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APS Students write the 'dark truth'

By Laura Formby, writing for the Holloway Express.

Students at a secondary school in Muswell Hill have published a novel about l0ve and death called ‘The Dark Truth.’

Alexandra Park School chose a number of 12-year-olds for the White Water Writers programme – publishers who use workshops to help groups of around ten writers to write and publish their own novel within five days.

Students from Year 8 took part in a collaborative writing course between March 6th-10th.

The workshop allows them to use their imagination and help each other write a novel.  They develop their writing and communication skills, teamwork, attention to detail and confidence.

‘The students learnt so much from this experience,’ said Joanna Chadwick,  Assistant Headteacher.

‘They started as usual Year 7 and 8 students with school-age appropriate skills in English. By the end of the course they were novel writers! They learnt how to edit, review, work as a team, use interactive writing software and really proof read, as that was essential to making sure the book was a success. They learnt to express themselves in ways that challenged their usual mentality and entered new rounds of creativity and craftsmanship.’

Ms Chadwick said that she would love to see a few budding writers from this initial project. What she thinks is really important is that has sparked the belief and awareness that being a writer is actually possible.

She said: ‘ You don’t have to be the most fluent or perfect writer – you just need to have passion, the creative vision and the ability to work hard to create something that you are proud of.’

The novel is about characters Jaspar Chapman, who wants to find his sister’s killer, and Milly who is finding it hard to cope with her mother’s death so ends up making the biggest mistake of her life.

The programme was funded by The Shine Trust  who helped get several books published and uploaded onto Amazon.

All the ideas, words, chapters as well as the spelling mistakes are entirely the students’ own work.

‘The school is very proud of the students,’  she said. ‘The ultimate reward is surely the book being published.’

The school is now planning to hold a book signing.  Details will be in the school newsletter and each student is receiving two books. One will be signed by all the teachers involved.

‘What I think went down well with the students was the pizza party lunch that we threw for them to say well done for completing it,’ said Ms Chadwick.

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Poetry by Heart Competition

Congratulations to all the students below, who were finalists in the APS Poetry by Heart competition on the evening of January 10th 2017.  All gave excellent performances of two poems - one written before 1914 and one written after.

Our school champion was Liliana Newsam-Smith, who said "The PBH competition was a very inspiring and enjoyable process, which I am very grateful to be a part of.  I have always loved poetry and having the opportunity to recite some incredible poems by Katherine Philips and Alun Lewis was a great experience for me."  Runner-up Keir Chauhan's message to future participants was "To all those who enjoy poetry, literature and drama, this is a wonderful experience and well-worth doing."  Liliana and Keir now move on to the regional stage of the competition.

APS Poetry by Heart Finalists
Sophia Amin Grace Gellar Michael Deane 
Aan Tailor Olivia Bucherer Eva McNeil
Ella Gregory    

Congratulations and thanks are also due to our accuracy judge, Celia Warre, last year's Poetry by Heart finalist, and to our other judges, Anne Turvey, Lisa Marie Utley, Heather Wood and Lauren Cowan.

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Free George Orwell Youth Prize Event

The Orwell Youth Prize is running a free event for young people at the LSE Literary Festival on Thursday 16th February 2017 at 6.00pm.

Run in conjunction with the LSE Library, they will be running a panel discussion entitled ‘Can writing change the world?’.  It will be chaired by Director of the Orwell Prize, academic and Official BBC Historian Jean Seaton, and the panel will consist of writers and journalists James Ball, Rebecca Omonira and Alan Gibbons, an award-winning young adult novelist.

It is an evening event which is open to all - both school groups and young people independently (and their parents). There is information about the panel and the event here: http://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/LiteraryFestival/2017/Early-Festival-Events/Events/Can-Writing-Change-the-World

Booking opens on 31st January and is done directly through the LSE website.  Although the festival is during half term, it is still open (and free) for students and parents to attend.

The event will be a wonderful opportunity for young people interested in a career in writing or journalism, and those interested in current affairs, politics and social justice more widely to hear from established and award-winning writers and journalists about their experiences and their craft, as well as ask them questions and visit a top-class university.

All events in the Festival are free to attend and open to all, but booking is required. E-tickets will be available to book after 10am on Tuesday 31 January via the LSE online store. For group bookings for Schools or groups of students please contact events@lse.ac.uk. For any queries see LSE Events FAQ or contact us at events@lse.ac.uk 0207 955 6043.

It is expected that children will be accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for their safety and well-being.

orwell prize 02

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Slambassadors receive their awards

Congratulations once more to our 'Slambassadors', who attended an event on Sunday 30th October to receive their commended certificates.  The students had a great evening, which was hosted by poet Joelle Taylor.  Another poet, Lemn Sissay presented teh students with their awards.  Of particular note is Beth Hollis, who received a 'highly commended' award.

Pictures from the event are below.

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