North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020



Pupils learn every picture tells a story for author Sam Osman

Thursday 14 April 2016

WEB Sam Osman with Esther, Ashwin, Isabella and Landon

A scrap of newspaper picked up in the street was all the inspiration author Sam Osman needed to come up with a gripping plot for her latest novel for youngsters.

On the paper was a photo of a woman holding a boy, but something in their expressions and a line across the picture suggested to Sam a mother and son torn apart. Thus was born her story Chasing the Dark, in which the hero Joe gradually uncovers the truth about his mum’s mysterious death.

In a visit to The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), Sam explained to year 6 pupils from Westville House School, Ilkley, and GSAL Junior School that the ideas for her stories come from all around her. As she said: “Most authors all day every day are looking at faces, newspapers and magazines to glean information to weave into their stories. Look around, write things down, and the richer your writing will be.”

Sam is also a film maker, and started her career as an author after 20 years working as a producer for the BBC, drawing on that experience for her writing. Her first book for children, Quicksilver, was published in 2010 and followed by a sequel Serpent’s Gold. Chasing the Dark and If You Were Me, intended for a young teenage audience, are written under the pen name Sam Hepburn.

Sam said: “It’s wonderful to spend time with pupils in schools – those I meet are readers so when they come and talk with me it helps me understand their preoccupations, interests and worries, as well as the concerns of the young people I’m writing about.”

The children listened attentively and asked some thoughtful questions at the end. Westville House pupil Isabella Moran said: “It was good to meet a real author and interesting to hear about the stories she has done.”

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