I visited two very impressive schools in London yesterday, Our Lady's Convent School and the Clapton Girls' Academy, both in Hackney. Thanks to Booklinks and the Pop-Up Festival for allowing me to take part. It was a pleasure to meet such enthusiastic and insightful students and to witness the work that dedicated teachers and librarians do in schools every day--not just during World Book Week!
What makes the Booklinks event extra-special special to writers as well as students, is that the students read a visiting writer's book and create their own work based on what they've read.
This experience--of talking to large groups of girls who'd actually read At Yellow Lake and had questions for me based on their reading experience--was so exciting! I feel like I learned as much, if not more, than the students--their brilliant responses and comments helped me focus on my writing in a way that I'd never done before. Working with real readers, especially readers as active and engaged as the ones I had the privilege to meet, is an experience every writer dreams of. I consider myself lucky to have had the chance!