Author and patron Chris Vick inspires Rossendale students

An author whose novel inspired high school students during confinement is now his Patron of Reading.

Yasmine Choudhry, librarian at Haslingden High School, Haslingden, Rossendale, Lancashire sent out a tweet asking for an author to fill the new role – and tagged her three favorite authors in the post.

She was thrilled when Chris Vick responded because when they used Zoom for lessons, students responded well to an excerpt from his Girl book. Boy. Wed.

Chris was now able to make his first visit, in real time, to the school. He spoke to different age groups and led workshops to inspire and excite students in writing and reading.

He encouraged students to think about how a story is written, what might be the inspiration and how to add color and “discover their voice”.

In response to students’ questions, he explained that he had written 10 to 11 books – some incomplete – and had published five including Girl. Boy. Mer. who was shortlisted for the Carnegie Prize.

Chris said reading a good book inspired him to write and when he started writing it was like disappearing into the world of a good book but multiplied by 10.

Year 7 student Claudia Lord, 12, said: ‘It was really nice to see a real author. A few years ago I tried to write a book, but got sidetracked. I like English and my teacher is really nice. He made me want to write. »

Chris said: “I’m a writer but also an educator, and when I get real buzz, it’s seeing people go from ‘I can’t write’ to ‘Can I write?’ ” so I can’.

“Being able to work in a school in person and not just in an online workshop was great. The young people were engaged, interesting and interested.

Ms Choudhry is also planning a literary festival at the school in June.

She said: “Writers come in all shapes and sizes and writing can be a great form of therapy. It’s great that something so positive has come out of Covid and it’s been so good to get back to normality and be able to invite Chris into school and engage the students in creativity.

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