The Children’s Laureate, author Malorie Blackman, visited the school on Friday 6 June.
Invited students attended a presentation by Malorie in the school’s Learning Zone. The writer, whose latest book is ‘Noble Conflict’, told how her teachers and father told her she could not be an English teacher because of her background and colour.
She told her audience: “I always had my nose in a book as a child. I had many non-fiction books, but my father told me fiction was a waste of time as it was not true and that I needed to live in the real world. At the age of 14, I got a Saturday job and was able to buy my own books, but I could never find any books featuring a black child, like me.”
Malorie, whose books have been turned into TV series, told how she had 82 rejection letters before her first book – Not So Stupid – was published, inspiring children to keep pushing for their dream. She also advised aspiring writers to write biographies of their main characters before starting on a book, to write down all of their ideas for future reference and to write from the heart.
She said: “We have imaginations for a reason so write about what you care about. If you care about it, it will shine through when you are reading it. Write the stuff that makes you scared or angry or makes you laugh. Keep a diary for a while, too. My parents split up when I was a teenager and I put all of my anger and angst into a diary. That got me in the habit of writing about thoughts and feelings.”
“But, the best piece of advice is, just don’t give up.”