7th April 2021 — Pupils at Downe House enjoyed an uplifting and inspirational celebration of writing when they were joined by four writers who all have strong links with the school – three alumnae and one former member of staff – to talk about their career paths and love of writing.
The Celebration of Writing panel included author and broadcaster, Clare Balding (DH 1988); author in two genres under two different names, Cesca Major (DH 2000); Guardian columnist, Marina Hyde (DH 1992) and the author of both Adult and Young Adult fiction, Virginia Macgregor (former Teacher of English at Downe House and AGN Housemistress).
The virtual event began with Clare Balding announcing the winners of the Downe House Seniors' Association Short Story competition and a very special moment for the overall winner, Poppy in the Upper Sixth, who had an impromptu one-to-one discussion with Clare Balding about her winning story, Next.
In the conversation that followed, the four writers answered and discussed a series of questions posed by the girls and staff on what inspires them, how they became writers, their top tips for budding writers, their biggest challenge – and their favourite memories of Downe House.
Virginia MacGregor said: "Spending a few hours yesterday, albeit virtually, talking with a group of women writers I admire to a school full of young women and their awesome teachers, gave me a real lift and reminded me why I do what I do, why I love it so much and also that there are brighter days ahead."