Watch: Children’s author Frances Hardinge gives Mayville High School pupils tips on writing

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AN AWARD-WINNING author has given pupils a ‘magic’ start to their school’s annual book week.

Frances Hardinge, 42, visited Mayville High School in Southsea to talk about being an author and lead a creative writing workshop.

Frances Hardinge holds a writing workshop with pupils during a visit to Mayville School in Southsea

Frances Hardinge holds a writing workshop with pupils during a visit to Mayville School in Southsea

From London, Ms Hardinge has written seven novels including The Lie Tree, which won the Costa Book Award for 2015.

She said: ‘The pupils have been brilliant. It’s been a lot of fun.’

The school’s head of English, Lauren Jones, said Mayville’s book week had the theme ‘magic’ this year.

Ms Jones said: ‘It’s a great honour to have Frances Hardinge here.

Frances Hardinge

Write as much as you can

‘She has been telling the students about her books, how she writes and what inspires her, and what they can do if they want to get into writing themselves.’

Pupil Tabitha John, 13, said she enjoyed brainstorming for story ideas at the workshop.

She said: ‘It’s really easy to come up with stories if you put those ideas down.

‘We came up with lots of weird ideas. You can express yourself through writing, and it’s a way of relaxing.’

Tabitha said her favourite genre was fantasy fiction.

Fellow pupil Alex Evans, 12, also said he loved writing fiction.

He said: ‘The workshop taught us a lot about how to find settings and how to come up with ideas.

‘I really like writing. At school we study books and do writing around those books.

‘For example, we did Boy by Roald Dahl. We wrote a letter home, like he wrote a letter home to his mum when he was in boarding school.’

Ms Hardinge said youngsters who wanted to become authors needed to be hard-working, creative and stubborn.

She said: ‘Write as much as you can. Nothing is wasted, it’s all good experience.

‘Listen to feedback when you can get it and never be afraid to send things off.’

The Lie Tree is the first children’s book to win the Costa Book Award since Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass in 2001.