Sophie Mackenzie reads her first published story to Sydenham High School pupils

Sydenham High School girls were particularly excited by a visit from an old girl who is also best-selling children’s author, Sophie Mackenzie and were delighted when she read out her very first published story from the school magazine, written when she was just six years old, and forgotten about by her until her visit in March.

She’s the third author to visit the school this term, following visits from both Meg Rosoff and Gemma Malley on World Book Day.

The girls at the Junior School were entranced as Sophie Mackenzie talked to them about how, when she was at school, a teacher stopped her reading out an essay she had written because it was too gruesome, but her friends asked her to carry on after the lesson was over. She explained she realised that she could write what people wanted to read but it still took her a long time before she had the courage to try and then the persistence to finish a novel. There were squeals of even greater excitement when Sophie revealed that there is a third book in the Girl Missing series due out later this year.

After signing books and answering questions from the young audience, Sophie hosted a lunch for eight lucky prize winners from years 5, 6 7 and 8. The girls had won a place at the table by submitting the most imaginative letters explaining why they should be invited to lunch with the author. Amongst the winners was an entry that had created a crime scene in her 3-D letter and another very original letter hinting at a mysterious message from Dahl and Blyton.

Over lunch the older girls were excited to talk about Falling Fast, Sophie’s latest book whilst the younger girls discussed how the characters they loved from Girl Missing would have aged and changed by the third book which comes out later this year.