A LUDGERSHALL academy welcomed author Lindsey Barraclough, known for her novels Long Lankin and its sequel Mark of Cain, during a special visit on Tuesday, May 9.

The Wellington Academy's Year 8 students attended an immersive workshop by Ms Barraclough.

The session left them spellbound with her insights into the motive behind her books and her enthralling tales of witchcraft, which draw from her own childhood experiences.

Ms Barraclough's visit commenced with an assembly that unveiled the inspirations behind her captivating stories.

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Witchcraft, a prevalent theme in her works, took centre stage as she shared the intriguing elements from her village churches, including the historical significance of lychgates.

Furthermore, Ms Barraclough recounted her personal encounters with symbolic artefacts, which she had observed above fireplaces in houses.

She also revealed her firsthand experience with witch bottles, alleged to lure witches using human hair, nail clippings, blood, or urine, and then eliminate them with nails or sharp shards of glass.

The day's activities concluded with a creative writing session that sparked the students' imagination.

They were challenged to craft a short story utilising a captivating opening sentence and an unexpected conclusion.

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Adding a twist to the exercise, a second student was assigned the task of linking the two sentences to create a cohesive narrative.

Ms Barraclough attentively perused the students' stories and selected one student from each group whose storyline had left an indelible mark.

These talented young writers were rewarded with signed copies of both Long Lankin and Mark of Cain.

Reflecting on the visit, The Wellington Academy librarian Carol Moorhouse said: "I feel it's important for children to read and imagine their own characters, instead of allowing films to create that picture for them.

"I think it's a great experience for students to meet authors and hear the background story of their books and where their inspirations came from. Every author/visitor has a different story to tell and can be a great learning curve and opportunity for our students. Some of our students are aspiring authors, and it is great seeing their creativity coming out onto their paper."