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World Book Day with Virginia Bergin

World Book Day with Virginia Bergin

On World Book Day, 3rd March 2016, Virginia Bergin came to talk to Senior 1, 2 and 3 about her life as an author and her two books: The Rain and The Storm. 

She started by telling us about her life before becoming an author. As a young girl, she was fond of scribbling short stories. As she grew up, her writing became more serious and she felt like it was part of her. Virginia came from a poor background with family who knew very little about education, she believed “people like her never became writers”. It was this thought that made her stop writing for ten years. However, during this period the idea for The Rain developed and eventually provoked her to start writing once more. 

Although she didn’t have much money she spent all that she had on writing and finally, 6 months later, she completed her draft of her first novel. She sent it to a publisher and much to her amazement they made an offer, but seeing that she might get a better offer she employed an agent who sent it to other publishers and this started a bidding war. Virginia found this really scary because it was a first draft and some things needed changing. The reality of suddenly exposing her work to an audience was terrifying. I found Virginia’s story really inspiring and it showed me that I should never give up writing. 

Virginia also spoke about her books and told us how it felt that Ruby, the main character, was telling the story. Virginia sought advice from teenagers to ensure that her characters were as realistic as possible. This certainly comes across in the book, where Ruby, basically a good person, shows traits of selfishness and immaturity. However, Ruby also shows resilience and bravery in an apocalyptic world. 

Virginia read us a couple of passages from The Rain and this prompted lots of questions, some of which couldn’t be answered as they would spoil the story for those of us who haven’t yet read the book.  

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the talk and at the end there was a loud round of applause and Miranda presented some flowers. Virginia then signed books and bookplates and spoke to everyone individually.

by Philippa  and Rosie, Senior 2