QE’s favourite writer inspires boys on visit to the School

The most borrowed author in The Queen’s Library answered questions and gave free books to more than 400 boys during his eagerly awaited visit to the School.

Robert Muchamore delivered a talk to the whole of Years 7 and 8 and to 30 competition winners from Years 9–11, and then signed copies of the free book – the first in his Rock War series – which was given to everyone who attended.

Librarian Ciara Murray said: “We are really grateful to Robert for giving up his time for free to come and speak to the boys. The boys gained a lot from meeting one of their favourite authors, they were thrilled to receive the free book and they asked some great questions. It was an inspirational event, and we were very lucky to have him.”

""Mr Muchamore is most famous for his CHERUB series about teenage spies. (CHERUB stands for Charles Henderson Espionage Research Unit B – a fictional British Government security agency employing children and adolescents.) Since his first book, The Recruit, was published in 2004, the series has sold more than 8 million copies. His books have been singled out for praise for encouraging reading among non-readers, and The Recruit has won eight awards. His latest book, Gone Wild is the third in the Rock War series about three groups of teenagers competing in an X Factor-style rock music competition.

His writing is known for its realism: he researches and covers topics such as human-trafficking, violence against women and prostitution. When asked about this, he has explained that he feels such issues are important and that it is important not to patronise young readers – especially clever ones! He has also been praised for his strong female characters – whilst the books were originally written for boys, there is a 60/40 balance between male/female readers.

""His visit to QE featured a 45-minute interview about his life and work, during which he covered topics such as where he gets his inspiration for his plots, how lucky he feels to be earning money from something he really likes doing, what made him decide to branch into writing about a music competition, and whether he’d like to see films of the CHERUB series made.

In the 25-minute question-and-answer session with the boys afterwards, he happily responded to the boys’ questions:

Q. “Who’s your favourite author (apart from yourself)?”
A. “Joseph Heller, Catch 22; John Le Carré.”

Q. “What advice would you give people who want to write?”
A. “Try something outside of your comfort zone; you don’t know what you might be good at.”

Q. “Who inspired James Adams [the main character in the first CHERUB series?”
A. Robert explained that he was a “geeky kid” at school who was poor at sports and could never get a girlfriend, and admitted that James Adams was a kind of fantasy version of himself – cool, smart, athletic and confident.

""Q. “If you could have a million pounds or write your CHERUB books, which would it be?”
A. “Well, as I’ve made more than a million writing them, it would have to be the latter!”

The competition winners attending had successfully answered a quiz showing their knowledge of CHERUB. There were more than 100 entries. As a tie-breaker, they had to say why they enjoyed Robert Muchamore’s books. The comments given included:

  • “An inspirational writer that brought me back to the world of literature”
  • “The world seemed so much livelier when I was reading [his] books”
  • “I can always rely on his books for entertainment or to lift my spirits”
  • “An inspiration to all kids.”