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BSK students attend Literature Festival in Dubai
March 27, 2017, 5:46 pm

For the fourth year in a row, a group of ten students from The British School of Kuwait (BSK) attended the Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai Festival City and met a number of famous authors who gave presentations and provided workshops.

A panel of children’s and young adults’ fiction authors kicked off the day with a discussion about the best children’s book of all time. Authors, Jill Dawson, Yvette Judge, Abi Elphinstone and Candy Gourlay all put forward their two favourite books as children, explaining what these stories meant to them growing up, before deciding on a definitive favourite each, which can’t have been an easy task. The audience also had the chance to agree on a favourite of their own so at the end of the session there was a list of five best books for children.

Abi Elphinstone, author of The Dream Snatcher, The Shadow Keeper and The Night Spinner, gave a very interesting presentation on what inspired her as a writer. She spoke about the normal, everyday experiences and the more interesting adventures in her own life that gave her the ideas for her stories, for example the idea for a character she got from spending time with Kazakh eagle hunters in Mongolia and for another character which she took from the name of a moisturizer she bought in TK Maxx. She explained that stories happen all around us and we take ours from our own experiences.

The final session was with Candy Gourlay, author of Tall Story and Shine, who spoke in a very insightful and entertaining way about the hero’s journey, relating this well established method for developing plot to her own experiences as a writer. She told of her experiences, from growing up in the Philippines, wanting to be a writer at a young age, to working as a journalist in Manila during the revolution and to then becoming a wife and mother in the UK, struggling to get her books published. Her own story was fascinating and she told it in a very humorous and engaging way.

BSK students got the chance to meet these writers at the event and they got their own copies of the books personally signed by the authors. Both of the authors were able to create their stories from the experiences they had in their own lives and pointed out that when we try to write our own stories, we should look to our own experiences for inspiration. Both authors also faced a great deal of rejection before finally getting their books published.

Abi Elphinstone was rejected 96 times before finally securing a book deal. Students learned that perseverance is key to success in life in whatever field they wish to pursue and that even though success may not be instantaneous, never give up.  A fascinating trip with great tips on the philosophy of life as much as what books to read.

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