WF Young Advisors on organising Gillian’s borough visit

Posted on April 27, 2016 in News, tagged with Events, Gillian Slovo, Riots, Ten Days

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The Waltham Forest Young Advisors are a group of young people, who show community leaders how to engage young people in community life, local decision-making and improving services. We also work with business leaders, bringing unique expertise and knowledge about being young to influence strategic planning, decision-making and marketing. Hearing about Gillian Slovo’s borough visit to Waltham Forest on 16 April from Jane Bruseke, our manager at our Monthly Meetings, we were immediately interested in being part of this event. As some of us had worked at a previous Cityread event in 2015, we knew it was a great opportunity. The YIAG (Young Independent Advisory Group), our sister organisation, was also intrigued by this event as Ten Days touched on many of the community safety issues that the group specialises in.

After reading the book, I was looking forward to meeting the author and hearing the questions that readers like myself wanted to ask. The conversation that day was eye opening and insightful. I was thoroughly engrossed in the discussion.

When organising an event like this, it’s not typical to have so many people show up that you have to set up more chairs! Usually organisers tend to be sceptical as to how many people show up, but at Cityread London, the turnout was pleasantly overwhelming. As the chairs started to fill up, it was great to see a mixture of ethnicities and ages, unified by this captivating story. Attendants, much like myself, were there because they were intrigued. The book had sparked curiosity and I believe the audience was definitely pleased with the whole experience.

After writing novels based in different countries in the world such as An Honourable Man and Black Orchids, Gillian said: ‘I thought it was time for me to write a novel based in England, which touched on the impacts of politics. A lot of the stuff I write is about ordinary individuals who are influenced by big politics, which I think is what I did in Ten Days.’

The audience was captivated. As well as asking insightful questions about Gillian’s book and listening to her explanation of why she wrote it, the audience engaged seamlessly with the author: ‘I was trying to write a page-turner that was also comprehensive.’ She also talked about the topic of riots and how that influenced society following 2011.

During this exciting event, we touched on politics, riots and several other topics incorporated in the exhilarating thriller. The audience felt welcomed and Gillian answered questions brilliantly. It was truly a worthwhile event!

And to close, a quote from Gillian exhibiting her flexibility as an author: ‘If you know exactly what you’re going to write, you might as well not write the novel.’


This blog post has kindly been written by Nana Osei Kofi, one of the members of the WF Young Advisors. To find out more about the WF Young Advisors and YIAG and what they do, please visit https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/involving-young-people.