Newham Word Fest runs from Monday 6th November to Sunday 19th November. The fortnight-long festival will see poets, authors and illustrators take part in sessions, conversations and shows throughout the borough.
We were very fortunate enough to be invited to attend one of the opening events of the festival at Manor Park Library on Monday 6th November. 60 Year 9 students joined authors Sally Nicholls and Catherine Barter to discuss their inspiration for writing, approaches to the writing process, character and plot development strategies and the relevance of activism today. Sally Nicholls’ ‘Things A Bright Girl Can Do’ is based in the East End of London and follows the lives of three young girls as they experience the suffrage movement first-hand. ‘Troublemakers’ by Catherine Barter was announced as being on the CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist for 2018 just before we heard Catherine speak. The book is also set in the East End of London and follows Alena as she navigates her past and tries to build a future.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed listening to both authors, clearly shown in the photo of Safa Abufazal, Minaal Meer and Zaynab Ahmed with Catherine and Sally.
On Wednesday 8th November, 90 Year 8 students visited The Gate, Forest Gate’s Library to meet Award winning author, Frances Hardinge. Frances spoke about her three most recent books, ‘Cuckoo Song’, ‘The Lie Tree’ and ‘A Skinful of Shadows’ and her love of reading. She answered questions honestly, explored her inspirations for writing and even read us extracts from several of her books. Year 8, particularly 8L, were enthralled with the discussions about ‘The Lie Tree’ as they had read it as part of their English learning in Year 7.
Once Frances had answered all of Year 8’s questions, she then signed copies of her different titles and chatted to our students. Jathavi Thayalapavan was one of the last students to get her book signed and this photograph gives you an insight into just how appreciative our girls were of Frances’ time.