Sheila M. Averbuch is a former tech journalist who's interviewed billionaires, hackers and would-be Mars colonists. She writes fiction for middle grade and is bewitched by and suspicious of technology in equal measure. For 2021 she offers virtual school visits, aimed at Primary 5 through S2, talking about her background as a journalist and author of Friend Me – a middle grade thriller about a bulled girl called Roisin whose bully has a bad accident and she starts to worry that her new best friend, who she only knows online, may be responsible.
Sheila provides an insight into the technology in Roisin's life – from her robotic cat to her Alexa-style home assistant – and about Roisin’s experiences getting bullied via direct message and social media, including the ways that Roisin handles this. Sheila’s interactive session includes a reading from the book, role-playing and true-or-false games with students, and a question and answer session, covering themes of cybersafety, anti-bullying and resilience. Sheila’s own journey to publication took 17 years and over 100 rejections before signing a deal with Scholastic.
Sheila is a 2019 awardee of the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Award and has read her work at Portobello Book Festival.
(Photo credit: Rob McDougall)