Alan Gibbons Visit - November 2016
On 29th November, Blue Peter award-winning author Alan Gibbons came to our school - what a treat! We started the day with a lucky few of us meeting Alan in the library before Form and he told us about his amazing life as a full-time author: he had travelled across the globe, visiting 63 countries where he did charity work and visited schools.
We walked to Form and after waiting on the edge of our seats to leave for the hall we were finally allowed to go. Crowds of Year 7s were filing into the hall, excited to be meeting Alan for the first time! We started by talking about Alan’s origins and inspiration in his early life. He said that the most important inspiration in your life is yourself. Instead of boring us with a long monologue, he sprinkled his visit with funny jokes and snippets of songs that made everyone laugh, however, when speaking about the serious reasons behind his writing, he impressed upon us the sad truths of terrorism, islamophobia and racism.
On a happier note, we spent the second half of the first session asking Alan the questions we had been preparing for weeks! As the whole of Year 7 had read one book (or more) by Alan, we were all ready and by the end of the Q & A we felt so comfortable in his company we even had some questions like ‘What is your favourite biscuit?’. Chocolate hob-nobs - makes me hungry just thinking about it!
We found out that Alan’s favourite personal work is The Edge, one of the books I had read prior to the event; I found it very moving and realistic! His favourite overall book is Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. He has 4 kids, one is a teacher, another a screenwriter and writer who helped choose the clips for You’ve Been Framed.
At break, a crowd filled the Library, wanting to buy a book by Alan. I luckily got the book I wanted, his newest book - The Trap. A book about a doctor who goes to Syria thinking he will save innocent lives but ends up working for the IS; when he escapes, he is recruited by M15 to find information that may help them. I got it signed and by the time most people had bought a book and had it signed it was time for the next half of our session.
When we were all back in the hall, we were greeted by a picture of the Villa Diodata - one of the most important buildings in British horror. It was where Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Vampyre by John William Polidor were written, the latter being the inspiration for the most famous vampire—Dracula. Alan captivated us with the story of the origins of Dracula, which led to our task - writing the end to his work in progress, a vampire book.
With his helpful guidance, the whole of Year 7 wrote their own ending to the horror/adventure story to be proud of! And with the end of the writing, we sadly neared the end of Alan’s visit.
At lunch, he was sitting in the library, surrounded by a group of students sharing their aspirations for a writing career, hoping to impress him!
When he left, we were all sad—but also ready to write with his advice still ringing in our ears!
By Izzy F (7-S04)
Everyone from Year 7 excitedly packed into the hall for a day of activities and information from the best-selling author, Alan Gibbons. We started the day with Alan informing us about his life and his books. He told us that he had written 63 books, been to 63 countries and was 63 years old! He then talked about where he got his inspiration for his books and characters. Interestingly, he told us the real life stories behind some of his books, including one which was inspired by a news story about gangsters in Manchester and another about his experiences of travelling to the Middle East. Later, we moved on to asking him some questions. We all had lots of questions - everyone was eager to learn about him and his books. After a break, where we could talk to Alan and get him to sign one of his books, we returned to the Hall. We were given a picture and we had to write a story, with Alan’s guidance. It was about a hero whose parents had been killed by vampires and now he or she was going to Dracula’s castle for revenge. We wrote the final chapter in his newest book and we can’t wait to read it! Alan Gibbon’s visit was very inspiring and we hope to see him again.
Belle C (7-S05) and Hannah W (7-D04)