A visit by author Tom Palmer was the highlight of events celebrating World Book Day. Mr Palmer, who has been a full-time author for five years, spoke to Year 7 and 8 students and ran a fun football game complete with penalty shoot out.
Four years ago his first published book, Foul Play, was chosen as one of the free books given out to Year 7 students in the ‘Booked Up’ scheme and was also shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award.
Tom has written two series; Football Academy, about young players at Premier League clubs, and the Foul Play books about Danny, who has to solve football-related crimes, such as kidnapping and attempted murder. He has also written a short rugby-inspired tale called Scrum, as well as books for adults.
During three sessions in the Weston Theatre Tom, a Leeds fan, quizzed students on football-related stories and, if correct, they qualified to take a penalty with prizes awarded for the best scorer. He then answered questions about his career.
It was only when his mum encouraged him with football magazines and newspaper articles that Tom started to enjoy reading. He now counts Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky as his favourite novel! After completing A Levels at 21 and a literature degree three years later he worked in bookshops and organised book festivals.
He said: ‘As I love writing it doesn’t feel like hard work - if you do something you love doing it is rewarding. It took a long time to find the courage to be a writer. I didn’t think people like me could be authors but I met a few and I realised they are usually just normal people. I write about football because I know quite a bit about it and I am really into it so I can hopefully write something exciting about it.
‘I have been writing stories, poems and diaries as a hobby for 25 years and wrote five books before getting the first one published. I keep a list of things that obsess me and they turn into stories. I write in hotels or on trains because I am away visiting schools around the country for most of the week. If I am in the middle of a novel I try to write 1,000 words a day. My shorter books take a month to finish and the longer ones take four months. I have really enjoyed my time at Brooke Weston and the students have responded really well. We have talked about football and they have talked about what they like to read.’
Today is World Book Day and, as well as Tom Palmer’s visit, the Library has organised several events including a book fair, 'staff get caught reading' competition and inter-tutor book quiz.
Librarian Mrs Adams said: ‘Tom really engaged and enthused the students. He generated a real buzz, both about his own books and about the sort of things they like to read so it was an ideal introduction to World Book Day.'