Kit De Waal meets the next generation of writers, editors and illustrators at the latest National Teen Book Club – FE News

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Social mobility charity Speakers for Schools (@speakrs4schools) and School Book Clubs (@Schoolbookclubs) have teamed up with Penguin Random House for the fourth episode of the National Teen Book Club, where public school students from the UK have read and discussed Kit De Waal’s award. -winning novel My name is Leon. It follows last year’s book club success, featuring Alex Wheatle MBE, Patrice Lawrence MBE and Candice Carty-Williams.

This book club offered the opportunity to participate in a flash-fiction contest and a book illustration contest. Students were asked to develop a short written piece, beginning and inspired by the first line of My name is Leon: “Nobody has to say it [insert name] that it is a special moment”. The winners of the flash fiction competition received feedback on their written article from author Kit De Waal and his literary agent Jo Unwin. Students were also asked to illustrate a character or scene from My name is Leon and winners will join Kate Grove, Artistic Director of Andersen Press, for an online masterclass. More than 500 teenagers from public schools and colleges took part in this latest book club, which began at the end of January this year and ended on Wednesday 9and February 2022.

My name is Leon by Kit De Waal, is an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award in 2017. My name is Leon is a heartbreaking story of love, identity, and learning to overcome unbearable loss, the fierce bond between siblings, and finding your way home.

In addition to being able to share their thoughts on the novel in live chats each week, attendees participated in an exclusive Q&A with the acclaimed author. The National Teen Book Club is free for people ages 14-19 to discuss a shared book and access and contribute to weekly live Q&As with literary experts to help them develop their own literary skills, especially :

  • Writer, literary critic and literary awards judge Jon Day,
  • Publication Director of Fig Tree, Helen Garnons-Williams,
  • Award-winning author Eve Ainsworth offered writing advice
  • literary agent, Jo Unwinwhich represents renowned authors such as Kit De Waal and Candice Carty-Williams
  • And the author of the chosen book Waal Kit for the final Q&A session.

Ellie, 14, who attended the National Teen Book Club, said:

“Participating in the National Teen Book Club has helped me realize that there are many careers that involve reading, writing and publishing. Being an author is still one of my biggest dreams, but now I feel being a publisher or a literary agent are other possibilities that I might also consider. I can honestly say that I have learned a lot from being part of the National Teen Book Club, and learning more about the different career paths and options m benefited immensely as I think more about what comes next after school.

Kit De Waal, author of My name is Leon noted:

“I never considered writing a career when I was young, the only writers I knew were dead. Even when I started reading a lot in my 20s, it was still the case: if you can’t see it, you can’t be. Nobody from my background – poor, black and Irish – wrote books – it just wasn’t an option. Participating in the National Teen Book Club is a great opportunity to meet young people from across the UK and ignite that fire in the next generation of writers, editors and illustrators.

Ali Palmer, Director of Book Clubs in Schools, said:

“The National Teen Book Club offers a unique opportunity for young people across the country to come together to read a book and discuss their ideas. Inspirational weekly talks from key publishing authors and influencers offer real insight into careers and opportunities. Partnering with Speakers for Schools has allowed us to create an engaging and far-reaching program that will inspire a culture of reading for fun in participating schools.

To learn more and register for the next National Teen Book Club, click here: speakersforschools.org/national-teen-book-club/

The club starts on Wednesday 9and Walk from 3.30pm to 4.30pm for four weeks, where young people will hear from author Rebecca Henry, Cassie Chadderton, Executive Director of World Book Day and author of the featured book wranglestone, Darren Charlton, published by Little Tiger.

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