The Perse School

Author Joss Stirling shares expertise with Year 8

15 Oct 2014

Yesterday, pupils from Year 8 were delighted to welcome author Joss Stirling (aka Julia Golding) to the School to talk about her writing.

Joss had a varied career before becoming a writer, she’s a former British diplomat and Oxfam policy adviser – if you read her books carefully, material from her previous roles pops up in unexpected places! Her books are equally as diverse; she has now published over 30 novels in genres ranging from fantasy and detective works to historical adventure.

Joss spoke of how it is a great privilege to create something as an author, and an even greater privilege to share that creation with others. She shared where she gets her inspiration from with our pupils, saying that it comes from all around her, particularly from the books she reads and the films and TV shows she watches.

She also spoke about the writing process, encouraging our budding writers to start brainstorming what they know about the topic they would like to write about, and then get thinking about their cast of characters. Joss even got a couple of students to have a go at her novel way of selecting character traits – by throwing three beanbags onto a ‘round table’ of different characteristics to decide whether they would be good or bad, strong or weak, and so on.

Joss also spoke of one of the perks of writing books – getting to go on research trips around the world. Although many of her stories are set in places she knows well, for example in Cambridge where she spent time as an undergraduate, her books have also taken her to Oregon and Cape Town – all in the name of research. She even flew in a tigermoth plane for her research for her book on the First World War!

This was a really inspiring talk and we thank Joss for taking the time out of her schedule to speak to our students.

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