James Phelan Writing Workshop

Reflection on ‘How to tell a gripping story’

By Joshua Sarlos, Year 8

On Friday 3 September, James Phelan, bestselling author and creator of the popular book series The Last Thirteen, held his second writer’s workshop over Zoom. This workshop was organised by the library staff and was a wonderful opportunity for students to enjoy and learn.

The workshop itself consisted of an introduction by James Phelan and a journey through his life, showing the students key moments from his childhood and the events that he used as inspiration for his stories later in life. James inspired us while speaking about events – like when he decided he wanted to be an author – and everything that happened before he truly set his path to his dream career.

James talked about how he got his first book published and then went on to explain where he draws inspiration for the characters featured in his stories, such as from his real-life close friends and family. Following this, James explained how he believed “writing was the hardest part†and the many stages of editing and review a book goes through before it is published, educating everyone that it may not be as easy as it seems.

Finally, James answered questions from the students, giving them an insight into how he writes, and sharing his knowledge with the participants. He gave tips on how to do things like come up with a good ending, show true character in a tricky situation and how to add better description to your writing.

James Phelan’s writing workshop was an educating and fun experience for everyone who attended. I’m sure that nobody will forget how he inspired them that day.â€


Curious Creatures, Wild Minds

In addition to the enlightening virtual author workshops focusing on suspenseful writing, Book Week 2020 at Whitefriars was celebrated with online quizzes on the CBCA theme of Curious Creatures, Wild Minds. At this time of year, we also highlight the CBCA Shortlisted titles, from which the winners will be announced in late October.

Congratulations to the following students who achieved places in the Book Week quizzes:

  • Garfield Quiz
  • Ben Smith, Year 7
  • John Wilton, Year 9
  • Samuel Ng, Year 8

Dr Seuss Kahoot

  • Fynn Jones, Year 11 – 1st
  • Ryan Nguyen, Year 9 – 2nd
  • Minh Nguyen, Year 12 – 3rd


Mrs Jenny Corbin

Learning Leader – Library


Mrs Cass Andison

Teacher Librarian