North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020



Football writer kicks off new season of author visits

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Although author Tom Palmer originally made his name with football stories for children, his recent novels show he’s a good all-rounder.

As Tom told an audience of Year 5 and 6 pupils at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), his latest books, whilst still fictional, are based on historical events and required detailed research.

He is currently working on a book about the Windermere boys – 300 child concentration camp survivors who were rehoused in the Lake District 75 years ago – and feels a duty to accurately reflect the boys’ story in recognition of their suffering.

For his book Armistice Runner he researched the life of Ernest Dalzell, a trench runner in WW1. D-Day Dog is based on the para dogs who were parachuted in prior to the D-Day landings.

Tom’s visit was the first author visit hosted in GSAL’s new junior library, which opened this term ready for the creation of GSAL Primary School when Rose Court pupils arrive at Alwoodley Gates next September.

The visit took the form of a Q&A, allowing the children to ask lots of questions and find out about life as an author, as well as the day to day routine – despite having his own study, Tom prefers to work in the kitchen with the dog.

The children were surprised to learn that Tom didn’t always find reading and writing easy. He said: “I struggled with reading so my mum encouraged me to read about football. I read newspapers, magazines, books…it led me to writing about sport and I read anything now!

Tom eventually did A-level English literature at Park Lane College, and said: “I was inspired by Emily Brontë and Wuthering Heights. I thought you had to be from London to be a writer. Her books made me think ‘I can do this’ and set books in the places I know and love.”

He told the children he’s been writing for 20 years (12 “as a job”) to show them that if you really want to do something don’t give up.

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