Julia Gray – year 7 virtual author event

Embracing the technology of Zoom on the day after Ada Lovelace Day 2020, year 7 students were treated to a virtual author event with Julia Gray about her new book I, Ada.

Having written two other YA novels and eleven picture books for children, Julia was asked by her publishers Andersen Press to research and write an account of Ada Lovelace’s younger years. I, Ada is the story of Ada’s childhood from the age of five to twenty-one

Julia wondered how the girl born in December 1815 became the visionary who wrote the world’s first machine algorithm aged twenty-six when working with Charles Babbage.

Starting with Ada’s parents Annabelle Milbanke and Lord Byron, Julia began her research into Ada’s childhood,  spending a lot of time reading at the British Library and the Bodleian Libraries, where the archive of the Noel, Byron and Lovelace families is held.

Julia found that Ada’s mother, herself very well educated for a woman at that time, had high expectations of her daughter and from the age of five Ada was subject to a rigid structure of lessons, with punishments for not behaving as required.

In addition to the story of Ada’s growth from young girl to woman and the meeting with Charles Babbage and other mentors I, Ada tells of the conflicting emotions of the young Ada – desperate to please her mother, curious and interested in everything, determined and resilient, but also passionate, imaginative and creative, wanting to run free.

Year 7s undertook a brief creative task describing the sensory world of a historical character to share with Julia before a Q&A session via the chat option on Zoom.

To celebrate the publication of I, Ada and as a celebration of Ada as a symbol for all women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics Julia has also recorded a number of podcast interviews with extraordinary women in science today.

Find out more about Julia’s podcast interviews here: rADAr


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