Tarzan author Andy Briggs inspires City Academy students

A writer who has re-imagined the legendary jungle hero of Tarzan for a modern audience gave an inspirational talk to Norwich students yesterday.

Author and screen-writer Andy Briggs entertained about 200 students at City Academy on Earlham Road as he explained the process of researching and creating his new novels.

He spoke about the enduring appeal of the Tarzan character 100 years after he was first created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and how he had re-worked the story for a modern audience, complete with rebel soldiers and illegal loggers in the rainforests of the Congo.

But the Liverpudlian, who has also worked on Hollywood movies and TV shows, said he also hoped to fire the students' passion for reading and convince them that a career in writing was within their reach.

Before autographing copies of his book Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy in the school library, Mr Briggs said: 'Tarzan is 100 years old this year and he has never been a more relevant character.

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'Tarzan was the world's first eco-warrior, created when no-one really thought about the environment,' he said. 'That is one aspect, but he is also one of the greatest literary characters there has ever been. To be bringing him back to life for the 'Playstation generation', who probably wouldn't read a book that was 100 years old, is fantastic. It is a really good way of getting them back into literature and learning about politics, geography and the environment at the same time.'

Among the questions asked by students was: 'Was it always your dream to be an author?'

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Mr Briggs replied: ' When I was a school I thought I was going to be stuck in Liverpool, probably serving in McDonalds. I didn't think I could do this – but I'm living proof that you can do it. All it takes is one good idea.'

After the assembly, he said: 'I kind of use it as an inspirational tale; that if I can do it, anyone can do it. It is a good launch pad to realise that writing is not just about writing boring old books, it can be about films and computer games.'

Viviane Palmer, leaning manager at the academy, said: 'We have had a massive increase in the circulation in our library this year, and it is all about finding the right books that are really going to enthuse the students and get them reading. Meeting an author like Andy means they will look for his books and that might start them on the path to reading more.'

Mr Briggs started writing on movie projects such as Judge Dredd, Freddy vs Jason, and Foreverman. He has also written comics and graphic novels and secured an eight-book deal for his Hero.com and Villain.net series.

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