'A ghost named Dylan' launches with help from school workshops for poet's centenary

15 Sep 2014

A debut children's book by a primary school teacher has been launched at Sully Primary School writers' shed as part of an exciting initiative to bring the work of Dylan Thomas to thousands of school children.

Mr Mahli’s Shed and a ghost named Dylan  by Laura Sheldon (Firefly Press), features a grumpy ghost now resident in a shed near Cwmdonkin Drive. The book is being launched in collaboration with Literature Wales at one of the Developing Dylan 100 workshops being offered to schools across Wales as part of the Dylan Thomas Centenary celebrations.

Led by a team of 32 writers, the one-hour creative writing workshops use the magic of Dylan’s words to inspire the young people of Wales. The Developing Dylan workshops, supported by the Welsh Government, have already reached over 7,500 children.

Now Literature Wales is helping launch Laura’s book, which is aimed at 7-9 year olds, with a creative writing workshop delivered by the author and a book signing in Sully school’s own writers’ shed. The shed, opened last year, overlooks the sea just like Dylan’s original shed in Laugharne, and is used as a place for the children at the school to explore their creativity through words.

Mr Mahli’s Shed and a ghost named Dylan  is a gentle but enthralling introduction to the famed Welsh poet, illustrated by Cardiff artist Huw Aaron. It centres on two nine-year-old friends, Tomos and Alys, who stumble across the odd but entertaining ghost in their neighbour’s garden shed on Hillside Crescent in Swansea. All goes well until the ghostly Dylan persuades his new friends to take him to school, where mayhem breaks out in the middle of a poetry lesson with a difference…

‘The idea for Mr Mahli's Shed began two years ago when I introduced my class to the work of Dylan Thomas,’ said Laura. ‘I loved the idea that the ghost of Dylan Thomas could meet two children from 2014 and started to think about how they would interact.’ (Read Laura’s blog here:  http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/node/144)

The Developing Dylan workshops are led by some of Wales’ best writers including Cynan Jones, author of the award-winning novel The Dig, Wales Book of the Year nominee Jemma L King, and Tracey Beaker scriptwriter and Firefly author Dan Anthony. Specifically tailored for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 curriculum requirements in Wales, they give particular attention to the national Literacy and Numeracy Framework, and the Key Stage 4 workshop is linked to GCSE Welsh/English Literature Course requirements for creative writing.
 
Megan Farr of Literature Wales said: ‘We are delighted to be working together with Firefly Press and new writing talent Laura Sheldon. Mr Mahli’s Shed is the perfect book to introduce young children to Dylan Thomas’ writing in a fun and accessible way, and creates a great synergy with our Developing Dylan 100 workshops that aim to do the same.’

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