listed in the Premier’s Reading Challenge in NSW, VIC and SA. Felicity has many years experience speaking about researching and writing her novels (and about the history that informs many of them), and conducting workshops for students and adults across a variety of genres.

www.felicitypulman.com.au / www.youtube.com/felicitypulman

WORKSHOP 1: SOLVING A CRIME IN MEDIEVAL TIME
Using a worksheet depicting scenes from one of the great medieval fairs, students are given a scenario and invited to solve a crime. The worksheet includes a victim and a sleuth (the accused) plus helpful information on the vital questions to be asked: the who, why, what, where, when and how of writing crime, along with a medieval setting, a convincing cast of characters and possible motives for the murder. Students outline their scenarios then work in pairs to flesh them out.

WORKSHOP 2: MEDIEVAL HISTORY & ‘STUFF’
Students choose an artefact from a bag of ‘historical stuff’ – a feather quill, a king’s gold signet ring, jugglers’ balls, an old coin, etc. Who might have used such an object? How and where might the characters have lived (eg castle, manor farm, abbey, villein’s cot?) Why is this object important to your character? As well as challenging students to think about the past, this workshop also covers important features of story-telling: characters, plot and setting.

WORKSHOP 3: FANTASY, MAGIC AND OTHERWORLDS
Felicity starts with a quick warm-up exercise centred around fantasy and magic. She talks about the notion of a quest that is at the heart of every fantasy, and invites students to suggest possible scenarios (WHAT is at stake, and WHY?) She then invites students to choose objects from her ‘magic bag’ (a key, a crystal, etc) inviting students to use their imagination to decide whether the object is good or evil, what magical properties it holds and HOW it might lend itself to the pursuit of the quest. Creatures are invoked to help with the creation of characters - always a fun exercise! (WHO?) Photographs of places help students to dream up their own magical setting for their story (WHERE?) After students determine WHEN their story is set (past, present or future) they’re given time to write a short scenario filling in the questions above, the most important elements of the story. Students are then divided into pairs to discuss and refine their scenarios. Their final task is to write an intriguing first sentence, which Felicity will ask them all (time permitting) to share with the class.

SUITABILITY:
Years 7-12
DURATION:
60 minutes (including question time)
MAX STUDENTS PER SESSION:
30 students
FLAT FEE:
$330.00 ($300 + $30 GST)
REQUIREMENTS:
Students to bring paper and pens