The LVS Ascot Autumn Literary Festival provided a memorable day out for students earlier this month when they met author Michael Morpurgo. The trip to see Michael, who wrote hit children’s novel War Horse, was one of a series of innovative sessions planned by the leading independent all-ability school during their Festival to allow pupils to meet a range of authors, find out the secrets of their success and further ignite their own interest in books.
The Festival inspired senior school pupils and sixth formers to be passionate and enthusiastic about literature via a range of activities, beginning with a Year 7 trip to the Henley Literary Festival. 75 pupils made the trip to the Christchurch Centre in Henley to be captivated by Michael Morpurgo’s tales. He said he was a “stealer of stories”, collecting stories people told him, often true ones, and wove them into his stories which are so popular with children and adults alike. He encouraged LVS Ascot’s pupils to try that for themselves to further their writing skills, and then posed for pictures with the delighted group of starstruck fans.
A special visit to LVS Ascot by author and spoken word artist Steven Camden during the Festival saw him pack out the school’s 300-seat theatre to discuss his writing, demonstrate rhyming style and encourage students to try it for themselves. Steven has performed at Glastonbury and the Roundhouse, developing a reputation as a storyteller for the 21st century, and published two novels (Tape and It’s About Love) which look at the world through the eyes of teenagers. He posed with pupils and answered their questions on how best to get more involved with writing and get a book published, before a lucky Year 9 English class enjoyed an interactive workshop with him. Their teacher Mrs Westwood said: “Steven Camden blasted into the classroom with his quick rhymes, sharp sentences, ideas and creativity which our pupils thrived on. They will never be afraid of a blank page again!”
Other activities that made up the LVS Ascot Autumn Literary Festival included pupils from the school’s Very Important Readers group attending the launch of the 2016 Berkshire Book Award in Bracknell, allowing them to meet author Laura Jarratt whose novel Louder Than Words was shortlisted for the 2015 award. The award enables young people to both nominate the titles and select the winner and is another opportunity used by LVS Ascot to make literature engaging and encourage pupils to become lifelong readers.