BBC SCHOOL REPORT NEWSDAY 2014
Prize Winning Author
On Wednesday 12th March, our BBC School Report club went to interview an up-and-coming author, Alex McCall.
Alex was appearing at the Wee Write book festival at the Mitchell Library and we had the opportunity to meet him for an interview.
In 2013, at the age of 19, Alex had his first book published. It’s called ‘Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens’ and was published after Alex won the Kelpie’s book prize. The book is set in Aberdeen and follows a group of children who have to battle robot chickens that have taken over their city.
The St Andrew’s BBC School Report club is a journalism club made up of S2 pupils. We practice news reporting skills like interviewing and writing news reports. We are working towards the ‘News Day’ on the 27th March when over 1,000 school journalism clubs will spend the day reporting on the day’s news.
By the BBC School Report Club
Making the most of Dalmarnock
Create London have been developing an art project in Dalmarnock in the East End of Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Create London is a commissioning programme based in East London and its purpose is to help develop projects and to get young people involved to help express themselves. They mainly focus on arts and recreation projects.
The project in Dalmarnock was to create an adventure play park for the local area and the city. The park has been built on a previously unused site.
The Commonwealth games aims to leave a positive legacy for Glasgow. This project will leave a legacy because it is for the local community. The Commonwealth games will be in Glasgow for less than 2 weeks but projects like this will have a lasting presence.
This project is particularly useful as it will help improve the area as well as leaving a lasting Games’ legacy.
St. Andrew’s Secondary School reporters were on the site of the adventure playground this morning and interviewed Robert Kennedy – a leader of the project…
Interview with Alex McCall
Winner of the Kelpie’s book prize and author of ‘Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens’
What motivated you to write about giant robot chickens?
I was home in Aberdeen for Christmas and was talking to my sister about KFC and I thought, ‘hang on a second, chickens must hate KFC. KFC must be the worst place in the entire world to them…what if a bunch of giant chickens attacked Aberdeen?’ It was really as simple as that. I started jumping up and down and talking about laser eyes and chicken jokes and my sister looked at me like I was insane. That was when I knew I had to write this novel.
How did it feel getting your book published at only 19?
It was amazing. I wanted to be published for ages and I just got into the habit of sending stuff in to different competitions. I wasn’t expecting to win the Kelpie’s Prize because my book was about giant robot chickens. At the prize ceremony someone got up on the stage, opened an envelope and said, ‘The winner is… ‘Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens’ and I can’t remember anything else for about an hour. I had a small panic attack and that is when it hit me. It was very scary but it was very cool.
What did your friends and family think when you won the prize?
They were all thrilled. I’d been talking confidently through the years about becoming a published author, because you have to retain a certain amount of confidence. As a writer you are going to be slapped down again and again and you have to think ‘one day I will make it, one day I will reach the top.’ I’ve always been saying stuff like that so I think part of me expected it, but I don’t think anyone expected it so soon.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes, I just haven’t always been very good at it. I was always writing. I’d be watching something on TV and get a spark of inspiration and I’d dash upstairs and write the best paragraph ever known to mankind. Then I’d start to get bored and would start reading a book or playing a game and so it would never get touched again. Thinking back to some of those ideas, that’s probably a good thing. Writing has always been my hobby and then I thought I’m ok at this, I might as well do it for a living.
If you write another book will it be for children or adults?
If I just write another book it will probably be for teenagers because that’s what I was writing up until now. Although, writing for children is a wee bit trickier than writing for teenagers because now I can’t just kill everyone every time they get into an awkward situation. You actually have to think a bit more. So writing for kids is a lot of fun and quite challenging but the next thing will be for teenagers.
Where do you see yourself in ten years and do you still want to be a writer?
I do want to be a writer, which is why I’m doing a filmmaking and screenwriting course at the moment. Whatever I’m doing in ten years’ time, I want to be writing. Wherever I’ll be, it will be with a notebook in one hand.
We have only four months left until the big day arrives. Glasgow will be hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. There has been a huge change in how Glasgow is being presented. New buildings, new roads and new monuments. Preparations for the day are almost finished. Some of our locals aren’t very happy with the new set up. Residents are being thrown out of their own homes so that the old buildings can be replaced with new ones.
A local resident Margaret Jaconeli was refusing to move out and her home had been vandalised. For 8 years she stood her ground, refusing to move out. After the long fight she decided to move out of her house so that the new buildings could go ahead.
In the end there will be great benefits. There would be a better road system which would make the transport quicker. There would also be many new buildings, and refurbished buildings. But the community needs to be involved in the changes right from the start.
By the BBC School Report Group...
Erin, Hope, Ebony, Natasha, Sarah, Georgia, Dariusz, Zachary and Declan