Author Dan Freedman talks knife crime, gang culture and sibling rivalry as part of his Northern Ireland school tour

Published on: 09 March 2020

This week Dan Freedman, football journalist and creator of the Jamie Johnson books (now television series), visited schools around Northern Ireland to get more children reading and writing.

Over four hundred students from Markethill High School, Newtownhamilton High School, St Paul's High School Bessbrook and Newbridge Integrated College were visited by Dan where he enthusiastically engaged the young audience by sharing stories about his life as an author and his time as official reporter on two world cup campaigns.

Dan was able to excite and inspire children through his own anecdotes, clips of interviews with David Beckham and playing pool with Rio Ferdinand, while also discussing his new book Unstoppable which includes many issues that young people can relate to; sports, sibling rivalry, knife crime and gang culture.

Dan Freedman comments:

'Being able to speak with children is one of my favourite parts of being an author. You can really see the spark in their eyes when they begin to think about all the possibilities for their future and as they get excited to read or even start creating stories of their own. It’s so important to support schools, teachers and libraries across Northern Ireland to get more children reading.'

The events were run with the support of SONI and the Arts and Business NI Investment Programme Fund as part of a partnership launched in 2016 where BookTrust gifted baby packs to families across the South Armagh area to encourage early book sharing. With additional support from Arts & Business NI, BookTrust have been able to extend their reading for pleasure programme to promote the world of books and reading to older children in the area.

SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) plans and operates the electricity transmission system. SONI brings electricity to every part of Northern Ireland and plans ahead for future growth.

Jo Aston, Managing Director of SONI said:

'SONI is really proud of our partnership with Book Trust NI. Removing barriers to education is a key focus area of our community investment strategy; and promoting literacy through reading is a key first step. We are delighted that our support has enabled Book Trust to bring reading to life for pupils in Armagh through Dan's visit.'

Liz Canning Head of BookTrust Northern Ireland said:

'Author visits are an important and effective way to encourage and excite children to read and write outside school. By creating open platforms for children to connect with authors, books become less intimidating and children see reading and writing from a new perspective. We were thrilled to have Dan on board for these events as his stories have the students engaged and sitting at the edge of their seats to hear more.'

As part of the events all of the 400 pupils involved will receive a copy of Dan's latest book Unstoppable and each school will receive the full Jamie Johnson set for their library.

Read the press release

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