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Literary Society

On Wednesday 19th March, Eton had the honour of welcoming the world-famous literary giant Anthony Horowitz. His name is familiar to every child in the country, and he (and JK Rowling) are the authors most credited with getting children to read, so it was perhaps unsurprising that the event filled Upper School with excited fans. Mr Horowitz was interviewed about not only his writing, but also his personal life, and his stories of his unconventional, and at times unhappy, childhood drew gasps and laughter from the audience in equal measure. He was hilariously frank about his early life, describing his childhood as “like living in Victorian England”, his prep school as a “hell-hole of the first order” and, when asked what the nicest thing his evil grandmother (who inspired one of his earliest novels) had ever done: “she died”. He explained to the audience how growing up in such an unorthodox environment led him to channel the reverse into the character of Alex Rider: the normal boy from a comprehensive who one day finds out he’s a spy. Speaking about his career, Mr Horowitz told of how writing was always what he wanted to do – there was never a plan B – and how, after a short-spell in advertising where he concocted such slogans as “Aer Lingus, Please Ring Us!”, he struck gold in the spy genre, taking inspiration from his life-long love of James Bond. He also spoke about the film of Stormbreaker, a telling warning of the slings and arrows of the film industry, as his wildly successful screenwriting (Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War both bearing his name). Mr Horowitz took plenty of questions, ranging from how he wrote in the style of Conan Doyle for House of Silk, to why he has a human skull on his desk (a thirteenth birthday present from his mother). The impromptu book-signing at the end (with profits going to the anti-bullying charity of which he is patron, Kidscape) was a real thrill for the legions of fans who attended one of the biggest ever Lit Soc events, and it was certainly a real privilege to welcome Mr Horowitz to Eton. Will Hall SAL
Date Posted: 16 May 2014

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