Authors Live from the Archives: Secondary

Since 2010, we've been working with BBC Scotland Learning on Authors Live, a fantastic project which brings the biggest names in children's and young adult fiction right into classrooms and libraries for young people to enjoy through digital author events. Seven years on, we have now reached 60 broadcasts featuring authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers. We love bringing Authors Live to life, and schools seem to love it too with fans tuning in from every local authority in Scotland, plus elsewhere in the UK too. To celebrate reaching 60 broadcasts, we wanted to dig out some of our favourites from the archive for you to enjoy, because all of our past broadcasts can be watched any time through our Watch On Demand Library!

We have already shared our highlights for lower and upper primary pupils. In this final blog post, here are 5 great events for secondary pupils. We hope that you and your pupils enjoy discovering (or rediscovering) these great events!


Charlie Higson S1-3

Charlie HigsonLet’s kick things off with a fantastic broadcast featuring Charlie Higson, and an audience of zombies – or teenagers who look strikingly zombie-like, at the very least. Charlie joined us for Authors Live back in 2010 to speak about his scary series The Enemy, which is a great pick for reluctant readers and horror fans alike. To hear more about the impact of Charlie’s books on one pupil, read our blog post from Julie Miller on how his books helped her bond with her son.

Bessora & Sarah Ardizzone S3-6

A broadcast set a bit closer to reality and current issues is our conversation with author Bessora and translator Sarah Ardizzone about their graphic novel Alpha: Abidjan to Gare du Nord. Bessora and Sarah offer fascinating insights to their creative process in telling the story of one man’s desperate journey from North Africa to Europe in the context of the current refugee crisis. The cross-curricular relevance of this broadcast is endless, covering modern studies, modern foreign languages and history to name a few. If you are interested in exploring the book further with a class, the Alpha website has some great ideas in their teachers' notes.

Anthony Horowitz S1-2

Back in 2015, Anthony’s Alex Rider series was celebrating its 15th anniversary, and today it’s just as popular and iconic as it was then. There’s loads of interesting insider information packed into this 40 minute event, from the initial idea for the series, to the inspiration for the various gadgets which feature in the books. Anthony also offers some great writing tips too, so if you've got some budding authors in your class, they can pick up some great advice. You can also point your young writers towards our What's Your Story programme, offering feedback on their work and the opportunity to be published in an online magazine!

Malorie Blackman S1-4

Malorie BlackmanWe have had a fair few Children’s Laureates join us for Authors Live, including Malorie Blackman, author of the bestselling Noughts and Crosses series. In our conversation with Malorie, she touches on so many important issues to readers and writers today, from diversity in books to the importance of libraries, and how she has been able to tackle important issues in her writing. Our learning resources for Malorie's event offer pupils some great activities to help pupils share their opinions on issues they feel strongly about, from writing a political speech to creating a news broadcast.  

Authentic Teens in YA S3-6

To finish, here's a more recent broadcast which is a real celebration of the dynamic young adult literature genre. In October 2017, we brought together bestselling authors Non Pratt and Melvin Burgess and book vlogger Jean Menzies to talk about how teenagers are represented in books. We had so much on the agenda, from heroism and language to technology and relationships, this is definitely an event you won't want to miss. If you watch it with your pupils, be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter #BBCAuthorsLive.

So there you have it, 5 brilliant broadcasts to get secondary pupils thinking about reading and writing, and eager to start their next book. If you would like to discover what other broadcasts are hiding in our Watch on Demand library, why not explore what we have on offer for yourself.

If you want to experience the extra excitement of tuning in to Authors Live, make sure you register to watch our upcoming panel event featuring Alex Wheatle, Ayisha Malik and Dave Hook, who will be discussing the unheard voices in the writing industry and why it's important for young people to make their voices heard.