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TO MARK the re-publication of his classic first children’s novel, ‘Running with the Reservoir Pups’, the acclaimed local author Colin Bateman visited Dominican College last week where he met with junior pupils.

Dominican College were also delighted to warmly welcome Primary Seven pupils and their teachers from both local primary schools, St Colum’s Primary School and Portstewart Primary School to attend this special event.

Colin Bateman’s visit was made up of an inspirational talk about how important books and reading are and how he became a writer. There followed a short reading from his novel, “Running with the reservoir Pups”. This was followed up by a lively question and answer session, after which pupils had the opportunity to have their books individually signed.

Describing his work as a writer as “the best job in the world”, Colin began by explaining the importance of the writer in many careers within the media. Whilst recognising many of the conflicting pressures on today’s generation, Colin explained the importance of the magical “torch under the bedclothes” world of books within his own childhood as he read writers like Tolkien and how his disappointment at stories coming to an end inspired him to write his own stories.

He told pupils that for each person there is the perfect age to begin that first novel. In Colin’s case, “the day that everything changed” was when he was 30 and listening to Dvorak’s New World Symphony in the bath!

This composer’s name inspired a title “Divorcing Jack” which evolved over six months into Colin’s first novel.

“Divorcing Jack” became the first novel in ten years to be published from this slush pile and not only went on to sell more than 150,000 copies, inspire a successful film, but also to make Colin a successful author who has gone on to write more than thirty books.

Colin explained to pupils that the birth of his son fifteen years ago led him to decide to write books for children that “weren’t set in leafy suburbia, but with children with recognisable voices in local locations”.

The first of these novels was a book about Eddie Malone which begins in Groomsport, moves to Belfast as Eddie’s mum gets a job in a hospital and ends in a gripping climax in The Mourne Mountains.

Pupils were inspired by Colin’s talk and his reading and this led to a series of questions about his inspirations, the autobiographical influences on his work, what advice he had for budding writers , his favourite character and a question from Ciara Moore is he ever had any regrets about becoming a writer.

The primary school pupils questioned Colin about the influence of The Troubles on his work, his hobbies, what techniques inspire his writing and how his work as a reporter helped him in his writing.

Signed copies of the book “ Running with The Reservoir Pups” were presented to the pupils who asked the most original and effective questions and copies were presented to both St Colum’s and Portstewart Primary schools by the English Department in Dominican College.

Dr Cummings, Dominican Principal, himself a huge fan, thanked Colin Bateman for his inspiring visit and praised both the Dominican and primary school pupils for their stimulating questions and interest in the author’s presentation.