Thursday 29 January saw the latest instalment in our ‘Meet the Author’ series, as we welcomed award-winning author Alan Gibbons, who gave a very fun talk to the whole of Year 9, as well as selected Year 8 boys. Alan is an award-winning author, who received the Blue Peter Book Award (for ‘Book I Couldn’t Put Down’) in 2000. His novel ‘The Shadow of the Minotaur’ beat out established authors such as Michael Morpurgo (‘War Horse’), Jacqueline Wilson (‘Tracy Beaker’) and J.K. Rowling (‘Harry Potter’). His talk demonstrated his charismatic personality and sheer stage presence, as he regaled the students with many light-hearted elements such as impressions, jokes and songs. These elements went down very well with the boys, who were thoroughly engaged throughout.
Alan has written sixty-one books in total, with the first, ‘Pig’, published in 1990. One of Alan’s key ideas during the talk was the discovery that language is incredibly important: that being able to listen well, speak well, and read well, are the key to having a successful career, no matter what the field. He sees books as a great way to discuss key issues, giving the example of ‘An Act of Love’, which centres around the roots of extremism. Other important topics discussed in his novels include concepts of good and evil, as well as human solidary and spirit. Ultimately, the talk demonstrated Alan’s sheer love for the craft of writing, and his enthusiasm absolutely rubbed off on the students.
The students particularly enjoyed Alan reminiscing about his past, as Alan had many comedic stories to tell about his time in school. He outlined a theory that there were three ‘types’ of teacher, which left the students roaring with laughter. It was Alan’s time as a primary school teacher that ultimately led to his choice to write professionally, as he learnt the power that storytelling held over the small children.
After his talk, Alan conducted a question and answer session with the students, who asked some very insightful questions. Alan then signed books and posed for photos with the delighted students. Many thanks to Alan for giving up his time to come and talk to us, and to Ms Squires for organising this wonderful event.