author visits Concord

Thursday October 5, 2017

An author has been talking to Form 3 and 4 students at Concord about a book it took him 12 years to have published. Ninety students were given a presentation by Martin Stewart, author of Riverkeep, which was published in April 2016 and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and Branford Boase Award as well as longlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Despite it taking 12 years to have the book published, he completed the writing of the 80,000 word book in just four months. He spoke to the students during workshop sessions about the pursuit of a long term ambition and the process of 12 years of developing his skills. “I received a very passionate reaction to the pursuit of ambition and working towards that with serious dedication,” said Martin, who has previously worked as an English teacher. He used his own manuscripts to illustrate the process of editing and developing writing skills and told students how ideas can come from a process of using images as inspiration for writing. “I think everyone has a book in them – it is like a personal ambition,” he said. Riverkeep is inspired by the rivermen of the Glasgow Humane Society and how a 14 year old boy accompanied his father, a Riverkeep, in a row boat on the River Clyde where they recovered a body. George Parsonage, now in his mid 70’s, took over from his father as a riverman on the Clyde, looking for people in trouble or recovering bodies. He subsequently rescued about 1,000 people and recovered about 1,500 bodies from the river in the row boat which is now in the Glasgow Transport Museum. Said Concord’s Head of English Phil Woods:  “Martin’s visit is part of our on-going ‘Big Read’ English Department and Library initiative to encourage our students to see the joy and importance of reading.”