Pupils elated by Alan’s stories

Emily Fisher (Form 4) from Berwick meest award winning author Alan Gibbons during his visit to Longridge Towers

Emily Fisher (Form 4) from Berwick meest award winning author Alan Gibbons during his visit to Longridge Towers

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Award-winning children’s author, Alan Gibbons, returned to Berwick for a series of inspirational workshops with pupils from Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 at Longridge Towers.

Alan first visited Longridge in 2010 and was invited to return as part of our an on-going reading for pleasure programme, which is promoted throughout the school.

In preparation pupils undertook a number of projects which included inventing their own villainous character, writing the introduction to a thriller and using one of Alan’s books to write a poem.

Alan started writing short stories for his pupils while working as a teacher in Liverpool and has won a number of awards including the Blue Peter Book Award in which he competed against fellow writers Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson.

He has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal twice.

Alan is well known for his ‘Campaign for the book’ programme which protests against library closures and advocates the benefits of reading, particularly for children.

Paired with pupils from Belhaven Middle School, Berwick Middle School and St Mary’s Middle School, Belford, children were entertained by Alan’s anecdotes from his teaching days and his experiences growing up in Crewe. His invaluable advice on reading for pleasure, using language as a tool and his creative workshops had a visibly positively effect on the pupils.

Before long they were hiding from zombies, meeting Countess Dracula and encountering the ghost of Longridge Towers!

On a more serious note pupils were given the chance to question Alan about his most recent title, ‘Hate’, which was inspired by the tragic murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007.

A hard-hitting thriller, ‘Hate’ explores a family’s grief, friendship, loss and forgiveness: .

Eilidh Johnson and Siobhan Bankier from Longridge’s Form 3 were chosen to interview Alan as part of the day’s activities.

They asked various questions which ranged from his views on the possibility of Scottish Independence to his previous work in promoting literacy in places like Africa and China.

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