Friday, 31 March 2017

TRS interview with best-selling author Joe Craig

On the 22nd March, the very funny and TRS favourite, Joe Craig visited the school to perform and inspire our Years 7 and 8!  At the end of the day, Joe kindly agreed to be interviewed by one of our Year 10 students, Ben McGowan.  An edited version of the interview, which was written for the school newspaper, appears below: 

You've visited hundreds of schools, do you ever get bored?
A: Not really, I try to limit myself to twenty schools a year and I always try my best to make each event different and exciting.

What do you want people to get out of your books - what do you want them to feel?
A:  Utter paranoia. I want them to trust no one. It's not being pessimistic either it's just realistic.

Have you ever based a character on someone in real life?
A: I don't believe so. I've based some character’s relationships on close relationships in my life, such as my wife and her brother and the relationships I had with my friends as a child.

You often write from the perspective of a teenager or a young person do you ever feel like perhaps you’re slightly off in how you portray them, you’re obviously not a teenager yourself?
A: I try not to reflect today's young people because I'm not confident I could. I mostly reflect upon my own childhood, which is why the universe of my books is set slightly behind us in terms of technology.

What's it like working with a publisher such as Harper Collins, do you have a lot of freedom?
A: Well, I have relatively large amounts of freedom and good editors and as time has gone on they've allowed me even more freedom. There's probably only one thing they've ever made me do that I regret putting in.

Have you ever decided to just scrap a large piece of work?
A: Yes a few times, my second book was technically the third book I wrote. There was another version which I scrapped entirely to start all over again.

Do you have any sort of routine for writing or a favourite place to write in?
A: My study mostly, sometimes I'll go to the cafe. I normally use either notebooks or some sort of portable typing device

Who are your three biggest influences in literature?
A: It's tough to narrow it down to three, but my top four would be Robert Ludlum, Lawrence Block, Vladimir Nabokov and Paul Auster.

What are your memories of GCSE English?
A: I mean, considering our setting, I'm not sure if I should really say, but I didn't really read any of the books apart from Macbeth and I just somehow managed to bluff my way to some good grades.

So you chose to turn down a job at an oil company in favour of a life in the creative arts and literature, why was this? 
A: Partly due to practicalities such as location but also I just wanted to pursue music further.

Have you made a lot of sacrifices and taken lots of risks to be a full time writer?
A: I think with any creative job it's always a lot more unstable than other jobs. I've tried my best to do things to make it more stable but there are always risks. There are also lots of benefits though - I'm much more flexible with work hours and at the end the joy of it all beats everything else!

You are also a musician, what's that like and does it influence your literature or vice versa?A: Well, my creative thought process is quite similar but obviously a book takes a lot more time to write than a song.  However, music has taught me the difference between intellect and instinct.

You've done some work in the movie industry too, would you ever consider making a movie adaptation of one of your books?
A: Absolutely! I'd love to make a Jimmy Coates movie and there are also films I've made that I'd like to adapt into books. I always found movies more accessible from a younger age, therefore movies probably influence my writing more than other books. I've watched many more movies than I've read books and even when I didn't read a lot of books I was always watching movies.

If you would like to read the Jimmy Coates series by Joe Craig, all seven books are available to borrow from the Discovery Library.  The release date for the final book in the series, Genesis, is yet to be confirmed, but is one our wish list.  Watch this space! 

Waterstones Children's Book Awards 2017 - winner announced

Debut novel, The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave has won this year's Waterstones Children's Book prize.  Inspired by Philip Pulman's The Firework-Makers Daughter and childhood visits to the Canary Islands, this novel is a magical and mythical tale of adventure about a map maker's daughter who sets out to rescue her best friend from a forbidden forest using her fathers maps and her knowledge of myths.

An interesting blog post on the Guardian books website, highlights other empowering female characters in children's books, including Katherine Rundell's Wolf Wilder.  The Girl of Ink & Stars and Wolf Wilder are both available to borrow from the Discovery Library.  For more suggestions on what to read have a look at the new books section of the Library blog.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Waterstones YA Book Club in Bromley run a YA  on the last Thursday of every month.  If you enjoy chatting about books why not drop in? Drinks and snacks are provided too! Details here.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Joe Craig is coming to TRS

We are delighted to announce that the wonderful Joe Craig, author of the thrilling action adventure Jimmy Coates series, will be visiting TRS on Wednesday 22nd March!  Joe will be working with our Year 7 and 8 students and signing copies of his books, which will be available to buy on the day for the special price of £6.

To find out more about Joe Craig visit his web page or read his blog.

Friday, 17 March 2017

CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2017 Announced

CILIP’s Carnegie Medal is awarded each year for an outstanding book for children and young people.  

This year's shortlisted books are:

The themes of this year’s shortlisted novels include identity, friendship, love and survival.  Previous medal winning authors on the list are Frank Cottrell Boyce, Philip Reeve, Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff.  Beck by Mal Peet, his incomplete last novel, has been finished by Meg Rosoff, and is a coming-of-age story about a mixed race boy transported to North America in the 18th Century. 

To find out more about the books and their authors, go to the Carnegie Shortlist web page and click on the book that you are interested in reading.  Some of the shortlisted books are available to borrow now from the War Memorial and Discovery Libraries, the rest are on order.

We are very excited to announce, in collaboration with the English Department, that a group of students from TRS will be taking part in the Carnegie Shadowing scheme for the first time this year.  Shadowing Group meetings will be held in the War Memorial Library on a weekly basis.

Watch this space for more news!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Print Express Children's Short Story Competition

This is another chance to use your creative writing skills and imagination!  Open to students aged 13 and under, you simply need to write an original story of no more than 500 words about anything you like.

The winner will receive £50 in book tokens, and £175 in book tokens for their school. 

The closing date for entries is 31st March 2017, so you haven’t got long!  Stories can be entered by a parent, teacher or guardian and must be emailed (in the body of the email – not as an attachment) to  Your name, age and town or city must be included in the email.

For more information and how to enter click here.

Match the Teacher to the Book - winner announced

A big congratulations to Tukez in Year 7, who was the only entrant to correctly identify the teacher with their book in our ‘Match the Teacher to the Book’ competition! The correct answers were:

Tukez was awarded her prize by Ms Roberts at the Year 7 assembly yesterday.

Well done to everyone who entered, you have been awarded an achievement point for taking part.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Blue Peter Book Awards 2017 - Winners Announced

The Blue Peter Book Awards, sponsored by The Book Trust, celebrate children's books published in the last two years.

Announced live on Blue Peter on World Book Day, the winner for best story went to Kieran Larwood for The Legend of Podkin One-EarAmong the runners up was Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford.

Winner for best book with facts went to David Long for Survivors: Extraordinary Tales from the Wilds and Beyond.
The winning books are on our wish list and Time Travelling with a Hamster is available to borrow from the Discovery Library now!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

World Book Day 2017 - Staff Dress Up

This World Book Day at TRS is proving to be a great success thanks to the active engagement of students and the participation of staff, who look fabulous in their departmental costumes!  

We have already Dropped Everything and Read, World Book Day vouchers have been distributed and the Library competitions and banned book Library lessons are proving popular!
The Librarians as Dumas' Three Musketeers
Performing Arts Department as famous literary characters 
Social Sciences Department as Heroes and Villains
English Department as characters from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Art Department as characters from The Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum
History Department as The Magnificent Seven, screenplay by William Roberts