14 December 2020

On Friday 11th December, Prep pupils were delighted to attend a Zoom webinar with children’s author Sibéal Pounder, along with 25 other schools across the country, totalling 6000 children. Sibéal discussed her new novel “Tinsel” - the story of a young girl called Blanche Claus (Mrs Claus). Sibéal is the author of the bestselling Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series of books. Her debut, Witch Wars, was shortlisted for ‘Sainsbury's Children's Book Award’ and ‘Waterstones Children's Book Prize’. 

Her latest book ‘Tinsel’ focuses on the story of a young girl called Blanche Claus, and asks the question: what if a long time ago we all got the Santa story a bit wrong? Sibéal wanted to celebrate the character of Mrs Claus, whom she stated is quite often “forgotten” at Christmas time.  

During the Zoom webinar, Sibéal read the first chapter of her new novel, introducing Mrs Claus as a young girl who wasn’t particularly fond of Christmas - until she receives her first Christmas present from a stranger. This random act of kindness sparks the beginning of Blanche’s Christmas journey.  

Sibéal went on to present a fun and interactive Christmas quiz with the pupils. They thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the music round where they were asked to guess the Christmas song being played ‘poorly’ on the recorder. Sibéal concluded her webinar with a Q&A. She gave tips on how to become an author, explained how long it took her to complete her novel and talked about her favourite authors. 

Sibéal described how she became an author - she told the pupils that she has had a love of storytelling from a young age and would tell them to her parents and friends. She enjoyed using her imagination to create fantasy worlds where her characters' adventures would take place. It wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she began believing that she could be an author for a living - she was previously writing for a newspaper.  She hopes to inspire children to write stories, and if they have a passion for it, to pursue a career in storytelling without reservation.  

Sibéal is the latest speaker in the School’s Inspiring Talks Series, which sees high-profile individuals visit the School to speak to students and the wider community.  Recent guests have included: Konnie Huq, Lisa Williamson, George Alagiah, Nikki Henderson, Joe Wicks and Old Birkonian and former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones.