Learning about the writer’s craft

Award-winning children’s author Candy Gourlay gave QE boys valuable and inspiring tips on how to improve their own writing when she visited the School.

Ms Gourlay delivered a session entitled The Hero’s Journey to Year 7 and 8 pupils in a visit arranged by English teacher Panayiota Menelaou.

During the hour-long talk in the Main Hall, she gave the boys an overview of what a story needs to be successful and then linked this to her own life and her desire to become a writer.

""‘It was refreshing to hear an author’s journey to success and it showed our students that they have to be hard-working and determined if they wish to succeed,” said Mrs Menelaou. “Candy’s talk was inspirational and gave students an array of ideas about how they could improve their creative writing.”

“It was a very productive presentation, especially for the Year 7 students, whose recent work has involved writing their own scripts in preparation for acting them out.”

Ms Gourlay is a Filipino author based in the UK, whose 2010 debut novel, Tall Story, won the National Children's Book Award of the Philippines in 2012 and the Crystal Kite Award for Europe in 2011. Her second novel, Shine, published in 2013, won the Crystal Kite Award for the British Isles and Ireland in 2014 and was longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

""The students not only enjoyed asking questions, but many also took up the opportunity to buy signed copies of Tall Story and Shine.

“Some students told me one thing they really liked hearing about was that despite Candy Gourlay being rejected several times, her determination to continue writing and improve her craft was motivating and made them realise that it does take time to learn to write and craft a good story,” said Mrs Menelaou.

“It was an excellent opportunity for boys to learn more about different genres and types of writing, both of which are aspects of literature that they are exploring in their English lessons.”