29 August 2019

We were delighted to welcome George Alagiah, BBC journalist and presenter, to the School. George is the latest speaker in the School's Inspiring Talks Series.

Birkenhead School and Linghams Booksellers in Heswall, recently welcomed the multi award winning journalist and presenter of BBC News at Six, George Alagiah to promote his debut political thriller ‘The Burning Land’. 

George Alagiah at Birkenhead SchoolGeorge worked for ten years as a foreign correspondent at the forefront of world changing events including 9/11 attacks on New York, the genocide in Rwanda, civil wars in Liberia, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, and Nelson Mandela’s presidency. In 2008 he was awarded an OBE for services to journalism.

For a long time, George has held a desire to write a fiction novel and the idea for this book had been germinating for many years. Fiction and storytelling is something George has always kept at the forefront of his journalism, as he believes that fiction allows you to uncover the actual facts and the truth of an event. 

In front of over 140 guests, George read extracts from his new novel and explained the inspiration for his characters and the story. He delved into how he developed his characters during the writing process. The book is set in South Africa, a country that George has a strong affinity towards and lived in for four years. George stressed the key theme of his novel, was the idea of a birth right and how people are inherently connected to the “land, ground and soil” of where they live and were born. He spoke of how it was the very land that has caused and continues to cause people to resort to violence, when the land is disputed over. George spoke of a defining moment in his career when he met Nelson Mandela. A key message that Mandela told him during this interview was how his imprisonment had taught him to “think through his brain and not through his blood”. George hopes that his book echoes this message.

During the question and answer session George gave great insight into his years as a foreign correspondent which range from moving stories of farmers still holding out hope for the prospect of fertile soil during the third year of a drought, to heart-breaking stories of African mothers having to choose which of their children they would feed due to their poverty. George also spoke about his extreme exposure to violence and how he was confronted by a young child holding a Kalashnikov rifle which particularly affected him.

Despite all of the harrowing and tragic events George has witnessed throughout his career, he still believes in the goodness of the human spirit and hopes that his book will be one of optimism. George spoke with great serenity and is a truly inspiring and fascinating person. 

George Alagiah is the latest in a number of high-profile speakers who have recently visited the School as part of the School's Inspiring Talks Series.  Recent guests have included: TV presenter and broadcaster, Kate Humble, author and former MP, Jeffrey Archer, First Admiral Sea Lord Sir Philip Jones and former England Rugby Union player, Graham Rowntree.  

On Friday 4th October, the School is welcoming author Jojo Moyes to showcase her new novel ‘The Giver of Stars’, in conjunction with Linghams and tickets are available for this public event through Linghams by calling 0151 342 7290 or online at www.linghams.co.uk.

Seniors & Sixth Form Open Evening - Thursday 3rd October

To find out about the opportunities available in Seniors and Sixth Form, please come to our Seniors & Sixth Form Open Evening that is taking place on Thursday 3rd October from 5.30pm - 8.30pm. Further information is available online or alternatively by contacting Ms Julie Hopper, Seniors Admissions.

Admissions Contact Information

Seniors Admissions
Ms Julie Hopper
PA to the Headmaster​
0151 651 3009