We welcomed local author Sita Brahmachari to speak about how books can change the world. Sita's novels (Artichoke Hearts, Jasmine Skies, Red Leaves, Tender Earth) involve a contemporary, North London family, but include powerful messages about immigration, racism, homelessness and mental health challenges. In an assembly led by 6th formers Molly Foster and Hannah Krabbe-Krivine, we explored how Sita drew inspiration from her father, who came to this country in the 1960s, her grandmother, who was a political activist and protestor, and her own children, growing up in complex times. Why make time to read? Sita said that reading fiction gives a safe space to explore these issues, and develops our empathy so we see other people not as "different" but as worthy of our respect and understanding. This can lead to constructive social action – and kindness.
Sita is also an Amnesty International ambassador. Stella, Year 7, read from the Amnesty International anthology Here I Stand: Speaking for Freedom where 25 famous authors have addressed human rights issues in short stories. Sita's story, "Stay Home" focusses on a young carer. At lunchtime, we also ran a pop-up Amnesty International desk with a school petition to support cases highlighted in their December Write for Rights campaign.
Sita also led a Creative Writing workshop with some 6th form English students, encouraging them to start writing in order to find their voice. Literary Society will be talking about Books that Changed the World, and there is a competition for students to nominate and review a book that has changed their perspective.
Finally, some Year 7 students had an opportunity to Meet the Author in the Library at lunchtime, where she talked about her latest novels, Red Leaves and Tender Earth.
This was an inspiring and thought-provoking event, with fantastic contributions from Latymer students. We hope that it will inspire many of them to read widely and to become active global citizens.
Images from left to right:
Latymer students in a Q and A session with Sita Brahmachari
Year 7 student reading from "Stay Home" by Sita Brahmachari
Year 13 English students Creative Writing workshop
Year 7 students Meet the Author in the Ashworth Library
Sita at our Amnesty noticeboard for Write for Rights
Students signing Write for Rights school petition