Authors inspire Steyning students

Students Cameron Lewis, Dylon Reed, Jack Packham, Kaii Scadding Hunt, Lily Wells, Kimberley Lainsbury with teachers and author Ruth Eastham SUS-150906-151203001
Students Cameron Lewis, Dylon Reed, Jack Packham, Kaii Scadding Hunt, Lily Wells, Kimberley Lainsbury with teachers and author Ruth Eastham SUS-150906-151203001

On Monday 1st June, Steyning Grammar school was host to a visiting author Alan Gibbons; this visit is part of the ‘inaugural’ Steyning Grammar School ‘Brilliant Book Awards’.

Alan came to talk to a group of Year 9 and Year 10 students about his nominated book ‘Hate’.

He has been writing books for over twenty years and has won many other book awards, including the Blue Peter Book Award in 2000 for his book ‘Shadow of the Minotaur’.

Students were enthralled with Alan’s entertaining account of what has inspired him to write some of his sometimes hard hitting and very thought provoking stories.

Gibbons said that Hate was written after he heard of a true story in which a young lady was killed for what she chose to wear. Gibbons also said that he was aware of domestic abuse occurring near his childhood home, which was one of reasons why he wrote The Edge.

The aim of the Brilliant Book Awards is to encourage as many students, staff and members of the community to read books they wouldn’t normally read and to celebrate the value of reading for pleasure.

This event is being run in association with Steyning Book Shop, the school Learning Resource Centre staff and students who have nominated book short lists for Year 6 students of Steyning Primary School, Year 7-8 students, Year 9-11 students and there is also short list for Sixth Form student, staff and the local community to read.

In the run up to the Brilliant Book Awards ceremony being held at the school on Fri 26th June, a number of other nominated authors will also be visiting.

On Wednesday 3rd June author Ruth Eastham came to talk to Year 7 students about her short listed book ‘Arrowhead’, illustrating to students the inspiration for her stories. In a few weeks time Virginia Bergin is coming to talk about her nominated book ‘Rain’.

As part of the awards ceremony the school are very lucky to have Matt Whyman author of ‘The Savages’, Ben Davis author of ‘The Private Blog of Joe Cowley’ and Tom Moorhouse author of ‘The River Singers’ attending in what promises to be an exciting literary event.

School Librarian Donna Moore said: “ The Brilliant Book Award has enabled us to present students with a choice of books to read for a specific purpose, and it has been great to have so many of the authors coming to talk to students about their books and inspiration for writing them.

“Reading for pleasure should not be a chore and it has shown students that reading books, they wouldn’t normally choose, can be made even more exciting when they meet the author who wrote the book they have just finished reading!”

Literacy Leader, Cheryse Rahaman, commented: “This is a very exciting time for us at Steyning Grammar School. We have been very lucky to host so many author events during this term.

“The talks have been inspiring, entertaining and thought provoking. The zest that the students have experienced by being in front of passionate people has definitely been influential.

“Lots of our students are curious as to how they get their own creative writing published as well as asking thought provoking questions such as ‘How do we make the world a better place?’ We have so much talent here – the students have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. We look forward to the Brilliant Book Awards evening.”

If you are interested in taking part in the Brilliant Book Awards then please contact Mr Muir in the Steyning Grammar School Shooting field reception on 01903 814555 or email

Report nad pictures contributed by Steyning Grammar School.