Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Thread Running Through

One of the best parts of my job is getting involved with schools and helping to spread the buzz of reading and writing for pleasure.I'm especially proud of having been Author in Residence at Litcham School in Norfolk this year, where we've been working together to produce A Thread Running Through, a fantastic anthology of student's creative writing and illustrations.

A great deal of work over the year culminated in a truly beautiful book (with a cover brilliant designed by one of the students, Fred Foulkes), which we launched with a special assembly and a party in June. It was a wonderful day and really exciting to see the students enjoying that magical feeling of seeing their work in print and holding an actual copy of their actual book in their hands.

Huge congratulations to everyone who contributed, and a big thank you to all the school staff who were so helpful, to Swaffham Rotary Club for supporting the project, and most of all to Cathy Berry, Litcham School librarian, who make the whole thing happen and worked so hard to see it through.


To tell you more about the project and to make sure I include all the thank you's, I've copied my foreword to the anthology in full at the end of this post.

My copy of the anthology, signed by all the contributors is now one of my most treasured possessions. It's full of great writing and illustrations as well as a lot of happy memories of working together and our lovely launch event.

I'm also very proud that one of the contributors, who was also a key member of the student editorial team entered her story from the anthology into the Norfolk Young Writers Competition and was one of the six finalists. You can read Amelia's story in full here.
The editorial team hard at work

These signatures could be worth a fortune one day!

Just one of the great illustrations
Just one of the great illustrations


Just one of the great illustrations


No launch party is complete without themed cupcakes!


Beautiful bookmarks featuring illustrations from the anthology

There were lots of activities to try at the launch party too

And more themed cupcakes!


Foreword to A Thread Running Through
It has been the most extraordinary honour and pleasure to be Author in Residence at Litcham School this year. Thank you for inviting me and to all the staff and students who have made me so welcome.

I’m delighted to introduce this very special anthology of creative writing by students in Years 7, 8 and 9.

While younger children often enjoy writing stories and poems for pleasure, there can be less time for this as we go on through school.  Writing becomes a more serious pursuit, for a specific purpose or on a set topic. This is important, of course, but it’s also a wonderful thing to write just for the fun of it – the fun of experimenting with language, expressing our thoughts and feelings, and seeing where our imaginations take us.

In this anthology students were free to write whatever they wanted; any subject matter, style, format or genre. The only guideline was that we used the Secrets of the Tombs series as our jumping-off point. With its themes of archaeology, mystery, the search for power and immortality, betrayal, friendship, teamwork, love and the discovery of other civilisations, there was plenty to choose from.

As the pieces started to come in, it was great to see how much fantastic writing emerges when the author is having fun. And such a variety too! From the scariest of horror tales to witty comedies and thoughtful romances. From fast-paced adventures, to mysteries and political thrillers, science fiction and dystopian visions. Stories, diaries, poems and even a play script – they are all here!

I’m also hugely impressed by all the wonderful illustrations that students submitted to accompany the written pieces. They add so much to the anthology – as does the excellent cover and the overall book design.

A special thank you goes to the team of student editors, who worked so professionally to bring out the best in all the contributions. I would also like to thank Swaffham Rotary Club for funding the Author in Residence programme, and school librarian, Cathy Berry, who has organised all the visits and has worked tirelessly, far above and beyond the call of duty, to make the idea of this anthology a reality.

Congratulations to everyone who has contributed. I hope that you’ve had fun and that you’ll enjoy the thrill of being published writers, editors and illustrators.

Happy reading!

Helen Moss
May 17th, 2017