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Acclaimed Author Visits with Middle Schoolers

Visiting author, Dr. A. J. Hartley, speaks with Weddington Middle School students.

Sixth grade students from Weddington Middle and fifth grade students from Weddington Elementary were entertained by visiting author A.J. Hartley, author of the newly released DARWEN ARKWRIGHT AND THE PEREGRINE PACT, when he visited the WMS media center in early November. Not only did the author read from his adolescent novel which is his first work for middle school students, but he also revealed interesting details about his life in England and his life in Charlotte as a professor at UNCC.

According to teacher librarian Diane Minsker, Hartley’s sense of humor piqued students’ interest in his life as an author and the writing process. “Students who like to write were encouraged by the author’s enthusiasm and his honesty about working with a publishing company.”

Students were immediately drawn into the plot of the novel which is about a British boy who is uprooted and enrolled in Hillside Academy, a weird and terrifying place. While Darwen has creative powers that have to do with mirrors, he also behaves as a dunce at times. “He is a very interesting character that adolescent readers can relate to,” says Minsker.

During a question/answer period, Dr. Hartley revealed how much has to revise a manuscript before he turns it over to a publisher. In fact, his original title was rejected. He revealed to his audience that the published title, DARWEN ARKWRIGHT AND THE PEREGRINE PACT was chosen after fifty other suggested titles were refused.


Written by: John Jones, Director of Middle School Education
Posted: Nov 29, 2011 by John Jones

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