‘You Don’t Need to Make it Up’: Historical Author Gives Workshop and John Glyn Society Lecture

Colfe’s was delighted to welcome award-winning children’s author Tom Palmer to the Senior school to give the first of this year’s John Glyn Society Lectures. His visit included a session with all Year 8 pupils to introduce the Reading Through Time challenge, a creative writing workshop for selected Year 8 pupils, followed by the lecture on the use of historical research in fiction, given to all academic scholars throughout the school.  

Mr Palmer is a highly acclaimed author who has written over sixty books for children. Alongside his successful titles and series on such topics as football and rugby, his work includes several historical fiction titles which are firm favourites amongst Colfe’s pupils and feature frequently in the Year 8 Reading Through Time challenge. These books rely heavily on historical sources, and his lecture focused on how original sources can be used to add authenticity and realism to historical fiction. 

Year 8 pupils Ruth and Leon wrote reports on both the workshop and the John Glyn Society lecture: 

“In our Tom Palmer workshop we were shown different pieces of war memorabilia. He then showed us how we could plan a story around our chosen item. We planned a story about a boy and his dad The boy was at home with the rest of the family, and the dad was flying a fighter jet, with the inscribed pocket Bible (our object) close to his heart. The Bible is later found by the son with a hole through the middle… Maybe Tom Palmer will finish the story one day! The workshop gave us all an insight into the life of an author, and showed us a new way to plan stories.”
Ruth, Year 8 

“I really enjoyed the talk Tom Palmer gave to Year 8. He shed light on characters in history who might otherwise have been forgotten. He spoke confidently, and has introduced me to a genre of books – historical fiction – which I will read for the upcoming Reading Through Time Challenge. He also spoke to the John Glyn Society about how historians use different sources. I am impressed by how much effort goes into his books and how historically detailed they are. Most other writers wouldn’t take the time to search for and find that one fact to add into a sentence to make the story just that one bit more believable, but Tom Palmer uses documents, sound archives, museums, locations and artefacts to bring History alive. I would just like to thank him so much for coming to Colfe’s.”
Leon, Year 8 


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