Fact and Fiction for Y7 with Christopher Edge

What an interesting morning we had with author Christopher Edge, a writer who incorporates scientific theories into his story lines. He was not daunted by the prospect of talking to all 270 Y7 students in our theatre, and didn’t wrong-foot on the Chicago set (ready for our school production)! He was here to promote his recent novels, The many worlds of Albie Bright and The Jamie Drake equation.

Christopher spent an hour checking what scientific knowledge we had before offering his own versions of the workings of parallel universes and thoughts on alien life communities. Students were engaged and keen to contribute throughout the presentation. As groups returned to their classes around 80 students stayed to purchase a book of their choice and speak to Christopher while he signed it for them.

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After a quick break we had him up and running again but this time in the smaller setting of our Reading Room, where he ran a workshop for 30 students who had asked to come to find out the best way to begin a story. If you look at our photos you may recognise some of the opening lines that Christopher used to illustrate the best way to tackle this; from authors like Patrick Ness, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Christopher gave  everyone the opportunity to choose their favourite and then encouraged them to begin writing a story of their own to follow it. There was just time to read out his favourites.

We would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to Christopher for coming to visit and share his work with us. The students for participating in both events and their teachers for giving up their lessons for Periods 1 and 2.


The power of stories: Non Pratt working with Year 9.

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Hurrah, we invited Non Pratt back into school, after a great day with her last year – and she accepted!

She will be giving a presentation to half the year group in the afternoon about her work as a writer and the Power of stories – as usual bringing in ideas from films, TV and the news, not just books.

In the morning two lucky groups of students, chosen by their English Teachers, will be working more closely with her on Character creation and Doing the Dialogue.

Students Y8-10 who are not doing English P5 on Wednesday 10th May can come to the library and ask for a ticket for the Presentation, The power of stories.


Yr 9 Avoiding Trouble with Non Pratt

It took a while to finalize dates and events with the new writer on the block, Non Pratt, but so worth it! She came into school on Wednesday after a 5.15am start from Enfield and worked with our Y9 students non stop until the end of school.

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We ran 2 workshops in the morning for selected students, on Character building and Devilish dialogue – and the Library Ladiez think they were our most successful ones to date. Non came well prepared to deliver 1hr 20 minute lessons with pace, humour and plenty of feedback. All students eagerly participated in describing characters from popular culture (from Dora the Explorer to Cat Woman) and reading aloud from their work to collect positive and constructive feedback from Non. The dialogue students worked on creating interesting and insightful words that might have been spoken by Hansel & Gretel – with the help of a Norwegian badger (but that is another story!).

Great fun! The activities were good and got you thinking very easily.      Ben & Rowan

I was expecting someone trying to make an aspect of writing I thought boring, sound fun in a cheesy over-excited manner but Non wasn’t like that at all. She made everything sound interesting, even fairy tales.        Helen

I really enjoyed the workshop! Non made even the simplest things seem exciting. She was hilarious and all the activities were very interesting. The time flew by and I wish it could have been longer.       Amber

We invited some keen readers and writers to a picnic lunch with a couple of English teachers and our Library Link Governor before taking over the 6th form theatre – for Non to present a thought provoking show about Gender stereotypes in popular culture to 150 English students.

Non was very engaging and the issues she talked about were relevant. She used points that were correct and persuasive. she made you think.      Molly

The talk that Non gave was really interesting because I didn’t realise how much women are stereotyped and put into passive roles in films and books. I really enjoyed the talk and it made me think.      Becky

Totally rad.        Anon

The talk made us think about how girls don’t get as much credit/opportunity and Non addressed it to the right audience.    Lucy, Chelsea & James


Find more words and information from Non at https://authorallsorts.wordpress.com/non-pratt/


Thank you Non, for stirring us up for the day. We now have waiting lists for you books!

Y7 space jacked by author, Huw Powell

Local author, Huw Powell came in to visit Y7 today as part of their Library Induction Programme. We kicked off with lunch for 6 lucky students who had asked to meet him:

Daniel said ” I am obsessed with English and meeting him would boost my knowledge.”

Sophia said “I really struggle in writing and get too many ideas! I need help.”

Grace asked “I would like to have lunch with Huw because I might like to be an author one day and maybe he could give me some tips on starting a book.”

We shared our packed lunches and Huw even brought in chocolate biscuits. Everyone, including Governor Mrs Edwards, enjoyed a great chat about books, reading, writing, food and how life in Backwell School is going!

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Then it was time to get all 300 Y7 students seated comfortably in the school theatre for the main event. We will let the students tell you about it:

“Huw Powell was great fun. He was quite talkative and interesting when he read a few passages from this first Space Jackers book and the new one, The lost sword.”

“It was amazing. I never knew he was such a good artist!” Shaz

“I enjoyed the author visit because it wasn’t just him talking, it was interactive and exciting. I will definitely read his book!” Student 7C3

“I enjoyed how he said ‘never give up’ and he’s a good author!” Tim

All in all it was a great event. Many thanks to Huw, everyone who helped out with the logistics of such a large event and the teachers who gave up their lessons to allow their students to meet a real author.

An afternoon in the company of Chris D’Lacey

After a busy week, the Library Ladiez were able to settle down with a group of Y7-8 students and a large contingency of Y5 students from Backwell Juniors, for an afternoon of stories from the author Chris D’Lacey. Chris visited us a few years back to promote his Dragon Chronicles, and this time he was talking about his new trilogy, The Unicorne Files. As always, he told us a lot about his background and how he came to write his stories and then gave us some tantalizing tasters of his new books. Students had plenty of questions when he had finished and he stayed late to sign copies for those who wanted to get reading over the weekend.


We have copies of all books in the library and if you want to find out more about Chris and his work, click on the links below:

Click here for the Dragon Chronicles website

Click here for the Dragon Chronicles website

Click here for The Unicorne Files website

Click here for The Unicorne Files website

David Gatward was here!


Year 9 (all of them) will know what this means. The rest of you will need to read the rest of this post to find out!!

The Library Ladiez have had their eye on David for a while, having heard reports of his entertainment value as well as his enthusiasm for promoting reading and writing. So when we found he had some days free, we booked him up to work with the whole of Y9.

He agreed to 2 talks (so we could have 1/2 the year group in the 6th form theatre at a time during their English lessons) and a writing workshop for 25 students, put forward by their English teachers. Inbetween these we managed a “Literary Lunch” with 4 boys keen to meet David close up, and a few English staff. All in all, a busy but successful day. We will let our pictures speak for themselves, but scroll down to read what the students’ thought of the events – because we wanted to make a good impression upon them. I think we did!

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Chloe said: “David Gatward was a brilliant author to have visit. He instantly got our attention when he told us he wasn’t one of those ordinary authors that just read their books in front of us! He told exciting stories about his life and why he started writing. overall, a great talk.”

Ellie attended the writing workshop and said: “David Gatward was one of the most bombastic and hilarious authors I have ever had the pleasure to meet. His ways of conjuring a story from the depths of his mind are far from the ordinary. However, after he shared them with us I have to admit that they did work extremely well. Through everything he said he weaved in the fact that to be a good writer you have to have the confidence to be able to read your story aloud to others. I think now I have finally grasped that idea! David’s talk later, was far from dreary, especially when he got into his climbing tights from the 1980s, which were so bright they almost made you feel ill!! His talk also inspired me to do a bit more with my life, with some crazy things thrown in, because ordinary is boring!”

Ed said, “David was great! He was funny and told us what he did to get where he is today, which was really interesting”

You can find much more information about David on his website here.

Moira Young – Guest Bloggers.

The Library Ladiez are taking a back seat today as we have three guest-bloggers, Jemma, Ellie and Sienna, who are going to tell you about our event with author Moira Young.

Moira Young, author of The Dustlands trilogy, visited Backwell School today.  Me and some other girls were lucky enough to have lunch with this talented author, before the event.  Moira Young is a unique writer with a style that can capture the reader from the first chapter.  She draws on her own experiences and stories to write the adventures for her characters.  This probably contributes to the fact that her novels are fast-paced and full of action, page after page.  Moira isn’t just a fantastic author, she is an inspirational person.  Before her career as a writer, she was an actress and an opera singer.  Something within her kept telling her that she needed to write a book.  Moira listened to that voice that so many of us ignore.  Pure determination got her to where she is today, a very successful children’s author.  I truly recommend reading Blood Red Road and the rest of the stories; you will not be disappointed!  Jemma Yr 9

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Moira Young was an extraordinary woman to say the least.  I was so lucky to have the chance to meet her, let alone have lunch with her.  She was so charismatic and the story of how she became an author was very interesting.  Moira gave me a completely different view on how writing a story takes place.  For her, the stories were formulated through dreams, ‘messages from the universe’ and her family’s past.  I have tried many times to write stories using meticulous planning and every single one has been unsuccessful.  Moira has inspired me to go about writing in a completely different way and to let it come from me.  Moira Young is such a lovely woman and it was a great pleasure for a huge fan (me) to meet her!  Ellie Yr 9   

Moira was a big inspiration, and her answers to the many questions gave me better ideas on how to write the book I am currently writing.  She answered questions better than any writer that has come to this school.  She writes differently to anyone I’ve ever read.  Very good choice of author Mrs Gibson!  Sienna Yr 9