Sixth formers to replace established author on LitFest bill

Written by Peter Davison.


Adam ThorpeAdam ThorpeSixth formers from St John’s Academy in Marlborough have stepped in to fill a gap in the Marlborough Literature Festival bill left by Adam Thorpe, who had to pull out.

Thorpe, who was educated at Marlborough College and has been shortlisted for several major literary awards, was due to have been talking about On Silbury Hill, a memoir and a tribute to the architects of the ancient monument.

Instead, the St John’s students will be showing a 20-minute film they made about books and reading.

The 20 minute film – edited down from an original 45 minutes – will be screened to a LitFest audience and then a discussion will take place between the student panel, chaired by Richard Lamb, a St John’s English teacher.

The event takes place at St Mary’s Church Hall from 1.30pm on Saturday, October 3.

The Year 12 students were caught on camera by Richard, discussing books and reading in general, although the content also included chat on austerity measures by the government such as cutbacks to public libraries.

Freya Pigott, St John’s sixth former and co-organiser, said: "It's crucial that young people are involved in events such as Marlborough Lit Fest, as so often young people go unheard.

“This year we've organised a film of sixth form students discussing things from their favourite reads to the controversy of watching a film before the book, reforms of GCSE English to whether books being gendered is necessary… It's a really intriguing project that should prove to be very interesting for those wanting an insight into the minds of students."

This initiative is a follow up to some digital book vlogs created by St John’s students from Years 8, 9 and 10 and co-ordinated by digital content director Terence O’Connor.

In this project, the students filmed ten short video segments where they discussed the books they were currently reading or had read.

Recorded and edited on their phones or with Apple computers, these candid videos capture the teen voices and can be viewed on the LitFest website at