Novel written by Chipping Norton School boys published on Amazon

English teacher Richard Long with copies of Jack Turner and the Black Knight, written by himself and Chipping Norton School pupils

A group of boys from Chipping Norton School have become published authors with their novel on Amazon.

The Year 8 pupils were encouraged to create a story by their English teacher in a bid to get them into reading and bridge the gender gap.

Richard Long spent countless hours collating their ideas before submitting it to Amazon – Jack Turner and the Black Knight is available to buy from this month.

“We want to make sure there isn’t a gender gap and we want to make sure boys enjoy reading as much as girls," he said.

“Boys have so many things to interest them – TV, computer games, football etc – unlike when I was younger.

“But girls seem to read and keep reading whereas boys tend to drop off.

“So I was given permission to take some more able readers and some who would rather not even look at a book ever, and I wanted to draw them together and see what makes boys tick.”

Last year Mr Long was given the chance to bring a group of boys with varying interest in reading and let their imaginations steer the story.

The pupils acted out the fight scenes, dressed up as the characters and wrote the plot themselves in a handful of lessons.

One even did the illustrations on the front cover and inside, inspired by watching cartoons on Netflix, he said.

Mr Long spent every spare moment putting their imagination into words, and managed to finish and proof read it over the summer holidays with a team of helpers.

It is published by Amazon and the school gets around 69p for every hard copy sold, and about £1 for Kindle versions.

But for Mr Long, it is more about the improved attainment he has witnessed in the boys and how they have gained confidence.

Other boys in his class have also taken up reading through the book.

“I’ve really enjoyed it as it’s given the lads some ownership after producing something really worthwhile and it’s great to see all their names on the inside,” he said.

The novel has an open ending and Mr Long plans to repeat the project with this year's Year 7s.

To buy the book, click here. Copies will also be available at the school’s open evening next Thursday (October 5).

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