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Author Piers Torday visits the school

On Wednesday Year 7 and 8 students at our school were treated to a visit by the author Piers Torday, who came to talk about his books The Last Wild, The Dark Wild and The Wild Beyond.  Piers told the students how and why he decided to start writing.  He also explained his concerns on how our world is changing environmentally and how this and his love of reading and writing about animals led him to write this series of books.  Students were able to ask Piers questions regarding his writing and finished the talk by having their books personally signed by the author.

The Anglo European School Library organise yearly author events for students in year 7, 8 and 9 to encourage and enthuse students to read a wide genre of books and to re-establish an excitement in reading for young people.

Email from Piers to Library

Thank you so much for inviting and organising my terrific trip to the Anglo European school yesterday. It was a pleasure to meet you, and I hugely appreciated all the work that had gone in to putting the visit together, ordering books, moving timetables around and so on.

The children were delightful to talk to and I very much enjoyed their responses during the sessions and after. I was also very touched by Lorraine’s welcome and introductions – please do pass on.

And in particular – something that almost never happens – I was honoured that your Head took a few minutes to meet with me and left inspired by her commitment to books, reading and libraries. Good luck with finding that Patron!

Information about the writer – Piers Torday

I was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people, and spent my early years crawling around on the floor of the children’s bookshop that my mum ran.

After school and university I ended up doing plays and comedy shows on the Edinburgh Fringe, and then moved into telly where I helped develop, write and make all sorts of programmes from reality to comedy shows.

I am very lucky to come from a writing background. My grandfather Roger Mortimer was a journalist who wrote hundreds of very funny letters to his children, which you can read in the Dear Lupin trilogy by my relatives, including Dearest Jane, by my mum. These were recently adapted for the West End stage by Michael Simkins, starring James Fox.

After my dad Paul wrote his first book at the age of 59 (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) I felt inspired to have a go myself and went on an Arvon Course at Ted Hughes’ old house in West Yorkshire, where I began to write The Last Wild, my attempt to make sense of how we are changing our environment and the natural world around us.

It was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the UKLA Award, as well as winning Stockton Children’s Book of the Year and Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year. The book has sold all over the world and its sequel, The Dark Wild won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The third and final book in the series, The Wild Beyond came out in 2015 to critical acclaim.

This year I have been a judge on the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and we announce the winner in November.

I am now working on four more books for my publishers Quercus Children’s. One is a new story all by itself, and the next three will be another trilogy – to be revealed…

I am also delighted to announce that I have completed my late father’s final novel, a political thriller called The Death of an Owl (not for children!) which will be published by W&N in April 2016.

In between, I have also been trained as a Reading Helper by the brilliant Beanstalk and am very privileged to be working with them in North London to help challenged young readers enjoy children’s books the way I once did. I am also a Trustee of the Pleasance Theatre, which gave me my first ever break and continues to do the same every year for hundreds of young creative people.

Finally, I am very proud to be Patron of Reading at the inspiring Heathmere Primary School in Wandsworth.

Quotes from Students:

I thought Piers Torday’s visit today was inspiring.  I have now gained a liking for his books and I am looking forward to buying them in the future.  He has also inspired me to write books about animals as well as read them – Jude Ofori-Awuah

I thought it was very exciting and fun when Piers Torday visited us.  My favourite book is The Last Wild, which is the book I am reading now.  It was very inspirational and I liked the idea of his story.  – Alfie Callahan

I found the visit really fun and I enjoyed getting my book signed – Maia Nandris

I think the author has an amazing imagination and really thinks about his stories.  I am also extremely excited to read his next two books – Christian Lee

Mrs Gee said “It was a great pleasure to meet Piers today. This is part of a wider literacy strategy to promote reading for pleasure at Anglo European, organised by our librarian, Lisa Rawlings. Our students welcome authors frequently and have an opportunity to discuss their latest work, the creative writing process and have books signed. Our Year 7 and 8 students were particularly inspired by the way Piers uses his own experience and environmental  concerns, particularly  with  reference to the preservation of endangered species to inspire his fictional writing.”