Popular children’s author Julian Sedgewick used to visit Ely College when his sons attended the school.
Last week the keen broadcaster and writer visited once again – this time to inspire students wanting to improve their literary skills as part of a World Book Day promotion.
A regular visitor to the college, Julian put the “thrill” back into “thriller”, wowing year seven students on Wednesday with his knife juggling tricks, a crowd-pleasing stunt aimed at demonstrating that writing – like knife juggling – is a skill that takes practice.
Julian is renowned for his thrilling Mysterium trilogy, which follows the journey of 12-year-old Danny Woo, the British-Chinese son of circus performers, who is forced to face the dark secrets of his past while searching for his aunt, an investigative journalist in mortal danger.
During his visit, Julian shared snippets of his gripping stories with students as well as running a workshop about skills needed to create an exciting story.
Talking about his relationship with the College, Julian said: “My longstanding relationship with Ely College started with the education of my two sons and has continued with successive visits for World Book Day.
“In a world that is becoming ever more divided and stressful, reading is more and more important – both as a form of escape, but also as a way to find out about other lives and worlds.”
Julian hopes that his school visits will stimulate at least one child into a love of books.
“Events such as World Book Day – and Ely 501 competition, in which I am involved for its third year – are vital for encouraging reading and writing.”
Anne Shaw, Ely College’s learning resource centre manager, said: “It has been a wonderful day, a celebration of reading.
“Julian’s talk had the whole of Year 7 buzzing.
“Excitement, reading and cake, what more could you ask for!”
Following Julian’s workshop students received a £1 World Book Day token, which they can either use to buy one of Julian’s books or at a later date at any participating book store. Those who chose to buy his books were also able to get their copies signed and to ask him any questions they had.
During lunchtime the College Reading Group also raised £61.50 for the Teenage Cancer Trust by transforming the Learning Resource Centre into a Book Café, where they served drinks and home-made cakes made by the students.