Best-selling Author Jamila Gavin visits as part of World Book Day celebrations

The prize-winning writer shared secrets of the success which, putting her on the same page as JK Rowling and Michael Morpurgo, secured her the coveted Whitbread Children’s Book prize when she ran workshops and gave a talk to students on Tuesday.

Librarian Deborah Gibbons who organised the event said: “Everyone taking part got a lot out of it, she got all the students writing, inspiring them with starter sentences. She let them know that, even if at first you don’t succeed, you can be a writer if you keep at it.”

Charlotte Parry who spends much of her free time writing, listened enthusiastically to the author who admits she still fears the blank page and who believes her craft is 10 per cent inspiration but 90 per cent perspiration. The 12-year-old said: “She gave an inspirational speech. I want to be a writer myself and she showed me it’s possible, that even if not everyone likes your books there’ll be people out there who do. She showed me that characters in books can be anyone, not just the types you often think of.”

Anglo-Indian Jamila Gavin, who has also been short-listed for the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize and Nestle Smarties Prize and whose other works include The Blood Stone and Danger by Moonlight, explained how she started writing as she couldn’t find any books for her own children which depicted non-white characters.

Natalie Harris, 12, said: “It was exciting having a real author coming in, you don’t normally see them in real life. I’m now inspired to read some of her books.”

Molly Tuck, 12, added: “She inspired me that If you want to pursue something, go straight for it and don’t let anyone stop you.”

Jamila Gavin lives in Gloucestershire and Coram Boy is set partly in the county in the 1700s, scenes including Gloucester Cathedral.

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