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BBC script writer, author of non-fiction books and freelance journalist, William Gallagher visited Hillgrove to work with groups of Year 9 and Year 10 students.

The day began with a talk in the hall to 9Y in which William shared some of his experiences and struggles as an aspiring writer. He encouraged the students to strive for their goals and ambitions, no matter what challenges they may have to overcome.

Following this, a group of Year 9 students attended a writing workshop in which they thoroughly enjoyed producing scripts, working both as individuals and as a team. They worked on making the dialogue sound realistic as well as considering the sub-text that all scriptwriters and playwrights must write into their character’s lines in the absence of description. The session finished with students reading the scripts aloud to the group and discussing what we learned about the characters.

Two further workshops followed, including students from Year 9 and Year 10, in which the focus was journalistic writing. William talked the students through the essential processes of writing a newspaper article, then gave them very short time slots in which to write news stories and headlines (to reflect the pressures experienced by real-life news journalists). He demonstrated the attention to detail that is required, as well as exact language choices. Students enjoyed writing a story about a visiting author who was a terrible person and an awful writer! Some of the work however, did prompt a discussion about the difference between slander and libel!

William thoroughly enjoyed working with all our students saying, “I expected them to be good but I also assumed that because of their age they would be much more inhibited. So to have wit and speed and clear talent was joyous.”

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