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Library Events

 The Hunt for our Patron of Reading is over!

In July we waved a reluctant goodbye to the fabulous Jo Cotterill and found ourselves in need of a new Patron of Reading to keep alive a love of reading and writing throughout Burford School. After some long and lengthy deliberation, we are delighted to announce that, not only do we have a new Patron of Reading, but we have two!

Our new Lower School Patron of Reading is local author Ian Johnstone Ian writes middle year fantasy fiction, and has so far released two books in his Mirror Chronicles trilogy, with the third due in 2018-19. Ian has many years of experience in publishing and will bring a knowledgeable and encouraging voice to his talks and workshops for Years 7, 8 and 9.



Our new Upper School and Sixth Form Patron of Reading is not-so-local author Martin Stewart Martin’s debut novel Riverkeep had a path to publication as unique as Martin’s literary voice, and it has made the longlist for a number of awards including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. His new novel for young adults The Sacrifice Box will be released in January of 2018. Martin lives in Glasgow, and in addition to visits to Burford School will be interacting with classes remotely via Skype.



We can’t wait to share these remarkable authors with our students and look forward to welcoming them both back to Burford School.

Current & forthcoming events

Mrs Count, Assistant Librarian, hosts the Creative Writing Club at lunchtime on Thursdays, with workshops on various subjects from point of view to flash fiction to evoking emotion through setting. All are welcome, including staff.




6 December: Jim Kay – the man who brings Hogwarts to life!

Jim Kay will be with us to talk about the challenging task of illustrating the Harry Potter books – with tips and techniques for our artists and ‘all things Potter’ for our Hogwarts enthusiasts.  He will be signing copies of the latest illustrated volume – The Prisoner of Azkaban.


Recent Events


Thursday 9 November 2017: Oxfordshire Book Awards 2017

The 2017 Oxfordshire Book Awards were a great success, with thirteen Burford School students attending Oxford High School to see their favourite authors and illustrators speak. We enjoyed everything from an only slightly inappropriate reading by comedian/author David Baddiel to a literal hug-fest with former Burford School Patron of Reading Jo Cotterill, who took home the prize of Best Secondary Novel for her book A Library of Lemons.

We were also treated to a sneak preview of next year’s longlist with a talk from writer and illustrator of Thornhill Pam Smy, and had a look into the life of one of our new Patrons of Reading Ian Johnstone and his fantasy trilogy The Mirror Chronicles.

Afterward, we celebrated the day with cake, then vanquished the crowds to buy books from Blackwell and have them signed by the authors. It was a brilliant day and we are extremely excited to start reading for next year’s awards.


Tuesday 10 October: Author visit – Ian Johnstone

Ian Johnstone, author of  the Mirror Chronicles, visited the library on Tuesday 10 October and ran two workshops for Years 7 and 8.  Ian has travelled widely whilst working in publishing and he and his family have gathered many interesting artefacts.  These he used to great effect when students delved through the straw in his magic ‘Shop of Things’ to find something to inspire their story writing skills.

The students were asked to imagine: What could the objects be?  Where might they be from? What might they be capable of doing? Following the writing exercise, there was a general clamour to look at Ian’s books in The Mirror Chronicles series and buy signed copies.  As he is an Oxford-based author, we are hopeful that Ian will return to visit us again soon.


Friday 6 October: Author visit: Lockwood & Co come to Burford

On Friday 10 October, bestselling author Jonathan Stroud visited Burford School, along with a member of Penguin Books and a team from Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford.  He came to talk to students in Years 8 & 9 about his newest book in the Lockwood & Co series, The Empty Grave.

Jonathan began by signing books in the Library during the lunch period where he was mobbed by admiring fans – students, staff and our former Patron of Reading!  Speaking to around 400 students after lunch, most from Burford but also some from Chipping Norton School, he started his talk by playing a trailer to one of his books. It was a great way to begin and as the lights went out and everyone began to scream the perfect atmosphere was created. The students were hooked for the next hour.

People always want to know how an author became a writer and Jonathan explained that he’d started at about the age of 10.  He showed the students some examples of his early writing efforts – an effective way to illustrate how long the journey had been, from enthusiastic primary school boy, through editor in London to his current position as a highly successful author loved across the world.

He read a short piece from the first Lockwood & Co book The Screaming Staircase, before kitting out one of our Year 8 students in everything one needs to hunt ghosts. He then finished the hour with a busy question and answer session and a further book signing in the Library.


Tuesday 26 September: Author entertains Year 8 students

On Tuesday 26 September visiting author, Ben Davis, entertained Year 8s with tales of embarrassing relatives, followed by a collaborative effort in creating Burford’s very own mortifying socks-with-sandals-wearing grandfather. Ben then topped off the morning by hosting a book sale and signing of his popular Private Blog of Joe Cowley series.




Creative Writing Workshop at Burford Festival

The Burford School Creative Writing Club was treated to a special event with top literary agent, Catherine Clark, who gave a talk on the publishing process and what it takes to get published in this highly competitive world.  In addition she answered questions from the audience on what goes in to taking a book from manuscript to reader.





Carnegie Day 2017

The Carnegie Conference took place on 20 June. Students met at Chipping Norton School with three other schools for a day of presentations, quizzes, and a particularly difficult round of Just a Minute, and had a chance to vote for their favourite Carnegie shortlisted book. Team Salt to the Sea took home the prize for winning book and best presentation. The shield is now proudly on display at Burford School Library.


Reading Week 2017

In March we kept busy with a jam-packed reading week, featuring visits by authors Jo Cotterill and Martin Stewart, as well as a Team Book Quiz, New Book Sale, and Poetry Slam.




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