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A group of pupils visited the Central Library in Manchester where they listened to the teen author and award winning writer Alan Gibbons talk about his book Hate. The book is based on the Sophie Lancaster story and explores issues based on prejudice and discrimination.

Alan Gibbons was inspired to write his book Hate by the horrific murder of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster in Bacup, Lancashire. Sophie was assaulted and killed because of the way she dressed. In his new book a gay character is under threat of a hate crime.

Alan explained: “The moment I met Sophie's mother Sylvia and heard her story I felt an immediate affinity with Sophie. I wore my hair long in the Sixties, was a punk in the Seventies and, like many youngsters, faced my fair share of ridicule, though nothing like the horrific hostility meted out on Sophie and her boyfriend Rob.”

“The pupils listened whilst Alan explained about the inspiration for his work, he also read from his book Hate,” commented Mr Jamie Sharrock from Saint Paul’s. “The pupils were fascinated by the hard-hitting story about love and hate, prejudice and forgiveness, inspired by a real event. Alan urged the students to explore their creative side and encouraged any aspiring writers to read and gain inspiration from the world around them.”

Executive Head Teacher, Mr Tony Billings, said: ““Research shows that when children have actually met and made a personal connection with an author, they are much more inclined to read the author’s work and, above all, it inspires their love of books and the written word. Alan brought to life the magic of books and the joy of reading. Our pupils were fascinated by his talk and keen to get on and read some of his books.”

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