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Hunstanton high school launches new literary festival during World Book Day celebrations



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A new literary festival has been launched at a West Norfolk secondary school to coincide with yesterday's World Book Day.

A week of activities, including visits by leading authors and academics, has taken place at the Smithdon High School in Hunstanton, including visits by authors, and writing competitions.

And the main day itself was also celebrated - with teachers dressing up as various literary characters.

Leading author Hayley Long, second right, with Smithdon High School students (55252812)
Leading author Hayley Long, second right, with Smithdon High School students (55252812)

School leaders are planning to stage the festival annually as part of broader efforts to inspire a culture of reading.

Among the guests this week were author Hayley Long, who writes teen fiction and has been shortlisted twice for a Costa Book Award, and held sessions with year eight students on Thursday.

Children’s author Chris Priestley, who wrote the popular Tales of Terror series and the award-winning Mister Creecher, also held a series of sessions for year seven pupils.

World Book Day was a good reason for staff and students to dress up (55252789)
World Book Day was a good reason for staff and students to dress up (55252789)

And Dr Clare Wilkinson from Cambridge University closed the festival by holding fun poetry sessions with Year 9 and Year 10 students.

The festival also included the launch of the Carnegie Shadowing Award for Year 8 and 9 students.

Smithdon Shadowers will read and review Carnegie's six shortlisted books over the course of three months.

They'll meet regularly to discuss and reflect on the texts, as well as engage with videos from the authors of the texts and participate in competitions.

Getting lost in some good books inside the Smithdon library (55252808)
Getting lost in some good books inside the Smithdon library (55252808)

Amanda Wright, Smithdon's head of English, said: “We are proud of reading culture at Smithdon, and we always celebrate World Book Day.

“This year we decided to go big, taking advantage of being able to bring guests in to share and discuss the written word.

“We intend to run a Literary Festival every year, to coincide with World Book Day.

Enjoying World Book Day at Smithdon High School (55252792)
Enjoying World Book Day at Smithdon High School (55252792)

“This will include: workshops with journalists, authors, academics; participation in the Carnegie Shadowing award; and writing competitions.”

She added: “We want to inspire a love of literacy in our students. We want students to feel empowered when they pick up a book or a pen - they are the content creators.

“We are creating in school opportunities for all Key Stage 3 students to work alongside published authors and to participate in workshops.

“These opportunities will help students to see the significance of English in the wider world.”



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