Top children's author shares life lessons with pupils

Fri, 29 Jun 2018

Award-winning children’s writer Horatio Clare shared life lessons with pupils during a very powerful and thought-provoking appearance at the Monmouth Literary Festival.

Mr Clare touched on topics from his childhood and working life, to depression and how to deal with it as part of a fascinating story-telling session.

Appearing as part of the Monmouth Literary Festival, a unique collaboration between Monmouth School for Girls, Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth Comprehensive School, Mr Clare talked about his experiences growing up in the ‘wilds of Wales’ where he learned to live with the birds and animals. After observing them and enjoying their characters, the animals later appear in the Aubrey books as the animals of Rushing Wood.

Mr Clare also spoke of the wonderful opportunities that journalists have to meet extraordinary people and to travel in unusual ways. He said that so long as you keep a cool head and a warm heart you will find that nearly everyone – from whatever race religion or background will welcome you as a stranger, will want to help you and be kind.

His tale of a journey through Africa following swallows on their migration was particularly well-received. One pupil said their favourite part of the talk was: “the story of the swallows through Africa, meeting helpful strangers on the way and the fear of catching Ebola from a dead pig followed by a small boy’s joy convincing them all that the pig was fine.” 

Mr Clare also revealed how he learned from his mother that life should be treated a as big adventure, but that he had also inherited a tendency towards depression. He spoke from experience about the disabling effect it has, but also about ways of dealing with it and the necessity of remembering that it does go away.

Pupil Bailey said: “I liked his description of depression as a bristly worm in the stomach, fluttering birds in the chest and an iron hat on his head.”

Speaking about the event, Mr Clare said he enjoyed meeting the very outgoing and open pupils. He added that he loved the atmosphere between pupils and staff and enjoyed the chance to have several informal chats to teachers and pupils.