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Best-selling author accepts St Anne’s pupils’ invite

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BEST-SELLING children’s author Anthony Horowitz enthralled pupils at St Anne’s School yesterday when they were able to quiz him on his books, his own schooldays and the secrets of his teenage superspy, Alex Rider.

Best-selling author Anthony Horowitz with St Anne’s School pupils Tobin Collier, left, and Ethan Gillingham, both 14, who invited him to their Young People’s Literary Festival. (Picture by Emma Pinch, 24278235)

Mr Horowitz has written 52 books, which have sold around the world in their millions.

He also created TV series Foyle’s War and was the screenwriter for shows such as Poirot and Midsomer Murders.

His visit came after St Anne’s Year 8 English class wrote to 20 of their favourite authors asking them to attend their Young People Literary Festival. He was the only one to write back – and say yes.

During his visit he revealed that he planned to set one of the novels in his new murder mystery series for adults in the island. ‘This morning I was talking to the post office master and he said the crime rate on this island is pretty much zero. I thought “that makes it a marvellous place to set a murder mystery on”.

‘I think I’ll bring my Detective Hawthorne and I will set a crime here on Alderney,’ he said.

‘Also, as I walked up and down Victoria Street and everybody smiling at me, it’s also in the knowledge that from the moment I arrived on Alderney pretty much everything I’ve done has been seen by someone.

‘Everyone knows where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing – and that for a crime story is very interesting and useful.

‘It may be in four or five years’ time, but I will rent a place for a couple of weeks or a month and try to get under the skin of the island a bit and try to set a murder mystery here.’

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School visits for him are a rarity now, but he said he had been so impressed with the letter he received from Alex Rider fans Tobin Collier and Ethan Gillingham, both 13. He said he hoped that during his hour-long question and answer session, he had inspired children to read.

‘It’s important for an author to come to a school to show children that reading books is alive, it’s now, it’s not just dusty books on a shelf. Sharing ideas and stories and sharing enthusiasm is why I come.

‘As I get older it’s important for me to connect with children to try and get into their heads and see what they enjoy reading and what makes them laugh. It’s all too easy to disappear into my own room and forget the audience I’m writing for.’

Ethan said: ‘We were in the changing rooms after PE and we got a letter addressed to both of us. We opened it thinking it was going to be something bad, but it was him saying he had come. It was amazing. It kind of seems that it’s not real.’

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