Novelist’s inspiration is shared with pupils at his former school

4:02pm Tuesday 4th February 2014

By Kate Wilson

PUPILS at Wycliffe Preparatory School handled the ‘silver sword’ used to inspire an internationally successful children’s novel.

The ‘sword’ was in fact a tiny silver letter opener which inspired author Ian Serraillier, who taught at Wycliffe during the 1930s before writing the Silver Sword. The story follows the story of three Polish children in their epic journey across war torn Europe in search of their parents in Switzerland.

Jane Serraillier, Ian’s daughter, met pupils at the school in Bath Road, Stonehouse, to share with them her father’s story and handed round one of his old blazers which still had a piece of chalk in the pocket that he used for teaching.

There was also a chance for the children to use his old typewriter, which he used to write the novel.

Year 7 pupil, Charlie Asquith, said he enjoyed putting together the fictional story with the historical facts of the time.

Meanwhile Millie Radford, also in Year 7, said that getting to have a go on Ian’s old typewriter was really fun.

During the talk Ms Serraillier also shared the story of how her father came up with a name for the novel.

“She explained how her father was struggling not only to find a name but also a way of connecting all the parts of the story together,” said Emma Muszasty, head of English at the school.

“Apparently Ian was sent a tiny silver letter opener which gave him the idea of using a silver sword as a way of pulling the characters of the story together.”

As part of her visit Ms Serraillier asked the students to make a donation to the British Red Cross in order to help the thousands of refugee children in the world today.

The children were able to raise a total of £38.50 for the charity.


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