M.A. Griffin – 4/10/18

Year 9 pupils were involved in an author talk from M.A. (Martin) Griffin.  He read extracts from his new novel, Payback, and spoke to pupils about the best place to start a story to have maximum impact on the reader.  He shared his ‘What? So what?  Then what?’ technique for starting a story and keeping the reader interested.  Pupils then had the chance to ask Martin any questions about the life of a writer.  They were also able to buy copies of Payback and have them signed. 

Jewell Parker Rhodes – 5/10/18

Year 7 pupils were involved in an author talk by American author Jewell Parker Rhodes as part of this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival.  She talked about her experiences as a person of colour in America and about the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA and beyond.  She read extracts from her novel, Ghost Boys, which tells the story of a young boy who is shot by the police in a case of mistaken identity.  She explained that she had initially been reluctant to tell such a harrowing story; but felt that it was important to address the issue of institutional racism in America.  She then worked with 7CHN in a small workshop about the writing process.  She spoke to students about different techniques for building tension throughout a novel.  Pupils discussed ways of adding tension to mundane, seemingly everyday situations. 

Robin Stevens – 10/10/18

We were joined by 150 visitors from St Urban’s, Holy Name and Sacred Heart primary schools.  Robin Stevens is currently the 16th highest selling children’s author in the UK and she visited Cardinal Heenan as part of the tour to promote her most recent novel, Death in the Spotlight.  Robin talked about her own fascination with murder mysteries as a child.  She talked about taking inspiration from authors such as Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie to create murder mysteries with high school pupils as the main protagonists. She then worked with the group to plan their own murder mystery novel, using ideas from the pupils as the basis of the story.  Pupils then had the chance to buy signed copies of Robin’s novels and have their photograph taken with her. 

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