• James Campbell
    children’s author
    comedian and
    lollipop lady

    He performs his comedy for children shows all over the place and visits many many primary schools with his unique blend of storytelling, talking about writing and being properly hilarious. His Funny Life books are published by Bloomsbury. James lives in the Essex/Suffolk borders in an off-grid caravan where he is creating a food forest. He is six foot and one inch tall and enjoys writing about himself in the third person.

    About MeBook Me

James Campbell
children’s author
comedian and
lollipop lady

He performs his comedy for children shows all over the place and visits many many primary schools with his unique blend of storytelling, talking about writing and being properly hilarious. His Funny Life books are published by Bloomsbury. James lives in the Essex/Suffolk borders in an off-grid caravan where is creating a food forest. He is six foot and one inch tall and enjoys writing about himself in the third person.

James Campbell

James decided that he was a writer when he was seven. Before that he wanted to be a duck. As a writer, he loved the way that the stories he read took his brain to other places. Most children would think to themselves, “Hmmm. I shall read more stories.” But James didn’t think that. James thought,

“Hmmm. I need to be in charge of this. I shall write my own stories.”

James began writing the sorts of stories that he was reading, usually magical stories with portals. Then he became obsessed with Star Wars until he was about ten when he discovered war stories and other things that were too old for him. As a teenager he did the usual teenage things but wrote terrible poems while he was doing them and then at the age of 19 he won a playwriting festival and set about being a proper writer.

James did some voluntary work in an infant school and began making up stories for the children he was working with. One day, one of the teachers asked him if he’d like to visit her husband’s school and asked how much money he would charge…

Since then, James has visited nearly three thousand schools.

At weekends and in holiday times James has performed his Comedy 4 Kids show all over the world. These days his one man show is called “The Funny Thing About James Campbell,” to fit in with his books.   You can find dates on the dates page…

School Visits and Performances

James is very excited to back on the road again, visiting schools.  During lockdown though, James still managed to deliver dozens of virtual visits via Zoom.

With an actual, in person visit, James usually does four sessions over the course of a day.  Reception on their own for 45 minutes; Y1&2 for 50 minutes; Y3&4 for an hour; Y5&6 for an hour.  If you’re a small school, he can, of course visit for just half a day and do two sessions.

The younger children get a mixture of storytelling, poems and talk about what being a writer actually involves.  There is lots of laughter and joining in.  He usually tells his story of The Umbrella Tree so your little ones will want to spend the rest of the day drawing pictures and telling each other stories.

The older children get an hilarious blend of stories (which are very much like stand-up comedy) and talk about being more creative.  James has lots of true stories from his life which will inspire your children to want to write their own books.

James is also able to provide teacher training sessions around creativity and writing workshops for smaller groups of young people.   A lot of this cross-pollinates with his book Write Your Own Funny Stories and his online writing classes for children who really like writing.

Generally speaking, James day rate is between £400 and £500.

Since 1996 James has visited nearly three thousand schools around the world.

These days he usually spends two days a week in schools, mainly in Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. He can however, be tempted further afield if you ask nicely. (And pay him some money for mileage).  James drives an electric car these days so booking James won’t add to your carbon footprint!  It’s also really helpful if he can plug his car to a socket somewhere while he’s visiting.

Most of the schools he visits are primary schools but he is also very experienced at working with the bottom half of secondary schools.

“I’m told that I am not like other author visits. I do talk about my books, of course, but only in such a way that I can inspire the children in their own writing. For me, the most important thing is to show the children that they can do it too. I was brought up in a council house in Cambridgeshire. I went to a normal school and no one else in my family was a writer. If I can become a successful, published author then any of your children can. In fact, any of your children can do anything. I mix this kind of motivational speaking with discussion of techniques that they can actually apply to their school work. This combination and making sure that everyone is laughing while they learn is what, I think, makes my work so well received.”  James Campbell

Thank you so much for your visit. The staff and the pupils were buzzing after you left. They really enjoyed your visit and kept asking me if you were coming back!

The children loved your visit on Friday and had a fantastic day – it was a great end to our book week. (March 2017)

You were brilliant today! The kids had an excellent time and really loved hearing you talk.  It was a pleasure to be in the hall and watch them enjoy themselves so much. March 2017

Mine have come in this morning with pink shiny folders of stories, bits of paper torn
from other paper, picture stories, typed stories, front covers, plans,
blurbs… they want to enter the 500 words competition on Radio 2 and we
are spending really quite a lot of time at the end of the day with them
reading all their many many things out. Their imagination is flowing! (Feb 2016)

Sincere thanks for such a positive, productive experience for our students and staff on Friday. Your genuine humour and manner with whole year groups and smaller classes kept everyone engaged. Your books have been very popular in the Library and we can already see how much of a positive impact the day had.

“THANK YOU so much for your visit yesterday – we absolutely loved having you here and hope to do so again in the future.  The pupils were incredibly positive about your visit and the staff also enjoyed your presentations. THANKS again!”

I just wanted to write you a quick email to say thank you for yesterday. You were such a breath of fresh air – funny, inspiring and utterly engaging. The children have been demolishing Boyface (I know several who had finished reading it by the end of the day), and they have not stopped talking about how much you made them laugh. My Year 5 pupils log their reading online and have a book-related blog that they can post comments to. This morning, their comments were all about you, including: wasn’t yesterday great. literally every few sentences he said there was a joke in one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Comments from all the teachers who met you have been similarly favourable, with many saying that you were the most engaging and vibrant visiting author/speaker that they had seen. So, thanks once again, and I very much hope that you will come back and visit us again at Blackheath Prep in the near future

Our team delivers an undergraduate module which supports first year students to go into schools and deliver their own sessions, improving their confidence, experience and employability. We invited James to deliver a session as part of our Cultural Careers Conference so that our students could see best practice in action. James delivered his creative writing session to a class of local primary school children where he went through various stages to help them get down on paper their creative ideas. The children, class teachers, our students, and other guest speakers from the conference were all wowed with James’s session. When I took a sneak peek around the room, every single person was wide eyed and smiling or laughing. Everyone was entertained and inspired, but more than that – they were given the tools they needed to set about creating their very own pieces of writing. In the short time we gave him, James somehow supported every single child in the room and showed them their ideas were exciting and valuable. They each went away proudly with the beginnings of their own individual stories. It seemed to be one of those sessions that you would remember forever. We’ve since been delighted to be able to incorporate James’ sessions into our Arts Education Program. Unsurprisingly, all of the schools we’ve worked with have given highly positive praise. I’d like to thank James for enhancing our program and we look forward to working with him again next year! University of Essex.

Thanks so much for your visit – the children really enjoyed it and I know the adults were really inspired too.  There have been reports from a few parents of children quacking for most of yesterday evening, so they certainly took some things on board!!

We have had an unprecedented response from parents regarding your visit. Apparently many of them were still ‘buzzing’ when they went home! You certainly made a huge impact!
Thank you so much for coming to see us.

Thank you- the children were still talking about Boyface in cooking club at the end of the day! One year 1 class were so excited after the assembly, the teacher sent her support assistant running up the corridor to claim your book and  they made stripe making machines for the rest of the morning. The power of story!

Thank you so much for visiting our school on Wednesday. The children thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and I have had many teachers come and find me since to let me know how great they thought it was!

I have also had quite a lot of children ask me on the corridor when you’ll be here next so I’m sure we can work together again in the future.

One of my NQT’s came to find me this morning to show me a book a pupil had gone away and created on Wednesday evening about his dreams to be a wrestler as he had been inspired by your writing. She was thrilled as he is usually a very reluctant writer but he had written pages and pages and even included a front cover and a blurb!

Stand Up for Kids

James’ show is currently called “The Funny Life of James Campbell” and is a mixture of stand-up, storytelling and talking about his books.

It’s suitable for children over six, lasts for just over an hour and is probably the funniest thing you can do with your family.

Here are the dates booked in the diary at the moment:

Sat 15 January: Great Yarmouth Library
Sat 26 Feb: Oxford Story Museum
Sun 27 March: Eastwood Theatre, Glasgow
Sat 21 May: Quarry Theatre, Bedford
Wed 1 Jun: Haverhill Arts Centre
Thu 2 Jun: The Plough Great Torrington, Devon
Fri 3 Jun: Dorchester Arts Centre
Sat 4 Jun: Tobacco Factory, Bristol
Sat 11 Jun: Cornhall, Diss, Norfolk

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If you need to get hold of James email him here. If your enquiry is about a theatre, festival or TV booking, you need to talk to James’ management: andy@thegaltonagency.com

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