Young readers dive into a Titanic book event in Belfast

Published on: 11 December 2017 Author: Kathryn Anderson

Pupils from across Greater Belfast had the chance to delve into the story behind Spirit of the Titanic by Irish author Nicola Pierce at an event supported and hosted by Belfast Harbour in partnership with BookTrust NI.

Pupils with their books at the Titanic book event in Belfast

One hundred and fifty students from Malone College, Strathearn School and Hazelwood Integrated College attended the event at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office, where they met Nicola to discuss her novel and the stories of Belfast’s most famous ship which inspired it. Pupils also had the chance to get their own copy of the book signed by the author and ask her about her experience as a writer.

Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager at Belfast Harbour, spoke about the importance of developing young readers:

'This is one of many fantastic events we have been able to host alongside BookTrust NI and it is always so rewarding to see young people engage in literature and find enjoyment from books. Regular reading helps children of all ages in many aspects of their development and we are committed to helping encourage this as much as possible through our work with local communities and organisations such as BookTrust NI.'

Since Belfast Harbour and BookTrust’s partnership began in 2015, it has gifted books to 1,300 families with young children as part of Babies Need Books, given a custom book to over 1,000 children across Northern Ireland for National BookStart Week and engaged with 600 post-primary school pupils through the Teenage Author Project.

Liz Canning, Head of BookTrust Northern Ireland, said:

'We are delighted to be working with Belfast Harbour and the award-winning author Nichola Pierce. Author events such as these go a long way to inspiring a generation of readers. Following the success of last year’s campaign, we wanted to continue to encourage children from across Belfast to read, write and engage with their creative side while enjoying the benefits that come from literature.'

Nicola Pierce at the Titanic book event in BelfastNicola Pierce, author of Spirit of the Titanic, talks to pupils at Belfast Harbour

The event was the culmination of an exciting literacy project developed by BookTrust and the Educational Library Service, and supported by Belfast Harbour, to encourage teenagers to engage with books and develop a reading for pleasure habit.

Author Nicola Pierce, added:

'I was so excited to meet the students who have been reading my novel Spirit of the Titanic, thanks to Belfast Harbour and BookTrust. Of course, it is a Belfast story through and through, narrated by the spirit of 15-year-old Samuel Scott who worked and died in Harland & Wolff shipyard. It means a great deal to me that I get the opportunity to hear what the students thought of the book and, also, explain to them how I wrote the book.'

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