Visit by author Lisa Williamson – Monday 7 March

On Monday 7th March the author Lisa Williamson came in and spoke to Years 8 and 9. She spoke about her childhood and how her upbringing has given her the opportunities she has today. She also spoke about her four main books; The Art of Being Normal, which is about a transgender teenager and her feelings/struggles with being transgender; All about Mia, in which the middle child Mia is considered popular in school life however is overlooked in her family life; Paper Avalanche, the life of a teenager whose mum is a hoarder; and First Day of my Life, which follows the journey of a teenage girl who must find her best friend who she suspects has stolen a baby.

Lisa told us about her journey to becoming an author and how her childhood had an impact on her career path. Lisa said that since she was eight she has wanted to become an actor so when she got the option to go to a drama university she was thrilled. We got to see many photos of her journey over a decade where we saw her acting career grow. She did many plays and commercials as an actor; one of her most well-known commercials is the John Lewis Christmas advert of Monty the penguin in which she played the young boy’s mother.

Lisa told us how although she loved acting she didn’t like how little control she had over what she could do – she had no say over lines, expressions and more. This is what prompted her to start writing stories in her spare time. Her first novel was about a woman who had a similar life to Lisa however when she sent it to many publishers they all declined. So after a bit of reflection, she started to write again. This time she wrote about a transgender teenager. She said she chose to have a happy story about being trans because she found that out of the very few transgender novels most were gloomy. She got the idea for the novel after working in a gender identity clinic in the NHS. Her inspiration for Paper Avalanche came from watching a TV documentary about hoarding. Lisa showed us that inspiration can come from anywhere and she also told us that she never deletes anything because you never know when something might be worth going back and improving! Thank you so much, Lisa, for such an interesting and wonderful, inspiring talk!

Phoenix M, Year 9