Norwich-based author Alexander Gordon Smith with library manager Alex Steward (back) and students (from left) Daniel Burton-Pye, 15, Jai Saunders, 15, Maddie Wright, 12 and Ophena Parker-Benn, 13.

Sheringham High School’s new author-in-residence teaches joy of writing

Monday, February 18, 2013
11.00 AM

Action, adventure and blood-thirsty, zombie-like creatures were on the curriculum at Sheringham High School this week, when top-selling author Alexander Gordon Smith visited to chat to students about the joys of writing.

Norwich-based Mr Smith has agreed to become author-in-residence at the school in September, after meeting Sheringham High library manager Alex Steward at the Norwich leg of the annual international children’s literature competition, the Kids’ Lit Quiz.

“I thought it would be fantastic to have someone come in to school regularly. Because we live in a rural area, there are limited opportunities to get involved in literary events,” she said.

As the author of the hugely popular Escape From Furnace series – set in a young offenders institution buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface – the horror writer had a captive audience among Sheringham Year 8 and 9s.

“The students were absolutely enthralled, I have never seen them so engaged,” Mrs Steward said.

The author’s latest book, The Fury, tells the tale of three teenagers who trigger a reaction in everyone they meet, turning people into zombie-like creatures bent on murder.

He said his author-in-residence post was a “great opportunity to inspire young people to write and show them that reading is the best education anyone can have.”

He added: “Although I do a lot of work in schools, it is usually a whirlwind visit, so this will be a chance to create stories with students and follow up on them.”

During his year-long residency, Mr Smith will run creative writing workshops, as well as set challenges and competitions.

“What I want to prove to young people is that, with passion and a lot of hard work, anyone can be a writer if they really want to,” he said.

To find out more about Alexander Gordon Smith, visit