Inside Authors Live with Marcus Sedgwick

As part of Scottish Book Trust's Schools programme, we work with BBC Scotland Learning to broadcast Authors Live events to schools throughout the country.

Our most recent event featured young adult author Marcus Sedgwick, and we had pupils from three secondary schools along to the BBC in Glasgow to be our live audience. We have asked Claudia and Ben from St Aidan's High School to write about the event, including getting to interview Marcus after the broadcast!


Our Experience of Authors Live

In St. Aidan’s High School there is a book club that we are involved in. Thanks to our librarian, Miss McGough, we discovered the author Marcus Sedgwick. He writes books for young adults and children. The books we have read include The Kiss of Death and My Swordhand is Singing

We were lucky enough to get places to see Marcus Sedgwick at Authors Live, where he talked about his writing, including his most recent novel, The Ghosts of Heaven

A BBC Scotland crew visited our school to give us a taste of what the broadcast would be like


Before the Event – Claudia Kawik

Before the event a BBC Scotland crew -- Christopher, Ross and Johanna, or ‘The Lab’ as they are known -- visited the school to interview some of our book group and give us a taste of what the broadcast would be like. Firstly, we all sat and spoke about ourselves and what book we would recommend to others. After this we were split into groups. One group worked with Johanna on thinking up questions for Marcus. I was in the other group, working on interview skills with Christopher and Ross. 

When the interviews were finished, Chloe Anis and I were pleased to be chosen to interview Marcus. Ben Conlin and Nathaniel Grey were chosen to work on sound and vision.


The Big Day – Claudia Kawik and Ben Conlin

Friday 29 January was the day of the broadcast, and we were all excited travelling into Glasgow to the BBC Scotland Studios with Miss McGough. 

At 11 o’clock the broadcast began and the forty minutes flew by. During the broadcast Marcus spoke about his book, The Ghosts of Heaven. He mentioned how this novel was split into four, smaller stories, each of which is set in a different time. He also spoke about his fascination with spirals and how he worked them into the stories. At one point he even put a spinning spiral on the screen to try and hypnotise us into buying his books! 

Marcus talked about how one of the four stories was inspired by abandoned and derelict psychiatric hospitals all around America. He also spoke about the teenage brain and about a teenage girl who got trapped in a cave and how she created writing. It was very interesting listening to Marcus, especially when he spoke of ancient peoples who spent a lot of time in dark caves and because of the lack of light their minds started projecting images. They later drew these images on to the cave walls and these drawings and symbols have been drawn on caves all over the world.

After his talk Marcus was asked lots of questions about his ideas and where he gets them from. He answered that he has travelled a lot and the things he has seen have inspired him.

Marcus was really nice and friendly, which put us at ease.


Our Interview with Marcus – Ben Conlin

When the event had finished, and after Marcus signed our books, it was the turn of Nathaniel, Claudia, Chloe and I to begin our interview with Marcus. We were nervous and excited, but having Christopher from the Lab team there to help us made us feel more confident. As camera crew, Nathaniel and I said the words we had been taught: 'Stand by', 'Speed' and 'Action', and then the interview began. We interviewed Marcus for about ten minutes and it was a really good experience. Chloe and Claudia asked Marcus about writing horror books and what advice he’d give to young writers. He was really nice and friendly, which put us at ease.  

Before we knew it the interview was over and it was time to return to school. We were all really pleased to have been involved in the interview.

To conclude, it was a fantastic experience to “work” at Authors Live. We loved taking part and would do it all again!


If you’d like to find out about great opportunities and events for schools like Authors Live, sign up to our school newsletters here. Our next Authors Live episode will feature Sir Chris Hoy and his co-author Joanna Nadin!

To hear more from Marcus Sedgwick, watch the full Authors Live episode on demand. The interview which the pupils conducted with Marcus, aided by the BBC Lab Team, is available to watch here.