Celebrated author taps into students creative minds

Celebrated author taps into students creative minds

23th July 2014


AN award-winning novelist, who beat J K Rowling to a coveted Blue Peter Book prize, has been encouraging pupils in North Yorkshire to get writing.

Leading children's author and former teacher Alan Gibbons spent the day with students at The Allertonshire School, Northallerton, in a literary workshop to help tap into their creative imaginations and inspire English skills.

Published in 1999, Alan’s first book Shadow of the Minotaur won the Blue Peter Book Award 2000 for 'The Book I Couldn't Put Down' taking the prized title over fellow authors J K Rowling, Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson.

Alan has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2001 and 2003 and twice for the Booktrust Teenage Prize.

“I was inspired to become a writer by my own love of reading,” said Alan.

“I loved Marvel comics and fantasy and legend novels like Robert Louis Stephenson’s Treasure Island and the Boy’s Own Adventure stories.

“Now it’s great to be able to inspire other young minds by helping them to step outside of the normal English curriculum, let them hear a different voice, free their imaginations and deconstruct the writing process to help them build and create their own stories.”

Alongside working with Year 8 students the celebrated author also entertained pupils and staff in a whole school assembly with anecdotes about his own education, experiences as a teacher and real life issues that encouraged him to start writing.

Learning resource centre manager Christine Brayshaw said: “We have had a number of authors come into school and each of them have said how their own lives and life events have inspired them in their work.

“This makes our students realise that they too can use their own experiences to inspire them in their creative writing.

“Alan has been working with the pupils, to help them write their own stories, based on the themes of ghosts, horror and fantasy, showing them how to break down each part and use descriptive language and their own imaginations.”

Head of English Rachel Mills added: “It’s really inspiring for students to have the writing process unpicked for them and then built up in such a level of detail.

“It provides a great scaffolding for them to achieve a really good piece of writing and they have all constructed a story in less than an hour with Alan’s help. They have also been extremely motivated and had great fun.”

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