My story, Elsie’s Eternal Eden, which was published in The Crazy Oik magazine (The Penniless Press, 2012) proved to be a good choice for vocabulary building activities in my recent Creative Writing workshop with 12-13 year old pupils. Unlike my usual scheduled Creative Writing workshops, I did a couple of recent sessions in their English classes, to tie in with what they’ve been studying as part of their curriculum. I chose to focus on the description of the otherworldly creature in my story, when it first appears to the protagonist, Elsie. The students drew a picture of how they imagined it as I read the paragraph, exploring words such as ‘hessian’ and ‘gnarled’… part of the reason why I found that teaching phonics to Japanese children (when I taught English in Japan) didn’t work well!

Creative Writing Workshop 3

Years ago, feedback for Elsie’s Eternal Eden was mixed. Some felt that the ending was too depressing. Some wanted the story to be more horror than magical realism. Of course, it is what it is, and published as I originally intended it. I was pleased that the majority of the students agreed, with only 3 voting that it should have been a horror.

Elsie's Eternal Eden activities

About this blog

Leilanie Stewart

Joseph Robert

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019 and her second novel, The Buddha's Bone is forthcoming in October 2021. Leilanie has also published three poetry collections: The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and two self-published pamphlets: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of educational books. Literary blog: Meandi Books: Bindweed Magazine:

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