Junior reporter Phoebe Haywood reviews Death in the Spotlight, the eighth book in Robin Steven's Murder Most Unladylike series. Robin, a Festival Patron, will be working with two primary schools in January to inspire the pupils to do their own writing as well as presenting a public event in April all about Death in the Spotlight.
During spring term 2018, acclaimed author Bali Rai worked with groups of vulnerable students - young people who are in permanent residential care, have emotional, social and mental health needs, and are excluded from mainstream education. As well as talking about his life as a writer (all participating students got given a copy of Bali's book, Kiss of Death) Bali encouraged them to find their own voices and tell their own stories. Some of the young people had never done any creative writing before, one or two had never finished a piece of work but they all felt inspired to try their hand at storytelling.
One teacher wrote: "Not only were Bali's sessions engaging and inspiring but the students got so much out of them on a personal level too. Some of our hardest to reach students responded to his visits positively and it was an amazing few weeks for our students.
Following the sessions, some students produced stories for Bali and he very kindly responded to these personally. This meant a lot to the students and they really appreciated the way he spoke to them and there was a two-way respect."