Multiple-time New York Times Best-seller List Author and Eagle Award winning writer Tony Lee visited the school on Wednesday 17th September. Year 8 & 9 pupils participated in one of his ‘Change the Channel’ sessions, where he encourages reluctant readers not to give up on books. He explained to them that reading can be like watching television; if you don’t like a programme you can change the channel and this can apply to books as well. If you are unhappy with the type of book you read, there are many other subjects to choose from.
Tony also spoke to pupils about how he became better at writing exciting stories. He demonstrated this by involving students in a lively re-telling of a ‘cliff hanger’ moment from Robin Hood by asking them ‘why did this happen? By using their story suggestions he created a new and zany narrative from the beginning of the scene.
Two smaller groups of students were given the unique opportunity to take part in a workshop with Tony which showed them stories work better when the character/s are normal people like themselves.
The group were given a simple scenario – they were the only ones left in the school and there were five Vampires outside. What do they do? The workshop builds upon their own decisions, real world ones made to this fantastical threat. Where do they find weapons, and will they affect the Vampires? Do they want to fight or hide – or worse still be a Vampire? If it’s the latter, would they betray their friends to do this?
As the workshop continues, each student takes a role depending on their own involvement. Some may lead. Some may betray and destroy. But the story is based in realism, and shows the students that, when placing a character in a story, to put yourself in their shoes is sometimes the best thing one can do.
Tony has written for TV, film and radio, as well as a variety of comics including Marvel, DC Comics and IDW Publishing. Such titles as Spider Man, Star Trek, X-Men, Dr. Who and Wallace & Gromit are amongst his credits.
Library manager Andrew Dace said, ‘Our pupils had a wonderful time with Tony, who is a fantastic story teller and very inspirational. Many were thrilled by his visit and participated with real enthusiasm, both in his talk and the workshops. Hopefully he has inspired them to invest their time in reading and to realise writing can be fun’.[widgetkit id=2745]