Third Form pupils welcomed special guest author Rachel Ward to Clifton College on Tuesday, 2nd December. Rachel gave a fascinating talk on her route to becoming a published author, discussing the motivation behind writing, dealing with rejection and the process of working with a literary agent. She brought along a copy of the first draft of Numbers, showing the audience how much of the text had to be edited and redrafted before publication.
Rachel also treated the Third Formers to readings from her best-selling novel Numbers and her new series The Drowning. The talk ended with an enthusiastic Question and Answer session and the offer of a prize for the best question. Rachel praised the quality and originality of all the questions, but ultimately decided that Megan McDonnell was the worthy winner. Megan asked Rachel if she has reread Numbers since its publication and wished she could change anything. The author’s response prompted an interesting discussion on censorship and the Young Adult book market. Megan was awarded with a signed copy of a rare American edition of The Drowning.
Rachel also announced the winner of the Percival’s Numbers competition. Every Third Form pupil was given a library date label with a date stamped on it. The main character of Numbers is able to look into people’s eyes and ‘see’ the date upon which they will die. Pupils were asked to take their date label and find out “which literary great died on this date.” Hannah Lowe’s entry was randomly selected from all of the correct entries and she won a signed copy of Numbers. Hannah identified that Elizabethan playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe died on 30th May, 1593 under mysterious circumstances.
The day ended with a special creative writing workshop for members of the Book Group and the Creative Writing Group. Rachel joined our talented and enthusiastic writers in the Percival for a session on setting and how to create a sense of place. Some group members brought their writing to read to Rachel. Rachel described the pupils’ work as “very thoughtful and original” and commented that she was very impressed that the College is “a nurturing environment which encourages self-confidence and sharing of work.”
All of Rachel Ward’s books are available to borrow from the Percival Library.