A host of activities celebrating literature
The Juniors have had a great week celebrating the wonderful world of literature. Monday saw the author, Tony Bradman, visiting the school and not only reading from his work to the Juniors, but also conducting some sessions on creative writing and the work of an author (see interview below).
On Wednesday we were visited by a Storyteller, who told stories to the children in the Junior Library, now resplendent with the new mural by Ruhi Patel.
The Pitshanger Bookshop ran a Book Fair throughout the week and on Friday we saw the traditional Book Character Dress Up Day. This year’s theme was ‘Heroes and Villains’ and there were some glorious examples throughout the week.
In addition to all this, Extreme Reading was introduced to Book Week and staff and Sixth Form joined in this foray into the exciting world of reading in unusual places!
We were also fortunate that Lucy Ruszkiewicz Bagot, Upper VI, our Priory Post Prefect, interviewed Tony Bradman during his visit, exploring his motivation and the inspiration for his work:
‘What do you like about writing children’s books and how did you get into it?’
‘I loved reading from a very young age – starting with The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings, that sort of thing. Growing up, I continued my love of reading, and started to write as well, and took English Literature at A Level. I went on to do English at university, and ended up doing journalism for a bit. But it was when I had my own children that I found I wanted to write children’s books, because I was reading children’s books for them all the time. I just love writing and I find writing children’s books to be what I’m best at, and I think it’s really important for children to read from a young age.’
‘What advice would you give to young writers?’
‘Practice as much as you can. I find there are two types of people; people who want to be writers, and people who want to write. The people who want to be writers end up just wanting to write for the sake of having bestsellers, whereas the people who want to write, they write because they love writing and they write all the time. Those people who just love writing for the sake of it usually end up being the best writers, because they write all the time. The more you practice writing, the better you get at it because you find what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. Writing is a lot like music in that way; you have to practice all the time and you have to really love it.’
‘What’s your take on the recent debate concerning the future of Creative Writing A Level?’
‘Well, I taught creative writing myself for a bit, and what I found is that it’s great for teaching techniques to young writers, so they can go on and become better writers themselves. However, you can’t teach talent. I taught a lot of people who wanted to get their works published, and whilst very few of them actually got their work published, they all worked away having learnt a lot. You can teach that simplicity in writing is really important, or you can teach an array of skills and techniques to put into your writing, but you can’t teach raw talent. I think that the course is really valuable, but I think it’s much like a music course; you can teach the theory of music but you can’t teach the drive to practice all the time and the raw talent itself.’Junior Nursery Prep Sixth Form