Writer, teacher and performer with extensive experience in education, libraries and community projects, especially fields of learning disability, refugee arts, mental health & well-being. Creative & reflective writing in primary and secondary schools. Derbyshire Poet Laureate 2007-9. Writer-in-residence with Writing East Midlands working with young writers.
Hawthornden Fellow 2011.
Leap (Smith/Doorstop 2010) 'Poems full of life and promise'
You Are Here: Travels of a Derbyshire Poet Laureate (2009)
Some Girls' Mothers (Route 2008) co-writer
The Purpose of Your Visit (Smith/Doorstop 2008)
River has worked on a range of different projects for our organisation over a number of years, most recently as a creative writer for a series of events as part of our Arts and Well-being initiative. This has involved open workshops where participants are welcome to develop existing skills or try new art forms.
Many of the participants have experience of mental illness and are marginalized in our society, most lack confidence in their abilities. River has a wide range of skills and knowledge and communicates effectively with people who either have never written before or have a wealth of past experience. She is able to put people at ease and engage their interest, making the experience of writing seem natural and painless. Participants find it easy to communicate with her and have been open in praising the way that she has enabled them to produce work which they can take pride in.
River has been a strong team member encouraging participants to mix art forms and supporting the work of colleagues. She is always professional in making and keeping arrangements and prepares carefully for sessions, for our events she has brought a range of books to suit different interests as well as preparing specific material to use as a starting point to get ideas flowing.
River is equally popular with both participants and colleagues and it is always a pleasure to work with her.
The Burton Street Project Arts, Sheffield
New Words Writing Project
River Wolton worked with my mixed ability Year 5 class for 6 half day sessions, on Friday mornings. One week we were unable to complete the session as we were on a school trip. River was very flexible and rearranged the date, even bringing aspects of the trip we had been on into future sessions with the children.
Her planning was excellent, with clear progression. She created powerpoint presentations and writing frames for the children so that the EAL (English as an additional language) learners could access the sessions. We had an overall plan for the sessions, but River was flexible to meet the needs of the children and many of the ideas and work came from the children and the experiences they shared with her.
River's teaching style was ideal for these children. She was warm, friendly and caring, viewing all of their ideas as important and working with all of the children, regardless of their ability or language skills. There were no issues with behaviour at all in the 6 sessions as the children were engaged in their learning and fascinated by what River was going to do next! As a result the children were enthusiastic and persistent and applied themselves with great effort to the different writing exercises and tasks. The children responded excellently to her style and these qualities endeared her to the children. They looked forward to the sessions on Friday mornings and attitudes towards writing improved enormously. Many of them now enjoy writing and sharing ideas.
The children really enjoyed talking about writing, working together to create stories and poems and experimenting with words without having to worry about the constraints associated with punctuation, sentences structure etc. The project was a success and the children displayed their work with pride in the school corridor for other children to see. They also took great delight in performing their work for the rest of the class, younger children and the headteacher.
I would highly recommend River as a Writer in Education.
Pye Bank CE Primary School, Sheffield
In order to contact this person you can fill in this form and we will contact them on your behalf.