Mrs Hamilton-Brown, Teacher of English
On Wednesday 11th July, Year 7 students were treated to a fascinating insight into the world of being a published writer when popular author Jenny McLachlan visited the school.
Jenny gave a riveting presentation to the whole year group for an hour then worked with more than sixty Year 7s over three workshops, helping them to ‘find the book within them’. The students were engrossed as Jenny led them through the stages of planning and writing their own book. Firstly, thinking about the setting, then the characters and finally the plot.
The session ended with the students designing their own book jackets, having to carefully choose a ‘commercial’ book title and tag line. Jenny pointed out that within youth fiction, the books that sell best, have the following words in their titles: Girl; Star; Life; Love; Night; Heart; Shadow; World. So, the students learned that it’s important to choose your title well, if you want to sell your book! The students also discovered that you don’t have to be a writer to work in the book industry - we certainly have some potentially amazing book jacket designers amongst out Year 7s!
The students thoroughly enjoyed the workshops, Year 7 student, Luka said, ‘Before this morning, I didn’t realise that I had a book within me. I am going to go home tonight and write my book.” Jenny McLachlan was impressed, and commented, “The students were FANTASTIC!! Brilliant ideas, funny, polite, original, inquiring, they made the day a real joy and they were clearly used to being asked to think creatively.”
Over lunch, Jenny met almost seventy students who had bought her books, signing each of them with a personalised message.
The day finished up with sixth former Jack Holcombe, professionally hosting a Q&A session with Jenny in the library. The library was full of students from across the year groups and staff who came to participate in the discussion. The students asked a range of intriguing questions which really impressed the author. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed lots of cake and students lingered for half an hour chatting to Jenny. One student was overheard saying that she couldn’t believe that she had just met a famous author. But the day was summed up by Theo who said, “This is brilliant! Can we do this every week in the library, with cake?”