I was invited to visit Unity Academy in Middlesbrough to speak with and inspire the pupils there.
All the children I spoke to were lovely and a credit to their teachers.
The young people were a delight. They asked thoughtful and insightful questions and seemed really interested in my talk. There were a number of them who were actively writing, some were just 12 and I found that really encouraging. One young writer told me of the support given by parents and I know from personal experience that parental support is vital. I was, however, saddened when I found out that the writer’s friends, when they read it were dismissive of the effort. I was discouraged many times, not as a child but as an adult and I really empathised. My discouragement came not from friends but from publishers who, I suspect, did not even read the manuscripts I sent off. As I told the young people in the audience, self publishing gives a writer freedom and I encouraged them all to use that particular route.
The hardest part of the day was the commute. My commute is normally eight steps. I had rush hour traffic to contend with!
I told the school, and I meant it, that I would be more than happy to visit again and that if they contacted me through my website then they would get a reply.
Thank you Miss Brack, Mrs Westbrook and Mr Daley for organising the visit.
Photo credit to Unity Academy