Category Archives: Author visits

Matt Dickinson on Everest

Author Matt Dickinson, who visited Thornden at the end of November, is back on Mount Everest!

He is filming the backdrop for his Everest Files play which will be premiered at the        Edinburgh Fringe in August.  His third Everest Files book ‘Killer Storm’ will also be launched in August at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

To find out more about Matt’s latest adventures on Everest read his blog at




Chris Riddell, Children’s Laureate

Thornden Hall played host for Hampshire Schools Library Service ‘Meet the Author’ event on Tuesday, 7th March 2017.  Hampshire pupils, including some Thornden students, were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to see author and illustrator Chris Riddell.

He produced an illustration for every school attending whilst pupils were arriving.  All pupils were given a card on which to ask Chris a question.  He then picked questions at random and answered them with illustrations.  Questions varied from ‘which of your characters would you like to be’ to ‘what is your favourite shop’!

Chris then spent over an hour signing books for pupils.

After a short break he was then interviewed by Charlotte, Shivani and Katie for BBC School Report Day, which takes place on Thursday, 16th March, before he headed off to Brighton for an interview with the BBC.

Adisa – Performance Poet


Performance poet Adisa visited on Monday, 28th February.

He arrived in Lycra on his bike. A very impressive sight.

He talked to all Year 9 students in Thornden Hall. His engaging presentation, which included performances of his poems, ensured full student participation. The whole of the session was very interactive, with many questions being asked by the enthralled students

His performance was followed by two workshops for students ranging from Year 8 to Year 10. They were given a theme of ‘Revolution’ and were instructed to think about what revolution meant to them, to brainstorm their thoughts and finally to produce a poem. Some of the resulting poems were very powerful and stirring. One example is below.

‘Revolution is a never ending road of change.

On my never-ending road of change, there won’t be any hateful comments, because they will disappear into the air.

Everywhere you step you will leave footprint of positivity, free for others to use if they are feeling low.

All food will drive people to do something good for the world.

Happiness will spread like it’s the most contagious virus in the world.’


                                                                                                                                                            Nyah Russell


 Click onto this link to read the rest of the students poems.

Year 8 Author Visit – Matt Dickinson

Matt Dickinson, author, film-maker and Everest summiteer visited Thornden School yesterday.


He started the day running a creative writing workshop for 16 lucky year 8 pupils.  The writing tasks included what would you miss the most if you went to Everest and which fictional character would you want as a tent-buddy and why.  Pupils were encouraged to give reasons for their choices and write a story within a story.

This was followed by the main event in Thornden Hall. The whole of year 8 were off timetable for the occasion and were joined by pupils from The Romsey School and Hounsdown School.  His talk on ascent to the top of Mount Everest was very informative and the audience were asked to consider whether they would want to climb Everest when told of the risks/dangers involved, the living conditions, the difficulty getting to base camp and the cost.

Matt has used his experiences to write his ‘Everest Files’ books.

The morning ended with a question and answer session.  To answer one question Matt said it was much harder and in some ways more dangerous coming down Mount Everest than going up.


There was then an opportunity to buy one of Matt’s books and get it signed.

Art Competition for Year 7s

Do you enjoy doodling?

Do you want to see your design in print?

Why not enter the art competition to celebrate the visit of Chris Riddell to Thornden Hall on Tuesday, 7th March 2017.


Design a bookmark on the theme of


in the form of a doodle.

Entries must be hand drawn using colour or black and white pencils only.

Great prizes for winner.

For more information speak to the Librarians or download a template here riddell-template

2Steves at Hamble School

img_9230On Thursday, 10th November, thirteen lucky pupils, chosen by the Learning Skills department, took part in a workshop with popular authors the 2 Steves at Hamble School. They were treated to a fun filled hour, learning how the authors(Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore) started writing and about their various books, even taking part in one of the stories and helping decide the outcome. There was plenty of opportunities to ask questions and our pupils fully participated in this. They ended the session by buying books and having them signed by the authors, then having their photos taken.img_9266

This visit has become an annual event and we thank Hamble School for inviting us once again.

Year 8 Author Visit – Matt Dickinson

On Tuesday, 29th November 2016 we welcome Matt Dickinson to Thornden when he will talk to the whole of Year 8 in Thornden Hall.


Matt is a writer and film maker who has worked extensively for National Geographic Television, the Discovery Channel and the BBC, and has filmed on the summit of Mount Everest. His books include ‘The Death Zone’, an account of the ascent of Everest’s North Face as well as ‘The Everest Files’ and ‘Mortal Chaos’ series for teenagers.


There will be an opportunity to buy a copy of one of Matt’s books and get it signed, so pupils will need to bring money with them on the day.


Jo Cotterell receives the Hampshire Book Award



On Wednesday 2nd November 11 Year 9 pupils were taken to Winchesters Guildhall to witness Jo Cotterell receive The Hampshire Book Award for her novel ‘Looking at the Stars’. They had been judges during Year 8 and had read six books over a period of three months and then voted for their favourite book.

The topical story about the life in a refugee camp for two sisters, who have to survive in appalling conditions, was voted for by the fifty plus Hampshire schools taking part in this award.

Jo Cotterell delivered an entertaining and humorous talk about her life and how she came to be an author. Emphasising the importance of reading and talking about the role of women in today’s society. She also touched on the refugee crisis today and how throughout history, whenever there is a war, refugees are inevitable.

This is a book for today and it proves that young people take the problems of the world seriously, otherwise it wouldn’t have been voted for.

Jo’s talk was followed by an opportunity to buy one of her books and meet her to have it signed.ss100570

To read Jo’s own thoughts on the day click on the following link

Heavenly Hampshire Book Awards!


Andy Briggs Creative Writing Workshop

Between his talks to year 7 and year 6 Andy ran a creative writing workshop for a selected group of year 7’s.  Explaining how to compose a story he likened it to three acts in a play. Act 1 being the beginning, Act 2 the middle and Act 3 the end. He also said you should think of dividing it into a quarter for the beginning, half for the middle and the remaining quarter as the end and you should write about what you know. Then they were divided into groups and  had half an hour to write their own stories. They were told to think about using ideas from their favourite films, genres and TV programmes. All those involved really enjoyed the session and the tips from a published author and script writer.


Below is the story written by Izzy and Maria


My feet skim across the path as my heart hammers in my chest, blood roaring in my ears. I gently place my feet in the turquoise, tranquil sea. A piercing pain shoots up my leg. I slowly lower my head to see a Twifish a stripy fish with razor sharp teeth. My mouth drops as I realise what has happened.

When I awaken the next morning, I slowly heave myself out of bed into the warm summer air. My feet still hurting with a piercing pain. I limp over to my mirror just to see my normal self in front of me, however that’s not what I’m greeted with. My  face is a pale as snow on a winters day and my teeth are as sharp as knives. “I’m, I’m, a ……..vampire?”

I run downstairs frantically, to where the front door is and swing it open. Two hours later and I’m in the sea trying to make this go away when a message in a bottle floats my way. I open it and it says “The only way to escape this curse is to save the Twifish you fear the most.” I must find the Twifish before sunrise…….or I’m like this forever.

I see a fishing boat in the distance. “This must be it”, I say to myself. I reach the side of it, panting with effort, as I see the Twifish from the corner of my eye. I hold it up. Is it too late?

by Izzy and Maria