Author aiming to inspire next generation

A TOWN author officially launched her new novel by hosting a workshop aimed at inspiring the next generation of writers.

Michelle Birbeck, from the Headland, officially launched The Last Keeper at the Belle Vue Community Sports and Youth Centre before hosting a workshop with children from three local schools.

The fantasy story tells the story of “Keepers” who are tasked with protecting the delicate balance between vampires, witches and humans.

Michelle, who is originally from Blackpool, moved to Hartlepool 15 years ago.

The 28-year-old said there was a lot of interest shown in her book with people popping in throughout the day.

Michelle, a full-time carer to husband Phillip, 28, who suffers from a blood condition, was also impressed with the talent shown by the youngsters.

She said: “The launch went very well and there was interest shown in the book, which was great.

“The children were fantastic too and they had clearly a lot of talent.

“I was really pleased with how it went and the children all seemed to enjoy themselves too, which was nice.”

Youngsters from three primary schools, Stranton, St Cuthbert’s and St Aidan’s, took time out of lessons for the workshop.

They were all asked to bring in a short story of their own which they read to Michelle, who then read one of her creations, The Ideas of a Cheese Mouse.

The budding authors then had the chance to learn how to write a story and ask questions during the session.

Michelle added: “They showed a lot of interest and I was impressed with the stories they brought in.

“During the workshop I gave them all a choice of pictures and asked them to use it as inspiration for a short story.

“It worked well and I was pleased with their efforts.”

The Last Keeper, available through Amazon, is priced at £13 and has been published by The Writer’s Coffeeshop.

Michelle, a former Garlands worker, is due to launch her second novel, Last Chance, in May next year.

Meanwhile, Michelle will also be holding a talk and book-signing session at Hartlepool Central Library, in York Road, on Wednesday, June 20 at 6.30pm.