Bath Picks 2015 with Sarah Crossan, Sarah Benwell and Virginia Bergin


Gill McLay introduces three rising stars – each making their Bath festival debut. Sarah Crossan (@SarahCrossan), Sarah Benwell (@SWritesBooks) and Virginia Bergin (@VeeBergin) are all exciting new young adult novelists that take their readers on rollercoaster rides of emotion and drama. Listen to these stars of the future tell you their stories.


Date 27-09-2015
Time 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM
Venue Mission Theatre
I received a free ticket for reviewing this event.



Greeted by cheering, the authors and Chair (Gill McLay) of Bath Picks began the event with Sarah Crossan doing the first reading from her new book, One.

Each of the authors did a short reading from their books. Sarah Benwell (The Last Leaves Falling) partway through the event and Virginia Bergin (The Storm, sequel to The Rain) at the end.


Gill McLay, Sarah Crossan, Virginia Bergin & Sarah Benwall

Sarah Crossan began by talking about the voice in writing and also all the research she did for One. She was very excited about this and it was interesting to hear how details in One got updated prior to going to print because Sarah Crossan found out the information she had was wrong.

It also turns out that the science in Virginia Bergin books is right.
Just thought you’d like to know.

Virginia Bergin talked about how her character dictated the story. Which was especially challenging when writing the second book, The Storm, as Ruby (protagonist) just wouldn’t do as she should.

Sarah Benwall told the audience The Last Leaves Falling was originally a different story but her characters also wouldn’t do as they were told, so after 13,000 words she began anew.
Seems like stubborn characters are very common in writing 😉


Virginia Bergin

Censorship, particularly UK and US differences were also part of the discussion.

I enjoyed this event a lot, particularly as I’ve read books by Sarah Crossan and Sarah Benwall and loved them. I’ve had The Storm on my radar for ages and with Virginia Bergin rocking her reading I just want to pick up that book even more.


At the end of the event the audience got to ask questions before Sarah Crossan, Sarah Benwall and Virginia Bergin did a book signing.



Sarah Crossan

4864330Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.

She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.

Books by Sarah Crossan I’ve reviewed:
The Weight of Water
Apple and Rain


Sarah Benwell

Sarah Benwell / Photo credit Jess Howley-Wells


Sarah is a YA author, creative writing mentor, and an advocate for diversity.

Sarah runs the Trowbridge Young Writers Squad, is the founder of The Variety Shelves – a series of events highlighting diversity in literature, throughout 2015 – and one half of the team running


Books by Sarah Benwell I’ve reviewed:
The Last Leaves Falling



Virginia Bergin

82YdUjhaVirginia Bergin learned to roller-skate with the children of eminent physicists.

She grew up in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in a house tied to her father’s job. Her parents, the children of Irish and Polish immigrants – and one Englishwoman – had moved from Liverpool to the south of England in search of work.

In between and alongside more jobs than you’ve had hot dinners, she has worked as a writer on TV, eLearning and corporate projects and has 22 broadcast and non-broadcast TV credits, from children’s favourite Big Cat Diary Family Histories (BBC) to the award-winning series Africa (Tigress Productions for National Geographic). Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University.

She has lived in North Wales, London and Bristol. In May 2015, she moved from a council estate in Bristol to live in rural Somerset, somewhere between Taunton, Chard and Ilminster. Her nearest neighbour is a horse.


The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival runs from
Friday 25th September to Sunday 4th October.

Twitter @bathfestivals
Facebook /bathfestivals

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