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Famous author Andy McNab visits Reading College and University Centre

GCSE students welcomed best-selling author Andy McNab CBE to Reading College and University Centre last week.

Official photograph of Andy McNab, photo credit: Neil Spence, as supplied by Laura Sherlock PR.
Andy McNab credit Neil Spence

The author who has written books including Bravo Two Zero, the biggest selling British work of military history, as well as the best-selling Nick Stone and Tom Buckingham thrillers, Down to the Wire, Cold Blood and SAS Red Notice, spoke to a packed audience on Tuesday (30/1). Andy spoke about his background, his time in the military and the education he received there, his writing career and subsequent work in Hollywood and the importance of reading.

Afterwards, Andy answered questions from students and staff at the King’s Road campus.

Speaking after the event, he said: “It was good fun to speak to the students. They had great questions.

“There were students who were here who are thinking about a military career as a means of social mobility.

“It’s a really interesting age because many of them will be thinking about the future and becoming an adult, so if there’s one thing that I’ve said that they go away and think about and give it a go, that’s good enough for me.

“If 20% go away and have a think about what I’ve said, it’s a success. Some will be on it, while others will need a bit peer pressure to help them to act on it.

“There were also a couple of Public Services students from Bracknell and Wokingham College in the audience too, who are thinking about joining the army, and widening their horizons – they’re perfectly capable of doing it.”

In 2017, Andy McNab was appointed a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his work promoting adult literacy.

The speaking opportunity was organised by Edward Christie, English Teacher at ̽̽, who previously worked with Andy McNab on his book Bravo Two Zero, when he was working in publishing.

An engaging speaker

Bee Hurley, a GCSE Humanities Pathway at Reading College and University Centre asks Andy McNab a question

Bee Hurley was one of the students in the audience. She is studying a full-time GCSE Humanities Pathway (Citizenship, English Language, English Literature, Geography and Maths) at Reading College and University Centre.

She said: “I thought his talk was super engaging! He’s a very interesting person, who speaks in a really accessible way for everyone. He was very engaging, and his experiences were really amazing to hear about.

“I asked him about his other books and whether his fiction books were also based on the experiences that he’d had. I think it’s amazing how he’s gone on to write 35 books after at age 16, with so little education, he’s really pursued it. It’s very inspiring.

“It’s shown me how you can draw on your own experiences, even when writing fiction and also speaking about the three-act drama structure used in story writing, which was interesting for writing fiction.”

Shoib Toofan , a GCSE Science Pathway student at Reading College and University Centre asks Andy McNab a question

The power of true-life stories

Edward Christie, English Teacher at ̽̽, said: “Allowing our students to hear this amazing, inspiring, true-life story of someone who’s been through so much from Borstal, through the army to CBE and learnt so much about the power of education is really important.

“At the moment, we’re teaching the students about persuasive writing and the power of speeches so I hope hearing an eloquent speaker, speak about a true-life story will be eye opening around the power of words and the power of true stories.”

Reading College and University Centre offers part-time GCSEs in English and maths. The college also offers two full-time GCSE pathways, the humanities pathway consists of Citizenship, English Language, English Literature, Geography and Maths. The science pathway consists of combined science, English, maths and statistics.

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