On Thursday 7 February Warminster Prep were joined by the wonderful author Maz Evans. Maz, a best selling author, wrote the series ‘Who Let the Gods Out’ which Year 5 and 6 are studying this term as part of their English curriculum. This also happened to be the day that Maz’s final book in the series ‘Against all Gods’ was released.

Maz made a huge impression on the children (and staff) who spent all day giggling and with smiles on their faces. Indeed Reon (Year 6) explained that ‘It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Sensational!’ whilst Max (Year 6) said that Maz was ‘ridiculously funny’.

She started the day with assembly, explaining how she became an author. Over 10 years ago she wrote a book and sent it to lots of publishers. All refused and so she chucked it in a heap at home and went back to everyday life. It was only 5 years later when she was moving house that Maz came across the manuscript. She re-read it and realised how bad it was, yet the principle plot still struck a cord with her. So after numerous re-writes Maz self-published 500 copies. These all sold and she self-published 2000 more. One of these ended up on the desk of renowned publisher, Barry Cunningham (you know the one, the one who agreed to publish JK Rowling). He offered her a contract to publish her book and the rest, as they say, is history. However, Maz explained to the children how many times she had been told no before she got that one yes. She outlined how important a dream is, but on the way you’ll get lots of no’s, before you get that one yes that you need.

The assembly was not all serious and motivational though. A game of ‘Mallet’s mallet’ between Mrs Glenny and Mrs Cross to determine who was secretly the goddess Athena was a highlight for the staff, whilst the children enjoyed the balloon modelling competition between Mr Fothergill and Mr Titley to determine who could save the universe.

The rest of the day was spent in workshops with the children. Reception to Year 2 were treated to a workshop about Maz’s other book ‘Rosie Harker, Nosey Parker’. The children discussed imagination and then drew what they thought was behind Rosie’s curtain. The favourite idea was a hornets’ nest!

Year 5 and 6 had the opportunity to develop their understanding of perspective and investigate how different characters would see the same event differently. This inevitably led to conversations about who Maz had based the characters on. She revealed that one of the teachers was based entirely on a teacher from her secondary school who she did not like. However, at a recent school reunion a friend had made this teacher aware of her books and Maz assured us he was not pleased with his portrayal!

Both the pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed Maz’s visit. Her enthusiasm and unique perspective was a joy to share in. We hope she can come back and see us again when she releases her next book.

Stephanie Sheppard​, Head of Prep English