about Duncan Watt’s Talks
Animal Conservation and Creative Writing
Duncan Watt’s talks are intended for fairly small groups of children.
Lasting an hour, they mainly deal with the plight of animals in Africa at the
hands of poachers. He tries to show some of the dreadful results of the
poachers’ work - the really appalling suffering caused to the animals.
To do this, he reads extracts from one of his books, Kidnapped in the
Kafue*, which is set in a wildlife paradise
in Central Africa where, unfortunately, poaching still continues. He also
shows a short video sequence of a baby rhino that has been most foully
killed by poachers. It is on this video that he based an episode in his
book which he always reads to the groups.
From talking about animals, he then turns to talking about developing
Writing Skills. For example, he shows how he used the video of the baby
rhino to get his ideas and vocabulary for writing that story. Depending on
the children’s ability, he follows this up with more examples, using TV
programmes to get ideas for writing. If time permits and if he feels that
the children will gain from it, he then talks in more depth about getting
ideas from other sources.
In the past, he has conducted three Creative Writing Camp Seminars for
children from the Gifted Education Programme at the Teachers’ Network - so,
for suitable students, he might be able to do something similar. He also
conducted an intensive Sea Cruise Seminar for Writing Skills lasting several
days, arranged by the National Book Development Council. He has also
conducted several Writing Courses for teachers, including the Teachers'
Network, entitled Generating Ideas for Narrative
Writing with Budding Writers.
Finally in his talks, he gives a brief description of some of his
stories in the hope that children will borrow them from the school library.
Unfortunately, after numerous reprints, there are no more stocks of
his books. So a single DVD has been produced that contains all twenty of the
Wallace Boys books in Adobe PDF.
Perhaps children may want to buy a disk themselves. If they do, he will
most happily autograph them. As can be seen from the Wallace Boys Web Site, which he suggests should be accessed both by teachers and children,
his books are set in real places with the result, he hopes, that children
learn more about the world around them: the nature, the history and the
geography of where the stories are set, very different from some other
children’s stories that are on the market these days.
* Kidnapped in the Kafue
was lucky enough to win the Highly Commended Award from the Singapore National
Book Development Council.