Jonathan Stroud, author of Lockwood & Co. and the Bartimaeus Sequence and founder of the creativity campaign, Freedom to Think, visited Sibford School near Banbury to chat to pupils about his writing, ghosts and the fact that, contrary to popular belief, you can tell a book by its cover!
The award winning author spent many years working as an editor for Walker Books before having his first novel published in1999. However, it wasn’t until the publication of the first Bartimaeus book, The Amulet of Samarkand, in 2003 that he gained popular acclaim.
The series, which features a grumpy, sarcastic djinni, has sold more than 7 million copies in 36 languages worldwide … which is where, Stroud told his audience, the design of the cover becomes critical.
“The cover should be irrelevant,” he said “But no, if your cover is bad, people will not pick it up because they are too busy looking at other stuff. Cover is key, but it needs to be completely different in each country because different nationalities like different things.”
Stroud read from The Hollow Boy, the third book in his Lockwood & Co series about ghost hunters in modern day London, and explained some of the difficulties in writing ghost stories ‘because its been done a million times before’. He also introduced his audience to some of the essential tools of a modern day ghost hunter including dark glasses, chains and a tool belt.
Speaking after the talk Sibford pupil Seamus, aged 13, said “Jonathan was really enthusiastic and very captivating. I thought the whole presentation was great and I’m sure his books will be the same.”
Sibford School pupils from Years 5 – 8 were joined for the talk by pupils from Sibford Gower Endowed Primary School, Shenington Primary and Wroxton Primary.