We had science fiction, terror, suspense, sport and teenage poetry
The British writer and illustrator, Curtis Jobling, author of the famous “Bob, the Builder¨ cartoon series and also the highly successful, fantasy terror series for teenagers, “Wereworld”, captured much of the attention at the 3rd I Love Books Festival organised by the School. This year, more than ever, we have tried to bring students closer to important British authors of children´s and teenage lieteraure like Ben Aaronovitch and Tom Palmer. The Festival also included distinguished Spanish authors such as Marwan, one of the flag bearers of new Spanish poetry, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Gonzalo Moure, and Ana Alonso as well as performances from the Young Shakespeare Company.
More than a dozen reknown British and Spanish authors came by the Schol to share their experiences, their creative processes, their plans and their daily literary lives, with our students. Over more than one month, students have been able to meet some of the authors which they read either as set texts or just for fun. They were able to ask them whatever they wanted.
Prose, poetry, close-up theatre and led by the players themselves, “The best thing about the Festival was the authors being there, because it isn´t everyday that students can meet writers, actors and storytellers in person. That´s why the School wants to bring them closer, so that our students can experience the whole process of creating literature. And, that´s a really magical thing for them, and they love it”, explained Arabella González, the Festival organiser.
These informal chats are in fact a key way of developing an interest in reading amongst youngsters and they are adapted for all ages, from the little ones in Early Years to those in Secondary. “My own experience at the School, during the Festival, was with the youngest in Early Years. We talked about my cartoon series “Bob the Builder” and “Raa Raa the Noisy Lion”. We even had a workshop drawing some of my characters”, said Curtis Jobling. An illustrator, animator and writer, Jobling is also well known for his various series of fantasy terror for teenagers, particularly The Wereworld. This is made up of 6 books with thousands of followers and will presumably be made into a TV series. He spoke at length with the students from Secondary.
The secret of his success, as he admits is, “that I´m also probably still a child deep down. I have a feeling for the audience and their sense of humour and I also really want to write for them, amuse them, write stories which will entertain them and which can help them to escape the world in which they live in”.
Ben Aaronnovitch was also one of those most anticipated, especially by the eldest at the School. The author of bestsellers such as the acclaimed series “Rivers of London”, Aaronnovith delighted students by telling them what it is like to be a famous author, about his relationship with his characters and his way of writing. Despite his time spent as a scriptwriter for popular series such as Doctor Who, he clearly understands that “Reading is always going to be more fun in the end, because the images in your head, the ones which you draw in your own imagination, are always going to be better, than the ones you see on a screen”.
We Love Books also included a variety of talks from Tom Palmer. In the UK, he is considered to be one of the best football writers of his generation. As a child he was a hesitant reader until his mother encouraged him to read the sports pages in newspapers. From then on, he says, he wanted to read everything. He later started to write and has now published more than 40 books for children.
On the Spanish side, we again had Gonzalo Moure, Ana Alonso and César Mallorquí, reading aloud in the School´s classrooms, the acclaimed successful duo, Diego Arboleda and Raúl Sagospe (writer and illustrator), Antonio Muñoz Molina and Fernando Lalana. And, in poetry, Luis García Montero and the singer songwriter and poet Marwan, who, with his music and legions of followers on social media, has become the darling of new Spanish poetry.
Theatre, Poetry and Music
As well as books, during the last week (from the 23rd to the 27th of April), the Festival also includes a lot of theatre. For the third year running, we had the Young Shakespeare Company. They staged as many as 12 performances of “Midsummer Night´s Dream” in front of different student groups from School, as well as other Madrid schools who had been invited. This British theatre company also holds training sessions and workshops for students of all ages, seeking to awaken a passion for the Baird and his works.
“Children make the best audiences, even for Shakespeare, because they are just so receptive and their reactions are always so fresh, explained Christopher Geelan, the Company´s Creative Director. “They are completely trapped in the story, they really want to know what is going to happen next. People haven´t really changed that much in 400 years. They fall in love, they fight, they get back together again. That also happens in real life. What happens in Romeo and Juliet for example, can be a very modern story”.
Poetry was also included in the Festival. As they do every year, the Language Department held their Poetry Day which took place on the 21st of April. This included a Poetry Competition for the students in KS3 reading out their own poems, and a singing competition where students prepare and recite a poem or part of a poem to music.