Gaywood pupils chatting to author Richard O’Neill. Pictures: Ian Burt

Pupils at Gaywood Primary School had the chance to quiz an award-winning author when he made a virtual visit.

The school tweets about the books pupils read each week and one of them was by Richard O’Neill – who was promptly invited to talk to the children about his work.

Due to the pandemic, a Zoom meeting was organised and Mr O’Neill appeared on a big screen in front of 400 pupils last Friday.

His book, The Lost Homework, led to the social media post on Twitter and tells the story of a child who lives within a Traveller community and is excited about a family wedding.

The author has a Traveller heritage which he uses within his work and tells original stories which he brings to life in schools, libraries, museums, theatres and workplaces around the country.

“We are teaching children to think like authors – what makes a good story? We use the Talk 4 Writing approach in our English sessions which get children to memorise and retell a story so they understand how to write their own stories,” said headteacher Neil Mindham.

“Richard’s books give children and understanding of his community in an interesting way. They also give children an understanding of how other people live and that we are all different,” he added.

It is hoped Mr O’Neill will be able to visit in person when pandemic restrictions have been completely lifted.

“I had the best time – what fab children and staff. And such amazing visitors,” he said on Twitter after his call.