On Friday 2 December, Fahan School welcomed celebrated Alumna, Francesca Haig, back to the School to conduct a creative writing workshop with the Years 7 and 8 students.
Novelist, poet, and academic, Francesca was delighted to meet with the students and deliver a workshop focused on dystopian fiction.
Francesca, who resides in London, is the author of The Fire Sermon series, published in more than 20 languages. Her first novel, The Fire Sermon, was published in 2015, followed by The Map of Bones, in 2016. The final book in the trilogy, The Forever Ship, will be published in 2017.
Francesca grew up in Tasmania and attended Fahan School in the 1990s. She gained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, and became a senior lecturer in English at the University of Chester. Her poetry has been published in literary journals and anthologies in both Australia and England, and her first collection of poetry, Bodies of Water, was published in 2006. In 2010 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.
Francesca said, "It was a real pleasure to return to Fahan and do the workshop with such an enthusiastic and creative group of girls. It was lovely to work with them and to listen to the great ideas that they came up with."
During the workshop, the girls were challenged to write their own book title along with an accompanying first paragraph. They were then introduced to dystopian fiction and Francesca led them on an exercise that allowed them create a book concept based on dystopian literature. Francesca explained how dystopian fiction has its roots in our real experiences: “Its only a few steps away from reality,” said Francesca.
The girls enjoyed the experience immensely and, at the end of the workshop, relished the opportunity to ask Francesca numerous questions about writing, including how she first became interested in it as a career. “I was one of those kids who knew at a young age, I was just three, that I wanted to become a writer. Writing was always my passion,” said Francesca. The girls also asked how she came up with her book titles. Francesca explained, “A title is a branding and marketing exercise as much as what the book is about.” The girls also asked about the creative process behind the covers, where she gets her ideas from and how long it takes her to write her novels.
Fahan School Principal, Tony Freeman, said “It is always wonderful to welcome our Alumni back to the School to share their knowledge and inspire the girls with stories of their success. It was pleasing to see the girls highly engaged with the activities set out during the workshop.”