Looking beyond the text pupils across the school have been engaged in a range of activities and author visits.

A day of creativity and discussion was enjoyed by the PGS Book Group n February as they took part in the Trinity School Book Awards. Having already read their way through the books on the shortlist and submitted their votes, they worked on some ‘creative responses’ to the texts with local artist Annette Mills. The pupils developed and shaped their thoughts on what they had read into sculpture, pictures and pieces of creative writing and reviews. A tense wait has now begun until the winners are announced in London later this Spring.

As March arrived, World Book Day, followed by Book Week in the Junior School, gave pupils the opportunity to meet a wide range of authors who came in to the school to tell their stories and share their experiences of being a writer.

With thanks to Portsmouth Bookfest, Year 10 were able to spend time with author and journalist Lottie Moggach, author of Kiss Me First which is currently being made in to a series to be shown on Netflix.   “Lottie was extremely self-deprecating, describing her early manuscripts as poor,” said Dr Carol Webb, Head Librarian. “She was fantastic though at offering encouragement to writers in the audience about how to realistically flesh our characters and the importance of persevering if you think you have a great story idea.”

Celebrations of World Book Day in the Senior School were led by the visit of author of Lottery Boy, Michael Byrne, who spent time with Year 8. Alongside an insightful talk on what makes a story, the importance of pace and how he came up with and developed his own novel, Michael regaled pupils with tales of his two younger, and very naughty, brothers and his own successes and failures at school. A smaller group of pupils had the opportunity to attend a writers’ workshop later in the day themed around the idea of ‘believability’ in a story. “The workshop showcased some real writing talent,” commented Miss Samantha Brunner, KS3 English Co-ordinator. “It sparked some pieces of real creative promise.”

Waterstones brought in a World Book Day pop-up book shop to the library which was looked after by a monster in underpants… Pupils across the school from Nursery to Year 7 enjoyed spending their World Book Day vouchers on a wide range of books, with Monsters Love Underpants and author David Walliams proving the most popular.

For Book Week in the Junior School, author visits included Curtis Jobling who is the designer of worldwide hit children’s television show Bob the Builder, and the author/illustrator of numerous children’s books. Pupils spent time with Curtis showing him their illustrations as well as finding out about all the characters he has created. Years 1 and 2 were fascinated by their time with storyteller Jamie Crawford and children’s author Chloe Inkpen turned pupils in to a menagerie of animal noises!
The range of activities on offer will hopefully have helped the group of Year 5 and 6 children who have met each week, writing a story to submit to the Radio 2 500 Words writing competition. Inspiration from famous authors and celebrities who have given them top tips on how to write an original and entertaining story, will hopefully lead them to success.

“We really are very grateful to be able to invite such inspirational authors, artists and storytellers in to the school to work with all our pupils,” said Headmaster James Priory. “In an age where young people are increasingly being characterised as living in an online world, it has been wonderful to see them creatively responding to the visitors and to see their imaginations sparking with ideas. That well over 500 books have been bought by some very happy readers at the various events, shows that appreciation of literature is alive and well at PGS!”