Radio 2’s Simon Mayo discusses new book with Norwich schoolchildren

They may not be old enough to remember him on Top of the Pops but Norwich schoolchildren seemed very impressed with Simon Mayo's storytelling skills during a visit to the city yesterday.

The Radio 2 Drivetime presenter, who has now turned his hand to writing, met pupils from Avenue, Colman and Wensum Junior Schools to talk about his first book, Itch.

The youngsters were given the chance to quiz the author before getting their copies of the children's sci-fi novel signed.

Rosie Riddell, librarian at Avenue Junior School where the visit took place, said only a small number of pupils had known who Mr Mayo was when the visit was announced, but they were soon put right by their mothers and fathers.

'They had gone home and told their parents so, by the time he arrive, they knew he was a DJ,' she said.

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Itch tells the story of Lofte Itchingham, an accident-prone teenager hero who is trying to stop a newly-discovered, highly-radioactive element getting into the wrong hands.

Mr Mayo took the names of his main character and that of teacher Nathaniel Flowerdew from two 17th-century curates at Holy Trinity church in Blythburgh, on the Suffolk Coast.

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The children's questions ranged from asking how the DJ-turned-author researched his ideas for his stories to which football team he supported and how much money he earned.

Mrs Riddell said: 'They were very inquisitive about Simon's reasons for writing the book.

'He said it was because his son had come home from a science lesson and was quite enthralled. He had got into science himself and wanted to give his child more to read about science but couldn't find any fiction books that were fun and to do with science.'

Teachers will now take inspiration from Mr Mayo's visit and incorporate some of the ideas from it into their lessons.

'The pupils will be asked to think about how authors start writing. In one classroom we're doing genres so it will be great for them to be able to take that book into the classroom.

'The children love having authors here,' said Mrs Riddell. 'You can see in their writing that is inspires them.'

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