Reading Challenge 2016

It’s nearly December, and that means it’s time for the annual SHS Reading Challenge!

As you can see from the video above, there are many new features of the reading challenge this year. On the library learning space, we will be publishing your reviews of the books regularly, so keep watching this space!

James Dawson Author Visit

It is a sign of an author’s quality when they’re invited back to Surbiton High School for a third time. James Dawson first visited in 2012, when he had recently published his debut novel. With several more titles under his belt, he returned as a guest judge at the literary-themed fashion show that took place in January. Most recently, he came to talk to Year 9 on Friday 13 November.


James had recently made headlines for revealing he was about to undergo gender transition, and it was his formative experiences that informed both this decision and the books he has written. His latest novel, All of the Above, referenced many real-life examples of LGBT issues. James read some extracts from the book, including a poem about teenage anorexia, to illustrate the point that poetry can be relevant to our everyday lives, rather than something that is merely taught in the classroom.

The main focus of James’ talk was feminism, and how we should all consider ourselves feminists if we believe that there should be true equality between men and women. Drawing on examples of how many influential female role models are still objectified, he made the girls realise they will play a key role in redressing the balance in the future. This was a hugely inspirational talk, as reflected by the sheer number of books sold at the end. We will certainly be inviting James back in the future!