Students from Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy enjoyed an inspiring talk from a top author and screenwriter whose books are set to be made into a TV series.

Andy Briggs wrote the series and the young adult novels, which are due to be televised.

Mr Briggs’ career began working on story development for Highlander:The Series in 1991. Since then he has worked alone and with brother Peter on a number of projects, including the Stan Lee and Robert Evans’ Paramount Pictures’ project Foreverman. Other TV work has included story development for the Sci-Fi Channel, BKN Kids and Disney XD as well as writing a new series of young adult Tarzan novels.

He visited Heanor Gate Science College the day after flying into the UK from China to talk to students from across Derbyshire about his career and give them some tips.

After introducing students to his books, he asked how many of them enjoyed reading and writing.

Mr Briggs said: “When I was at school I didn’t really enjoy reading so I started off reading comics and then worked my way up to novels and books. I want to show you how writing can be cool. With my Tarzan books I got to bring Tarzan back to life and I had a great time doing that.

“I’ve also had to do lots of research for my books. When I was writing about elephants I went to Africa and rode on an elephant, I went to see a volcano when I was researching what it’s like to live near an active one. I wanted to know what a gorilla smells like so I went and found out. When I needed to know what it was like to be a spy for a non-fiction series for Lonely Planet I got to sit down with real-life spies and ask them lots of questions. Writing is an awesome job and I’ve had a lot of fun travelling around the country and the world.”

Mr Briggs talked about the team of people who helped to create a book and how they supported each other through the process.

OIEA student Chad Fowkes, 11, said he found Mr Briggs’ talk inspirational and entertaining.

He said: I thought it was really funny and I’m looking forward to reading his books now. I enjoy reading, especially non-fiction, but I would like to read a bit more fiction.”

Polly Thornley, Learning Resource Manager at OIEA who arranged the trip, said: “We were invited to Heanor Gate to share in Andy Briggs’ wonderful presentation. I really like to encourage our students to attend these events as it inspires many of them to read different genres and appreciate that reading can be for pleasure and not just something that has to be done in school. They learnt from Andy what an amazing job he now has simply because he loved to read and write.”

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