Gateway Academy students meet local author on World Book Day

ENGLISH students were recently given a fantastic opportunity to meet local author, Sue Wilsher, as part of their World Book Day celebrations.

Sue grew up in Linford and attended St Clere’s School in Stanford le Hope. Although she didn’t start writing seriously until she was 36, her favourite subject at school was of course English! Sue left school and attended local college, then travelled and worked before going to University as a ‘mature’ student.

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Her first novel, which took two years to write, was rejected by publishers. However, determination, true grit and a new idea saw her second attempt in print. ‘When my ship comes in’ is set in 1959 and is inspired by the Bata shoe factory and Tilbury Docks. Her debut will be swiftly followed by ‘The Empire Girls’, due out in May this year, and set in Tilbury, Grays and Southend. With two more books commissioned, there are many more stories to be told!

The students were enthralled by Sue’s journey and were equally as impressed with her revelation that she is terrified of public speaking, not something that was evident during her speech.

Sue commented “I would like to thank the Gateway Academy for inviting me here today to talk to the English students. They were very engaging and had many questions about the book and the process of writing. I hope it was nice for them to see that, through determination and passion, a local kid can achieve their dreams.”

Mrs Grainne McLaughlin, Head of School, also commented “It was a great experience for our students to listen to Sue, hopefully this has inspired some of our young people to become authors in the future. It is fantastic that Sue is from the local area and we wish her all the best with her upcoming new releases.”

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