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Open Right

Ailsa Wild: The making of a graphic novel

Session Info:

Ailsa tells the story of the making of the award winning graphic novel, The Invisible War – a research process  which took her from the trenches of the Western Front to meeting an epidemiologist in Cambridge, as well as hunting down her own family’s war records and reading the journals of several WWI nurses.

This was a collaborative process where Ailsa worked very closely with scientists, historians and artists, relationships which were personal, funny and included some healthy conflict. Told with well-tailored slides, the making of The Invisible War is compelling listening.

With a workshop: students are led through exercises which explore their own creative process and begin to draft a graphic novel.

The Invisible War was selected as a ‘Notable of 2017’ by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. It has won five literary, educational and book design awards to date, including Most Outstanding Educational Resource at the 2017 Australian Educational Publishing Award.


Topics covered:

  • The process of making a graphic novel
  • How people collaborate to create story
  • Adapting research into narrative form
  • Interaction of text with images in a graphic novel

On request, this session can be tailored to focus on WW1 history with focus on year nine history essential learning standards


“Ailsa presented a fantastic workshop that both spoke to the curriculum and invited students to explore their own creativity in a way that was revelatory to many. She is an incredibly engaging presenter whose background in performance and circus means that she is able to get the whole group eating out of her hand, and managed to get even the most cynical teenagers excited about participating. Her workshop had a great mix of activities, and students were genuinely interested in learning about her creative process as well as delighted to be invited to move around the space (great for some of our more active kids!) and use music as a creative prompt. Her energy, generosity and authenticity really connected with our secondary students and many spoke to me afterwards about how much they enjoyed her workshop.”

-Nell Day, Teacher Librarian, University High School:

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