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EMC Face-to-Face: Reading and Writing for Pleasure – An EMC Teacher Conference

Places available
£150 per place

Reading for Pleasure is now firmly on the whole school agenda, following the publication by the DFE in 2023 of The Reading Framework. This conference, suitable for English teachers and whole school literacy co-ordinators, aims to take this one step further by linking Reading for Pleasure with Writing for Pleasure. Featuring teachers, educators, novelists, poets and members of the EMC team, the day will offer inspiration and practical strategies to help you develop reading and writing for pleasure in your school.

You will go away with:

  • Ideas about how to link reading and writing for pleasure in your school
  • Inspiration and practical advice about how to develop a reading and writing for pleasure culture in your school
  • Practical strategies and resources


9.30amIntroduction: Andrew McCallum
9.35amKeynote: Carol Atherton: Beyond the Mr Fisher Syndrome
10.15amBreak out workshops 1

Barbara Bleiman: Reading as a Writer, Writing as a Reader

Creative writing based on texts can not only improve students’ own writing but also develop their critical thinking and responses to literature. This session will look at how one can do small creative experiments in writing, and use adaptations and re-writing as a way of enhancing both. The session will use an example from An Inspector Called and draw on the work of EMC in this area. It will include looking at some student writing.


Anmika Salter – Using Diverse Texts to Boost Engagement in Reading and Writing

In this workshop, you will consider the positive impact of reading diverse texts on student engagement for both reading and writing. The session will have a particular focus on how diversity in text choice can support students to read and write more authentically.


Kate Oliver – The Pleasure of Reading and Responding to Texts

This session will explore some ways to encourage students to read widely for pleasure. We will look at:

  • ‘Benchmarking': a way to introduce students to new books and help them develop their personal taste
  • Dipping your toe into some recent children’s and YA fiction
  • Beyond the reading diary and PEE – how students could respond to books in ways that increase their enjoyment of reading.
11.20amBreak out workshops 2 (repeat of 10.15am)
12 noonPanel, chaired by Andrew McCallum
 Candy Gourlay, Joanna Brown and Sita Brahmachari explore the links between reading and writing
1.30pm'Why is poetry so sad? 'It doesn’t have to be!' 

Reading/Writing a Range of Poetry with Peter Kahn, Dean Atta and Keith Jarrett


In this interactive session, we will focus on poems written by poet-educators, Peter Kahn, Dean Atta and Keith Jarrett that defy the myth that poetry has to be sad. 

The session will include writing prompts to engage students from which teachers will craft their own poems to share out in small groups?   

There will then be a conversation and Q and A with Atta and Jarrett, followed by a reading and book signing.


  • 1.30-3pm: Peter’s workshop, followed by a 5-minute break
  • 3-3.20pm: Readings by Dean & Keith
  • 3.20-3.45pm: Q&A with Dean & Keith


3.45pmBook signing


EMC, 44 Webber Street, London, SE1 8QW

How to get to the English and Media Centre

National Rail:

Waterloo and Waterloo East are within 10 minutes walk


Southwark on the Jubilee Line

Waterloo on the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Waterloo & City and Northern Lines


The following bus routes go close to Webber Street: 1, 139, 168, 171, 172, 344


Photo of Andrew McCallum

Andrew McCallum

Andrew McCallum is Director of the English and Media Centre. Prior to that he ran a PGCE course in secondary English, and previously he taught for 15 years in London schools, spending most of that time at Acland Burghley School in Camden. He holds a doctorate in education, is author of Creativity and Learning in Secondary English (Routledge) and writes regularly for NATE's Teaching English magazine. If asked to name the EMC publication he's most proud of having worked on, it would be a three-way contest between Iridescent Adolescent, Diverse Shorts and Write On.

Photo of Barbara Bleiman

Barbara Bleiman

Barbara Bleiman is an education consultant at EMC, co-editor of emagazine and the author of What Matters in English Teaching. She writes blogs and articles about education and has written or co-written many EMC publications for the classroom, including several resources on poetry, novels and language study. Among these are Doing Close Reading, Studying The Handmaid’s Tale, Sight/Unseen Poetry, KS3 Poetry Plus, as well as Curriculum Conversations: Going on an Odyssey. She takes the lead on EMC’s project on group work, ‘It’s Good to Talk’ and has a strong interest in ideas about the curriculum, developing the idea of ‘cultural conversations’ as a challenge to the notion of cultural capital. In 2019 she was awarded the NATE Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Teaching of English. She is also a Fellow of the English Association. Barbara is the author of two novels, Off the Voortrekker Road and Accidents of Love, and has recently published a collection of short stories, Kremlinology of Kisses.

Photo of Anmika Salter

Anmika Salter

Anmika works part time at the English and Media Centre in the Research and Projects team and is Head of Department in a large comprehensive school in North London the rest of the week. 

Photo of Kate Oliver

Kate Oliver

Kate Oliver taught for 14 years in Inner London in various roles. She now works as an education consultant for The English and Media Centre, specialising in KS3 and KS4. Her favourite aspects of English teaching are creative writing and poetry. She also has a particular interest in the wider implications of the subject such as getting students reading for pleasure and engaging teachers of other subjects with language across the curriculum. Her most recent publications for EMC are KS3 Poetry Plus, Just Write and Animal Farm: An EMC Full Text Study Edition.
Photo of Dean Atta

Dean Atta

Dean Atta is an award-winning Black British author and poet of Greek Cypriot and Jamaican heritage whose works have received praise from Bernardine Evaristo and Malorie Blackman. His novel in verse, The Black Flamingo, about a Black gay teen finding his voice through poetry and drag performance, won the Stonewall Book Award and was shortlisted for numerous further prestigious awards. His poetry collection, There is (still) love here, explores acceptance, queer joy and the power of unapologetically being yourself and fully embracing who you are. Dean was born and raised in London, where he still lives.

Photo of Candy Gourlay

Candy Gourlay

Candy Gourlay was born in the Philippines, grew up under a dictatorship and met her husband during a revolution. Growing up, she wondered why books only featured pink-skinned children who lived in worlds that didn’t resemble her tropical home in Manila. It took her years to learn that Filipino stories too, belong in the pages of books. She has been shortlisted for many prizes including the Waterstones and the Blue Peter Prize (Tall Story), the Guardian Prize (Shine) and the Costa and Carnegie (Bone Talk). She has also written picture books, children’s non fiction and early readers. Her most recent Wild Song, set in unknown history when indigenous people from the Philippines were put on exhibit in the United States in 1904, has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Candy loves making comics and waging war on the snails in her garden.

Wild Song is a stunning achievement, The Bookseller
Heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Teen Librarian
Photo of Sita Brahmachari

Sita Brahmachari

Sita Brahmachari is an internationally award-winning Children’s and YA author whose work is translated into many languages. Since her Waterstone’s Award Winning debut novel Artichoke Hearts (2011) Sita’s stories have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the UKLA Book Award. She has an MA in Arts Education and has worked widely in theatre and education with diverse communities to mentor young voices. Sita co-created and scripted a celebrated theatre production inspired by Shaun Tan’s graphic novel The Arrival (2013). Her most recent YA novel When Shadows Fall was shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal (2023). Sita was shortlisted for the Ruth Rendell Literacy Award (2023). Sita has been Book Trust Writer in Residence, is Associate Lecturer in Children’s and YA Literature at Goldsmiths University and is Writer in Residence at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. Sita is a Royal Literary Fellow and a Fellow of The Society of Authors and an Honorary Member of the Youth Libraries Group.

Photo of Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett

Keith is a writer, educator, and international poetry slam champion. He published the collection Selah in 2017 and has been widely anthologised with work comprising poetry, fiction, and essays. He has appeared on the BAFTA-winning show Life & Rhymes, and in documentaries.

Keith has judged the Foyle Young Poets Award, the Polari Prize, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and others. He was selected for the International Literary Showcase as one of 10 outstanding UK-based LGBT writers. He holds a PhD from Birkbeck and was awarded the Bloomsbury Studentship. Keith teaches at New York University in London, and is a Poetry Society trustee.

Photo of Carol Atherton

Carol Atherton

Carol Atherton has taught English since 1996, and is currently Head of English at Spalding Grammar School in Lincolnshire. She has written widely on the teaching of English at A Level, and is co-author, with Gary Snapper and Andrew Green, of Teaching English Literature 16-19 (Routledge, 2013). Her book Reading Lessons (Penguin Fig Tree, 2024) explores the relationships we have with the books we read in school, inviting us to take a fresh look at the novels, plays and poems we studied as teenagers and making a passionate case for the importance of literature within our education system.

Photo of Peter Kahn

Peter Kahn

Peter Kahn has taught poetry in over sixty schools from Hackney to Lambeth to Walthamstow to Chicago to South Carolina to Ohio. He created the Spoken Word program at Oak Park and River Forest High School, where he taught for 28 years, with work showcased in Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School (Penguin Young Readers). He has appeared on PBS NewsHour, NPR, BBC radio and the docu-series, America to Me. A founding member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, he has twice been a commended poet in the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition and was runner-up in the 2019 NCTE and Penguin Random House Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry. Peter co-founded the London Teenage Poetry Slam and, as a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, founded the Spoken Word Education Training Programme. Along with Patricia Smith and Ravi Shankar, he edited The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. His debut collection, Little Kings, is published by Nine Arches Press, with poems in the Guardian and Forward Book of Poetry. National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes writes, 'Peter Kahn is the kind of reader of poetry, teacher of poetry, and poet who makes the world easier for other readers, teachers and poets.'  

  • Bookings for this course will close at 8am BST on Wednesday 5th June or when capacity is reached, whichever is the sooner. 
  • This course must be booked online. 
  • To book this course you must be signed into one of the following accounts:
    • UK Educator Admin (purchasing)
    • UK Teacher – Home Address Only
    • UK Private Individual
    • Overseas
  • If you have a UK Educator Standard account you will not be able to book the course. Sign in to your account and add it to your Wishlist. See the list of people able to book courses at your organisation by clicking ‘My Account’, then ‘Our Admin Users’.
  1. Click 'Book now’ (right-hand column).
  2. Add the number of places you need. 
  3. Fill in the names and email addresses of the people attending. To secure your place, please make sure you add the attendee details immediately and checkout within 24 minutes. Otherwise the booking will expire and you will have to begin the process again. The joining information and post-course email will be emailed to both the person booking the course and the attendee.
  4. Click submit and then Go to basket.
  5. Checkout. 
  6. Please pay by card if you can. If you need to pay by invoice, you must be signed into a ‘UK Educator Admin User' account. You will not be able to request an invoice if you have one of the short courses in your basket at the same time. These must be paid for in advance.
  7. Once you have booked your place, you will see a screen indicating your order has been successful. You may want to make a note of your order number. The person making the booking and the attendee will also receive an automatic acknowledgement of your booking.
  8. When the course has reached viable numbers, this will be indicated on the course page on the website and you may wish to book your transport.

Cancellations and amendments

  • We require at least five working days’ notice of cancellation, otherwise your school will be invoiced for the full amount. However, if you are not able to attend and a colleague would like to take your place, this can be arranged at any time. (Please email [email protected] with the name and email address of the teacher.)
  • You will receive a notification when the course has reached viable numbers and will definitely run unless there are circumstances beyond our reasonable control. 
  • If a course does have to be cancelled you will not be charged for the course and will receive a refund if you paid in advance. However, personal arrangements including travel, accommodation or hospitality relating to the course which have been arranged by you or your institution are at your own risk and not refundable by us. You may wish to wait until you hear that the course has reached viable numbers before booking these.
  • Our face-to-face courses are very interactive and cannot be live-streamed.