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Young writers hear the whole story from award-winning author

Friday 13 February 2015

WEB Emily Diamand with GSAL Jnr and Moorlands pupilsLeeds schoolchildren learned why a story needs a beginning, a middle and an end – especially an end – when they met children’s author Emily Diamand.

Emily was invited by Ilkley Literature Festival (ILF) to visit Year 6 children from The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) Junior School and Moorlands School. She talked about her books, before running fun and interactive workshops to help the children create their own stories. The visit to GSAL came about through a partnership between the school and the festival – GSAL is the major sponsor of the ILF Children’s Festival

As an award-winning author, Emily knows all about the structure of a good story. Her first book, Flood Child, won The Times Chicken House Fiction Prize, and she has also written a sequel Flood & Fire and most recently Ways to See a Ghost.

Speaking to the budding young writers, Emily said: “You’ve come up with some fantastic ideas, and reached the ‘pushback’ which is what stops the character getting what they want. The climax is when they overcome it and this is difficult. It’s easy to get going and be very enthusiastic about your story, but you need to decide who wins in the end and how!”

Dawn Cameron, who coordinates Ilkley Literature Festival’s outreach programme, said: “We’re in the third year of our partnership with GSAL and are very grateful for the school’s continuing support, which enables us to place authors in schools. Emily is a brilliant author for this age group as her books chime with what fascinates children – the supernatural, ghosts and other things we don’t understand.”

Laith McElhone, a Moorlands pupil, said: “It was really nice meeting Emily Diamand and listening to her reading one of her books. Whenever I have some spare time I’m reading or writing my own stories so I learned lots.”

GSAL Junior pupil Milan Singh said “It was very interesting meeting a real author and learning how they write such good books.” His classmate Maia Walker said “It was a fun and enjoyable morning with Emily Diamand. I particularly liked planning our own story.”

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