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Our students have had two great experiences in Term 1 with visits by Nick Earls and Terry Whidborne and an evening event with Pat Flynn and Peter Canarvas.

Nick and Terry spoke to the Years 6 and 7 boys about their series Word Hunters. This is a tale of Lexi and Al Hunter, twins with almost nothing in common. At school Lexi hangs with her friends, while Al hides in the library reading about history, battles and faraway places. When the twins stumble upon an old dictionary their world as they know it changes. They are blasted into history to hunt down the words that threaten to vanish from our past and our present. Their lives and the future of the world are at stake. Can they find a way back home? Or will they be trapped in the past? For once, they’ll need to depend on each other if they want to survive.

The presentation was very entertaining and the boys enjoyed the mix of fantasy, history and language. A number of boys volunteered to put their language skills to the test by participating in an activity which required them to name objects and places from the past.

Pat and Peter have created a book called My Totally Awesome Story and their presentation to boys and parents involved sharing parts of the story as well as ideas for writing.  Their book follows 13-year-old Duane as he reluctantly fills his school writing journal with stories about his life – including crashing his motorbike, playing pranks with his best mate Meatball, and chasing the affections of Jackie. Duane illustrates his writing with over 100 funny drawings, and the teacher, Miss Wright, comments on and corrects Duane’s work, something he doesn’t always appreciate!

The performance, which featured drawing by Peter to accompany the commentary, was most impressive. The evening concluded with many boys purchasing the book so they could read more of Duane’s adventures and get some more writing tips along the way.





Year 6s at Somerset


Last week a group of keen Year 6 students travelled to the annual Somerset Celebration of Literature on the Gold Coast. The day was most entertaining and the boys attended sessions with four different authors. Tristan Bancks, Felice Arena, Charlie Carter and James Roy all shared insights into their writing. Their passion for their work was inspiring and they engaged well with the audience.  The boys were able to ask questions and there were even some prizes won!

The four authors chosen varied in style from humorous to more serious and this was reflected in their presentations. Regardless, all were informative and the boys were exposed to subject matter ranging from historical /science fiction stories with Battle Boy by Charlie Carter to sport and humour with Felice Arena’s Specky Magee  and Stick Dudes. A highlight was watching Arjun dance like a robot!

It was a day full of books with many of the boys making purchases and eagerly reading them in the bus on the way home.


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Matthew Reilly at BGS


Last Friday night many of our students and staff were among nearly 600 people who enjoyed a fabulous night with Matthew Reilly, who was touring in Brisbane following the launch of his latest book Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves.  Among many other things, he spoke about the Bradbury Principle:  ” Never give up. Never say die. You are always in the race.”  (Based on Steven Bradbury’s ice-skating win at the Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, 2002)

While this could succinctly describe all of Matthew’s main characters, it is also a reflection of his own life. At the age of 19 he had already written his first novel, Contest, but could not find a publisher. Determined not to let that stop him, he self-published his book, which was subsequently read by a publishing rep. From there he has become one of the most popular writers in Australia for teenage boys, and has inspired hundreds of BGS boys to develop a love for reading.  While speaking with some of our senior boys, he reminded them that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at something, and encouraged them to never give up on their dreams.



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Good Things Come in Threes


Our Middle School boys have been very fortunate during the past two weeks to have had three amazing authors come to speak to them.

Brian Falkner was the first to visit, and he talked to the Year 8s about how he became an author and how he finds inspiration for his stories. As part of his performance he invited students to participate and this proved to be most entertaining! One of Brian’s books, Brainjack, explores a future where technology has moved forward and neuro-headsets have replaced computer keyboards. In a demonstration of this, one of the boys had his brain ‘scanned’ and it was interesting to see just what was on the mind of a Year 8 student!!  A number of boys also enthusiastically participated in a cola taste-testing competition which was straight from the pages of Brian’s book The Real Thing.

The next author to visit was Christine Bongers who worked with a small group of keen writers in Years 6 and 7. The boys participated in workshops as well as independent writing sessions, and this enabled them to hear feedback about their work from a published author. This was a very motivating experience and the boys left eager to continue their stories. Christine will be back in Term 4 to assist them further and also to talk to all the boys in Years 6 and 7.

Our final visitor was the very popular Andy Griffiths who addressed the Years 6 and 7 boys. Andy is an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an organisation which raises funds to help purchase and supply culturally appropriate books and literacy resources to over 200 remote communities around Australia. The boys thoroughly enjoyed Andy’s talk and the stories of his experiences working with Aboriginal children.  This year, a major focus of the ILF is the Great Book Swap and the Middle School is proud to be taking part in this next week.


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Somerset Authors Wow Boys

Last Friday Ms Palmer, Ms Ragen and Mrs Oxley took  55 keen, enthusiastic Year 6 and 9 boys to the 18th Somerset Celebration of Literature, held each year at Somerset College at Mudgeeraba. This is an event that draws authors, illustrators and book lovers to the Gold Coast each year, and the boys had a very memorable day listening to an inspiring range of different authors.

The Year 6  boys attended sessions led by Andy Griffiths, one of our most popular and humorous authors; Richard Newsome, author of The Billionaire’s Curse and The Emerald Casket; Sue Whiting, author of Get a Grip Cooper Jones and Brian Falkner, author of The Real Thing and Project.  Year 9 students attended sessions with the immensely popular  Matthew Reilly; James Phelan, author of the exciting Alone series; fantasy writer Fiona McIntosh; and Randa Abdel-Fattah, author of Does My Head Look Big in This? and Noah’s Law.


The boys had a wonderful time as they were exposed to such a variety of talent in such a short time. A highlight of the day was the bookshop where the boys were able to obtain signatures of their favourite writers and these will be long-treasured items in their personal libraries.

Comments from the boys showed that they enjoyed the experience, and we hope they now feel inspired to read more and even try their hand at writing their own stories:

“Listening to Matthew Reilly, you feel as if you could achieve anything – even ordinary people.” (Noah, Year 9)

“This was a great day which changed my opinion about authors and reading.” (Eddie, Year 9)

“It was interesting seeing and hearing the substance behind the author – not just a photo in the back of a book.” (Nick, Year 9)

“Fiona McIntosh was very funny, and painted a picture very memorably. I’m looking forward now to reading Myrren’s Gift.” (Aiden, Year 9)

“I was really interested to go and meet all these famous authors and hear their ideas, especially Andy Griffiths – he used humour to bring his stories to life. It was a great experience.” (Daniel, Year 6)

“Somerset was really awesome because Andy Griffith kept me ‘cracking up’ all day.” (Sam, Year 6)

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Surfing Authors Visit Grammar


Two authors who love to surf have recently worked with our Middle School boys on honing their writing skills. Pat Flynn loves to start his day with a surf, and is the author of 14 books, while Tim Baker has been editor of Australia’s two leading surfing magazines, Tracks and Surfing Life, written four books on surfing and edited an anthology of Australian surf writing.

Pat Flynn, an ex-teacher turned writer, worked with boys in Years 6 and 7 over a number of lessons at the end of last term and the beginning of this one. The purpose was to give some expert advice on writing short stories to a small group of keen writers. The boys spent some sessions with Pat and others just drafting their stories, ready to bring them back for more input. Pat proved to be a most skilful and entertaining teacher, and the boys worked feverishly to produce some truly outstanding work.

Tim Baker is a surfing journalist and author, and boys at the Year 8 Writers’ Workshop, organised by the English Department, enthusiastically soaked up his advice on how to write short stories and interview their peers. Tim has interviewed famous Australian surfers many times, and he was able to give the boys many tips on interviewing techniques, meticulous recording of details, and how to find a “hook” to draw readers into the story.

Most of Pat’s and Tim’s books can be found in our Libraries, along with the books below. These are some of the most recent books published for teenage boys, and were promoted to the Year 8 Literature Circles boys last week by a local bookseller.

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