HALF-drowned asylum seekers, Class A drug dealing and bullies are just some of the themes that had students hanging off every word of edgy teen writer Miriam Halahmy.
Hayling College was an apt setting for the author’s free visit – donated in support of The News’ literacy campaign Read All About It – who has based her popular cycle of books Hidden and Illegal on the island.
The personal touch was not lost on students, many of whom already count themselves as members of the Halahmy fan club, and are looking forward to the release of Stuffed – her third book in the series.
Phoebe Ridgeway, 13, has read Hidden which she described as ‘gripping’.
She said: ‘I love Miriam’s books and it’s been a real honour to meet her in person – she’s very inspiring and I felt quite in awe of her today.
‘I’ve often had an urge to write and after hearing Miriam talk about her career I feel I want to give it a go.’
She added: ‘I read every day.
‘The thing that draws me to books is the characters, which I can get quite attached to.’
Aisling Copeland, 13, can’t wait for Stuffed to come out.
She said: ‘Her books get better and better – there’s never a moment when you’re bored.
‘The fact that they’re set on the island makes them even more personal.
‘When I read Miriam’s books I get lost in them so easily because the places she refers to are places I’ve seen in real life.’
Mrs Halahmy, a teacher for 25 years, is a big supporter of our campaign to inspire children to read.
She said: ‘I read books and out of that my own writing grew.
‘To be able to feed that back and get kids reading is fantastic.’
Students give our books thumbs-up
STUDENTS at Hayling College are looking forward to our exciting 15-book series of brightly illustrated abridged versions of classics by Dickens, Conan Doyle and HG Wells.
The first of these – A Tale of Two Cities – will be given away for FREE with The News this Saturday.
Joshua Boniface, 11, who enjoyed a special preview, said: ‘I’ve never read Dickens but I really like this – it’s not too long or complicated, it reads well, and there are lots of great pictures that bring the story to life.
‘I’ll admit the idea of reading one of his novels is daunting. But once I’ve read these versions I know I’ll be curious to tackle the originals.’
The News has the whole series in stock and after the free copy the books will be available each week with the paper for £2.99.