Author’s visit a success

Children's author Alan Gibbons at Crookhorn College of Technology
Children's author Alan Gibbons at Crookhorn College of Technology
Craig Jenkins and his son Graham at HMS Sultan  Picture: PO Phot Nicola Harper

Families enjoy quality time at HMS Sultan fun day

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An award-winning children’s author had students in stitches when he gave an amusing insight into his career on a visit to a school in Waterlooville.

Alan Gibbons, who won a Blue Peter book award for Shadow of the Minotaur in 2000, was a big hit with youngsters at Crookhorn College of Technology.

The former teacher has penned more than 50 books in his 17-year career.

He launched the day with a hilarious talk to year seven students about his career, peppering it with anecdotes, jokes and classic one-liners.

Next he led workshops for year nine students, which involved setting a creative writing challenge based on a plot that weaved in a car crash, an avalanche, a riot and a gothic setting in a castle.

Leoni Archdale, 13, says: ‘The writing workshop was a nice experience on how to create a good structured story.

‘Creative writing is not my kind of thing but the way Alan taught us how to make it descriptive, made it more interesting to write more about it and gets you thinking what should happen next.’

Louise Jordan, 13, says: ‘It was a really good experience.

‘Alan was really funny and the workshop was a brand new experience for me and made me think of creative writing in a whole new way.’

Owen Visser, 13, adds: ‘Meeting Alan Gibbons was great fun and it was a privilege to write stories with him.

‘He was also very funny and had lots of stories about his life.’

Anna Wood, library manager, said author visits were important to show students how reading can enrich their lives.

She says: ‘We try at Crookhorn to encourage our students to read for enjoyment.

‘They cannot fail to be drawn in by an author’s enthusiasm for his craft.

‘It is such a privilege to meet the human face of a successful writer and I think the students will have a lasting memory.’

Steve Mander, deputy head of the English department, adds: ‘The writing our students were producing in the workshops would get an A* at GCSE.

‘Our students work so hard in English, it was fantastic to be able to reward them with an experience like this.’