On 3rd December Joanna Trollope, best-selling author of 17 novels, joined us for a lunch in the spectacular surroundings of the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey. 220 guests enjoyed a delicious lunch and then listened to Joanna, who has worked for many years to further the cause of good literacy, deliver a speech on the difficulties of turning today's children into fluent readers. Joanna feels that a culture has developed in the playground - and in some cases even in homes - that sees reading an uncool, and that scorns children who work hard at their reading. For Joanna dispelling these attitudes and providing reading support for each and every child that needs it are crucial steps towards achieving good literacy for all.
Joanna went on to talk about her own writing; she revealed that she always writes in longhand, picking up whatever pen is closest - she admits pilfering biros from hotel rooms when in dire need. She mines real situations for plot ideas, then works up her first few chapters in detail. Next she writes the concluding chapters of each book, and once the beginning and end are securely down, she lets the middle bits 'write themselves'. Our guests loved meeting Joanna, who kindly signed lots of her books, and we are most grateful to her for giving up her time to support us.