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Mr Mahli's Shed launches with Dylan Thomas workshops

 New Firefly title Mr Mahli's Shed and a ghost named Dylan by Sully primary school teacher Laura Sheldon launches this week as part of an exciting initiative to bring the work of Dylan Thomas to thousands of school children in the poet's centenary year. 

Mr Mahli’s Shed is a gentle and fun introduction to the famed Welsh poet, illustrated by Cardiff illustrator Huw Aaron. It centres on two nine-year-old friends, Tomos and Alys, who stumble across a slightly grumpy ghost in their neighbour’s garden shed on Hillside Crescent in Swansea, just round the corner from Cwmdonkin Drive. All goes well until the ghostly Dylan persuades his new friends to take him to school, where mayhem breaks out in the middle of a poetry lesson with a difference, and one the children will never forget… 

Part of our Dragonfly series, the book is being launched with a creative writing workshop delivered by the author, and a book signing in Sully School’s own writers’ shed. The shed, which opened last year, overlooks the sea just like Dylan’s original shed in Laugharne, and is used as a place for the children at the school to explore their creativity through words.

‘The idea for Mr Mahli's Shed began two years ago when I introduced my class to the work of Dylan Thomas,’ said Laura, ‘I loved the idea that the ghost of Dylan Thomas could meet two children from 2014 and started to think about how they would interact.’ To find out more about the writers' shed and the inspiration behind Mr Mahli, read Laura's blog.

The launch is in collaboration with Literature Wales as one of the Developing Dylan 100 workshops now being offered to schools across Wales as part of the Dylan Thomas Centenary celebrations. Led by a team of 32 writers, the one-hour creative writing workshops use the magic of Dylan’s words to inspire the young people of Wales.  The Developing Dylan workshops, supported by the Welsh Government, have already reached over 7,500 children.

The workshops are led by some of Wales’ best writers including Cynan Jones, author of the award-winning novel The Dig, Wales Book of the Year nominee Jemma L King, and Tracey Beaker scriptwriter and Firefly author Dan Anthony. Specifically tailored for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 curriculum requirements in Wales, they give particular attention to the national Literacy and Numeracy Framework, and the Key Stage 4 workshop is linked to GCSE Welsh/English Literature Course requirements for creative writing.

 Firefly publisher Penny Thomas said, ‘This is a fun story about two school friends who have an adventure. It’s also a great introduction to Dylan for primary school children – gentle, funny and not didactic in any way. We hope this book, and the Developing Dylan 100 workshops, will help readers find out more about Dylan and his work.’

Mr Mahli's Shed (£5.99) can be ordered here, and is also available in teacher packs with free guided-reading notes. Email us at fireflypress@yahoo.co.uk for details or call us on 02920 218611 for details. There are also several related activities for children, teachers and parents on our website. 

Developing Dylan 100 workshops, available in both English and Welsh, are available to book at 30% off. Visit developingdylan100.co.uk or contact Literature Wales on 029 2047 2266 for more information.