Challenging time from best-selling author

PUBLISHED: 11:37 07 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

Matt Whyman

Matt Whyman

BEST-SELLING author Matt Whyman was impressed with the results when he challenged pupils of a St Albans school to write fictional stories. Matt (pictured right), a 37-year-old author of novels for young adults and columnist for teen magazines 19 and Bliss

BEST-SELLING author Matt Whyman was impressed with the results when he challenged pupils of a St Albans school to write fictional stories.

Matt (pictured right), a 37-year-old author of novels for young adults and columnist for teen magazines 19 and Bliss, ran the workshop for Year Eight pupils at St Albans School to inspire a future generation of writers.

He asked the pupils to write a short narrative based on an article in a BBC news story about two missing American teenagers who were rediscovered after two years.

English teacher Noel Cassidy said the young students relished the chance to be creative and get first-hand advice from an established and successful writer

Matt had been very impressed by the level of creativity and complexity of thinking by the boys, he added, and there had been some dramatic and enjoyable results produced during the workshop.

During the workshop, Matt Whyman told the pupils how he left school with few qualifications. He went to the University of Southampton in 1992 where he did a Film and Media course - but he turned to writing when he realised that film could often limit the ideas he wanted to express.

He initially worked as an adult author but soon decided he wanted to try to get teenagers reading again.

His idea was to get youngsters to meet people who wrote creatively for a living to inspire them to do the same.

Since then he has held writing workshops in Russia where none of the pupils spoke English and classes in Oman where the writing was done in Arabic.

He also explained that it was very important that teenagers should pick up books. But he said it was hard to compete against the other teenage interests such as video games and films so writers needed to appeal to an adolescent's perception of the world.

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