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On Wednesday 13th October we were delighted to welcome the award-winning author Tanya Landman to St Mary’s as part of our Donaldson Week activities.

Tanya Landman is the author of more than 40 books for children and young adults and is probably best known for her historical thrillers. Apache was shortlisted for several UK awards and Buffalo Soldier won the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal Award.

Tanya talked to the Fourth Form girls (Years 7, 8 and 9) about her journey to becoming an author, a very eventful journey as she never set out to be a writer! Initially she worked in a bookshop, then moved on to Bristol Zoo, spending many hours dressed up as ‘Kevin the Teddy’. It was at the zoo she met her husband, Rod Burnett, with whom she travelled around the country with their Storybox Theatre. It was after having children that she put her time into writing books. Through her research for Buffalo Soldier, Tanya became aware that what she had learnt as a child about the Native American Indians was not the truth, and it was that which inspired her to write Apache.

Tanya read a couple of extracts from her books before setting the girls a task- the planning of a murder mystery! They had to decide who would make a good victim and put them in the centre of a ‘wheel’ with all the suspects on the ‘spokes’, ensuring each suspect had a motive, the means and the opportunity to commit the crime. The girls then began to create their murder mysteries and they thoroughly enjoyed thinking up ways to murder their victims, who ranged from Boris Johnson to Donald Trump, as well as fictional characters such as Draco Malfoy and a painter who knew she was in danger and painted clues in her paintings…

It was a very inspiring afternoon and one which was enjoyed by all the girls!