Pete Kalu reading

Being Me author Pete Kalu reads from his Striker series

ISBN: 9781908446350

ISBN: 9781908446411
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Story-teller and Athor Pete Kalu Wows Lunchtime Audience At Addey & Stanhope School

25, September, 2015

You could hear a pin-drop in the library at Deptford’s Addey & Stanhope School as Manchester-based author Pete Kalu chose to open his recent lunchtime meeting with young Lewisham readers and aspiring writers with a gruesome and scary rendition of a traditional  ghost/shaggy-dog story.  It proved a great ice-breaker and a lively talk and Q/A session ensued.

“Pete Kalu is a terrific performer with young people, and the football theme of his novels involving young boy and girl players and their dreams and challenges proved a real draw,” said Addey & Stanhope Library manager Elizabeth Bentley. “Sometimes it can be challenging for youngsters to focus when authors read at length from their books - especially if it is a new publication and unknown to the audience. Instead, the tale Pete told of the boy haunted by the ghost of the man whose liver he stole was gripping and completely won over today’s audience, who were really receptive when he moved on to discussing his books and suggesting writing tips.”

Mr Kalu used a part of his session to explain the origins of the female protagonist in his second novel in the Striker series ‘Being Me by Adele Vialli’ published just the week before his visit to Addey & Stanhope School .  Students were intrigued to learn that she became his priority thanks to feedback from the readers of his first football novel for young readers, The Silent Striker, in which she featured only as a secondary character.  “People told me they really liked her spirit and said they wanted to know more about her – so I had to shelve my plans to write about Leonard who spends all his time on the bench waiting for a game.  He’ll be the focus of novel three, I suppose.”

There was lots of laughter as Pete explained his own chequered footballing history  and an adolescence spent thinking he shared the skills of his Silent Striker hero Marcus when in fact permanently bench-sitting or subbed Leonard was far closer to his actual experience.  And asked about the difficulties of describing the action on the pitch during a game, Mr Kalu pointed out that really it is the emotions and conflicts taking place in side-lines and changing-rooms that intrigued him the most.

This lead on to a discussion of writing itself, and Mr Kalu left his audience with a strong sense of the importance of redrafting and how essential it is for writers to be readers.  “It is also crucial that you try to have as much lived experience as possible  - writing about what you know usually means it is convincing,” he suggested.  “Also – keep a diary: in there you’ll be able to capture the raw experience of moments in your life when you faced choices or doubts and those conflicting feelings are what can inspire stories rather than the neatly- packaged afterthoughts we tend to put together once decisions have been made.” 

“I enjoyed his talk and hearing about his background,” commented year 8 pupil Adam Abdullah. “It was interesting learning about how books are put together and the design of the covers.  Mr Kalu told us how he had rejected the first cover of The Silent Striker because the boy on it looked too young. “

“It is wonderful for students to have a chance to meet real authors in the flesh,” said Addey & Stanhope headteacher Jan Shapiro.  “It was great seeing so many boys in the audience and the writing tips he offered were terrific.  Also, the example he provided of energetic story-telling will be really useful for those students in the audience who will be contributing to a Poetry Jam event we are planning as our contribution to National Poetry Day next month.”  

About the author

Pete Kalu is a storyteller and author. He has published five novels for adults and has won prizes for both his theatre plays and his poetry, including the BBC’s Dangerous Comedy Award 2003. He is a PhD Creative Writing student at Lancaster University. He lives in Manchester.

Press & Media coverage

Deptford & New Cross South London Press coverage of Pete's visit to Addey  & Stanhope School where he meets young readers and aspiring writers during his lunchtime visit more >>

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Pictures of Pete's lunchtime session with Addey & Stanhope students

Pupils at Addey & Stanhope School
Pete Kalu reading at Addey & Stanhope School
Pupils at Addey & Stanhope School
Pete surrounded by young readers and aspiring writers from during his lunchtime visit
The latest ‘Striker’ novel looks at the world of football from an adolescent female perspective

Meet Adele Vialli: an intelligent, funny and resourceful 14-year-old – and a born troublemaker. Bored by her privileged life in a leafy suburb, Adele prefers shoplifting and hanging out with her footballer boyfriend, Marcus (from The Silent Striker, the previous book in the series).  As the weary school counsellor says: ‘there’s never a dull day with Adele.’

Adele is the star of her school’s football team, and when an England scout comes on the lookout for potential new players, Adele’s future seems full of promise. But when her city banker dad suddenly starts flirting with the mother of her ‘frenemy’ and fellow footballer Mikaela, a war breaks out between the two girls which threatens to throw everything off course. 

Teenage rivalry, family troubles – and the beautiful game. Being Me is an honest, tender and witty examination of what it means to grow up in a culturally-diverse Britain today, and the struggle every young person goes through of finding out and understanding who they really are.

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