Third year pupils from Brechin High School were given the opportunity to meet acclaimed children’s author Phil Earle.
The visit took place on May 20, and was part of an Angus-wide celebration of reading and writing for the grand finale of the 2014 Angus Book Award.
Last term in English class, the pupils had previously studied the authors short listed for the award, which included Matt Whyman, who was crowned this year’s winner, Sarah Hammond and Phil Earle.
Having studied his works, pupils seized the opportunity to discover more about the Mr Earle, who wrote the, exciting, engrossing and deeply sympathetic tale of people in trouble, ‘Heroic’.
He delivered an amazingly insightful, poignant, funny, entertaining and inspirational session.
Drawing on a refreshingly diverse range of influences – demonic older brothers; his work with angry kids in residential care, capturing and focusing their perspectives; Bruce Springsteen; a lonely stop on the London Tube’s Northern Line – Phil laid down a challenge the pupils to, saying: “Look up from our smartphones; there are stories all around us!”
A spokesperson for the school commented: “It was impossible to resist his enthusiasm for storytelling and his passion for the written word. Phil recommended S.E. Hinton’s cult novel of teenage alienation and brotherhood, ‘The Outsiders’, which she began writing at the age of 15, and other graphic novels from pupils’ own school library, such as DC’s Batman, Art Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ and Craig Thompson’s ‘Blankets’, as being key literary landmarks on his journey to become an author. Citing Anthony McGowan’s dyslexia-friendly novel, ‘Brock’, as the best book he’d read last year, Phil hailed it as the, ‘Kes’ for the new generation”.