On Monday 5th February, Mount Mercy’s Junior Book Club hosted the visit of Jane Mitchell the author of the novel Chalkline. This is a prescribed novel on the Junior Cycle and is currently being studied by our second and third year students.
Chalkline tells the story of Rafiq who is only nine when Kashmiri Freedom Fighters raid his village in search of new recruits. Tall for his age he is the first boy to cross the chalk line into a life of brutality violence as a boy soldier.
After a welcome by Grace O’ Sullivan, Jane Mitchell spoke to the students for an hour and revealed that she had been writing since the tender age of six. She encouraged the students to keep honing their creative writing skills. She also revealed that the ending of the novel was not her original ending but as the publishers wanted a happy ending she was obliged to rewrite it! At the request of the book club, Jane Mitchell signed their own personal copies of her novel.
In an exclusive writing workshop with Room 30 she emphasised the importance of “strong verbs” and redrafting. She outlined the importance of the opening to a story and under her instruction the girls wrote and read aloud their first drafts to her. She shared that she used a prologue in her novel because she wanted to show a glimpse of how Rafiq had changed before the reader ever met him.
Overall, the event was a very successful one and we look forward to hosting more authors and poets at Mount Mercy.