English: Local Author Caroline Coxon Visits First Year Classes
Caroline Coxon, author of young adult novel "Of Night and Light", visited First Year classes at Bede's on 9th December to explore writing from unusual perspectives.
Mrs Coxon, whose first novel was published in June, has worked as a professional writer for several years, including for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Commonwealth Games.
Her book, which came out of an award-winning screenplay, started off as a pastiche of Thomas Mallory's Morte d'Arthur and involves a curse passed down through the female line of a family.
"My father was a writer," Mrs Coxon explained, "around being a GP, so I suppose that must be where my writing genes come from. His autobiography, Too Much Tenderness, was a real inspiration."
Born and raised in Northampton, Mrs Coxon started her writing at Liverpool University where she studied English and Philosophy. After graduating, she spent several years working as a specialist SEN teacher for Chailey Heritage, amongst other schools, before writing came calling.
"I ended up working as a Leading Literacy teacher in Kent, writing the curriculum, and out of that came a screenplay about a child with autism. That opportunity opened up a world of professional writing, including writing copy for Travelex, Virgin and The Fairtrade Foundation."
Having spent years applying for competitions through a range of online and physical publications, honing her craft, something about Of Night and Light struck a chord.
"I submitted the novel to dozens of publishers. One would say, 'It's too much like what's already out there' and then another would say, 'Oh, it's too different to what's out there.' It was infuriating, but that's writing. You have to love it."
The sessions Mrs Coxon ran at Bede's were about writing from the perspective of a teenage girl - the kind of challenge laid down by many professional writing competitions.
"You'll be given a place, a person and an object," Mrs Coxon explained, "and you will have to write something around those three specifics. The kinds of tasks pupils are engaging with in their English lessons at Bede's are remarkably similar to what you would find in the wider world."
These First Year sessions herald the arrival of the annual Short Story Competition, which will take place next term.