Queen Anne's Book Club Attend Writing For Teenagers Event

Wednesday 19th March 2014

Members of Queen Anne’s Book Club attended the Writing for Teenagers Conference at Leighton Park School on Friday 7 March. Felicity Manocha, L5, reviews the conference below:

“Friday 7 of March 2014 was an exciting day for the Queen Anne’s School Book Club as we attended the Writing for Teenagers Conference at Leighton Park School. Along with pupils from other local schools, we piled into Leighton Park’s rather impressive auditorium to hear Chris Priestley, author of several published novels (the titles of many of which contained the word ‘dead’ or ‘terror’) and illustrator of many more, talk about his recent novel: “Through Dead Eyes”. The ghost story, set in Amsterdam, was written in the very same hotel where it takes place – although the real hotel is probably not haunted!

After Chris answered questions about another of his publications, which takes its inspiration from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, we received a talk from Sita Brahmachari, author of Waterstones’ Children’s Book of the Year Award-winning novel “Artichoke Hearts”. The book is semi-autobiographical (though Sita denies basing any of the characters on real people) and centres around twelve-year old Mira Levenson. The book was also shortlisted for the 2012 Berkshire Book Award.

After a fascinating discussion about book censorship (can you believe that the Harry Potter series caused controversy as some people thought it would encourage children to start practising witchcraft?!) we ate lunch and marvelled at the school’s high-tech tray-collecting conveyor belts, before moving on to our afternoon workshops.

Those of us in Sally Nicholls’s group took part in a writing activity where we had to write without stopping whilst Sally, author of four published books, fired questions at us. Some of us ended up with brilliant ideas for stories, whilst others just ended up stressed! Hands aching from the writing, we returned to the auditorium to hear Sally Nicholls speak about her latest novel: “Close Your Pretty Eyes” – ghost stories seem to be popular this year, as this book also centres around the supernatural. Sally’s talk was very amusing, if a little gruesome – in addition to answering our questions about becoming an author and researching for novels, she gave us a brief explanation of the three different types of plague: bubonic, pneumonic and septicaemic!

At the end of the day there was the opportunity to buy books, and then we headed back to school.”

Written by Felicity Manocha, L5A

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