The White Phoenix Author Visits

I am delighted to offer author visits to students in Years 5-8.

Author visits begin with a reading from my novel, The White Phoenix, followed by an illustrated talk on the key ingredients that go into writing a children’s historical novel, with lots of fun facts and illustrations to show why 1666 was such an exciting year to write about.

I also offer creative workshops based on The White Phoenix, focussing on either characters or setting – two essential ingredients for any novel. In the character-based workshop, students develop their own characters based on prompts I provide, and begin to draft a plot for their own story. In the workshop focussed on settings, students explore how to make the past come to life, and produce their own piece of creative writing about the Great Fire.

All sessions include time for children to ask questions about any aspects of writing, being an author, and writing historical fiction.

I am flexible as to the length and content of the visits, so feel free to discuss with me your school’s particular needs.

Fees for author visits start at £125. Please contact me via email on for more information and to discuss your particular requirements.aract


'Catherine gave an inspiring presentation to Y7 & 8 students on creative writing which gave students useful and practical tips on how to develop their own settings and characters. Students especially liked hearing about her research on the Great Fire of London for her book; she was so knowledgeable and had a lovely manner with the students. Students enjoyed being able to ask Catherine questions and having her sign their copies of her book.'

Bethanie Lord, Head of English & Arts, Newport Girls' High School, Shropshire

'Year 6 thoroughly enjoyed meeting author Catherine Randall this morning; they had a great time completing a workshop using her book ‘The White Phoenix’ as a stimulus.!'

Alison Turner, Deputy Headteacher and Year 6 Teacher,
Much Wenlock Primary School, Shropshire

'Catherine Randall delivered an excellent and emotive reading of her novel, and a really fun creative writing workshop to Y7 students at Kingsdale Foundation School! The students loved the opportunity to speak with a published author about how to bring their narrative ideas to life, as well as the careful research that went into The White Phoenix. Catherine was super engaging and encouraging, and brought out the imaginative best in our students. Thanks!'

Tamsin Rutter, Teacher of English, Kingsdale Foundation School, London

'Catherine read an extract from The White Phoenix and gave a fascinating talk about her book and the writing process with reference to all the historical research involved. Catherine adeptly engaged her audience and answered a wealth of insightful questions from the students who were very eager to learn from the first-hand experience of a real-life author. Catherine was enthusiastic, erudite and engaging and we would be delighted to welcome her back to talk about any future books.'

Emily Gwynne and Claire Didiot-Cook
Head of English and Acting Head of Libraries, Lady Eleanor Holles School, Middlesex

'For World Book Day 2021 Catherine recorded herself reading a section of the novel and answering questions that our students came up with. The students loved it! Many of them commented how inspirational they found the session and how it has encouraged them to engage more in both reading and writing. I could not recommend sessions like this more - the students found it incredibly beneficial.'

Anthea Harper
Teacher of English, Camborne Science and International Academy, Cornwall

Great Fire Workshop

I have been presenting Great Fire Workshops in local schools for several years. Dressed in seventeenth-century costume, I assume the role of Mistress Hopper, the owner of a bookshop by St Paul’s Cathedral which has just burnt down in the Great Fire. Mistress Hopper describes her escape from the fire as though it has only just taken place, and interacts with the children as though they are discussing the latest news from London together. A PowerPoint presentation showing maps and paintings of the Great Fire helps to bring it to life.

The children are then encouraged to write and draw postcards to send to friends in other cities, asking for help to rebuild London. The children are also given the opportunity to dress up in seventeenth-century style with bonnets, aprons and cloaks.

For more information, prices and bookings, please contact me via the Contact page.


‘It was brilliant to have a visit from Mistress Hopper. The children enjoyed sharing their knowledge of the Great Fire of London and learning new bits of information. The children really loved getting to dress up in costume and creating postcards about the event. Thank you so much for coming in!’

Rachel McClenaghan
Y2 teacher, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Teddington

‘The children were enthralled to meet Mistress Hopper and the experiences of the people of London were brought to life through the story telling. Their learning about the Great Fire of London has been enhanced through the workshop and they will go home with their own story to tell about the visit. We look forward to welcoming you back next year.’

Fiona Wideman
Teacher of History, Radnor House School, Twickenham

'Mistress Hopper took the girls back to the momentous night of September 2nd, 1666, and immersed them in the facts and emotions of the event. It was an experience they would remember for a long time. We will definitely invite her back.'

Mrs Travers, Year 2 teacher
Old Vicarage School, Richmond

'Whether it be an introduction to the topic, or a consolidation of learning, Catherine brought the Great Fire of London to life through her role as Mistress Hopper. The children were all thoroughly engaged in the activities which were pitched perfectly for the age group.'

Sara Hunt
St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Teddington
'Mrs Hopper, a lady who was in the centre of the tragic Great Fire of London, time-travelled to the future to give us an insight as to what it was like during the event that shocked the citizens of London. Bringing maps, pictures and other sources of information, she told the children all about: where and how the fire started; how quickly the devastation of the fire spread; and how they tackled the flames for several days….Mrs Hopper gave them the opportunity to try on some of the outfits people from the time would have worn…A wonderful workshop experienced by all!'

Miss Willcox
St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, Thames Ditton