​Children’s Author Emma Carroll Leads Gothic Fiction Workshop | King's Hall School Taunton

​Children’s Author Emma Carroll Leads Gothic Fiction Workshop

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It was a delight to welcome popular children’s author Emma Carroll to King’s Hall this week. The acclaimed author of Frost Hollow Hall and The Somerset Tsunami, joined us for a morning of bookish fun which included a wonderfully-wicked workshop on gothic fiction with our Year 7s.

Inspired by her Frankenstein-esque novel, Strange Star, Emma taught the children how to create a gothic setting for their stories, as well as how to achieve maximum ‘gothic impact’ by heightening the emotional state of their characters and by devising monsters ‘with a difference.’ The pupils also delved deeper into the genre by investigating the different ways in which writers have used their stories as a vehicle for protesting against injustice.

The children were fascinated to discover local links to classic novels such as Frankenstein, as well as to Emma’s own novels. In fact, the house that once stood at Fyne Court (only a few miles from our school!), was owned by the eccentric Andrew Crosse, an amateur scientist who was known for his love of electricity. It was he who conducted many strange experiments in the hope of harnessing the power of lightning. It is believed that Mary Shelley once visited him on her way to the home of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the famous Romantic poet who resided in Nether Stowey, and that Crosse’s experiments may well have been the inspiration behind the creation of Frankenstein’s monster. The nearby village of Broomfield also appears in Strange Star, and this local link allowed the children to imagine the story taking place in a setting not so dissimilar to their own.

Commenting, School Librarian, Emily Marcuccilli, said: “Emma’s books are always in great demand and Year 7 have been reading her story Strange Star, along with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as part of the English curriculum. Emma gave them a fantastic insight into the gothic genre, providing them with a range of techniques that they can now use within their own writing.”

We now look forward to welcoming Emma back in Arts Week, when she will be delivering writing workshops inspired by her circus-themed novel, The Girl Who Walked on Air.

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