Author Visits inspire students

This year we have been honoured to host a number of authors visits as part of our ‘Library Talks’ series.  The lifting of lockdown restrictions has meant that we were able to welcome them back into the School in person. 

Our first visitor was Harry Baker who became the youngest ever Poetry World Slam Champion in 2012, and his first collection of poems The Sunshine Kid was published in 2014. In November, Year 10 students got to listen to his life story and hear about how he fell in love with poetry. His live recitations of his poetry ‘ Falafelloefffel’, ‘Dinosaur Love’ and ‘The Scientist and the Bumblebee’ were captivating and entertaining. 


Shortly afterwards, Alex Wheatle came in to speak with students in Year 9. He spoke movingly about his journey to becoming a writer and his most recent book, Cane Warriors which has been shortlisted for many awards, including the Carnegie Medal and the UKLA Award. Alex is the author of over 15 books for children, teens and young adults, including Crongton Knights, set on a South London estate for which he won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2016. The story of his early life in care, discovering community in Brixton and his time in prison was featured in the Small Axe film Alex Wheatle, directed by Steve McQueen (and Latymer School Governor, Tracey Scoffield, was a producer).  


Year 9 students were also treated to a visit from author and former actor Manjeet Mann. She spoke about the merits, determination and resilience required for a career in the arts, as well as how she found writing later in her career as a medium to express her thoughts without the constraints of direction. Following her award-winning debut, Run, Rebel, her second verse novel, The Crossing, poignantly deals with the intertwined fate of an Eritrean refugee and a British girl dealing with grief, poverty and the grooming of her brother for a white supremacist group. The book is among eight titles currently shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie Medal. Our students were truly inspired by her work in the arts. 

Before the end of Spring term, our Year 7 students, along with their Prep school peers from Years 5 & 6, enjoyed a very meaningful talk from Piers Torday, author of The Last Wild and the connected trilogy, about the magic of storytelling, and his passion for wildlife, and making sure it is conserved going into the future. One of the reasons why the students enjoyed this so much was the way he connected his current career to his experiences and thoughts as a young boy, in a way which his eager audience were able to relate to so strongly. Students from Y7 and the Prep School alike were able to meet him and purchase books to get signed afterwards; a truly engaging educational experience.

We are immensely grateful to all of these fantastic and inspiring speakers, and also to Ms McCargar, our librarian, who organised all of these events.

Author: carolineroberts

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