Phorms Campus Berlin Mitte – How do you write a bestseller?

Secondary school students were able to meet and interview the young adult author Karen McManus
Author: Nicole Erdmann | Photo: LIN 2019 | 2019/2

On this particular afternoon, the smell of freshly printed books drifts through the air in the light-flooded music room at the Phorms Campus Berlin Mitte. The year 11 and year 12 secondary school students are waiting excitedly for the US author Karen McManus, who writes young adult novels. She is visiting the Berlin students with her new work Two Can Keep a Secret in tow. McManus’s debut novel One of Us is Lying made it onto bestseller lists around the world, and the recently published sequel is now conquering the hearts of her young fans anew.

This enthusiasm is shared by students Elena and Josephine. They spend an hour asking the author about her two novels and the art of writing, while their fellow students listen. The secondary school teachers Oda Langner and Diane Alken organised this event in cooperation with the literature initiative promoted by the Senate of Berlin. The Phorms secondary school in Berlin Mitte is the only school in Germany that McManus will visit on her book tour.

The two young interviewees are charismatic and professional as they lead the discussion, and elicit many informative answers from the friendly author. For example, McManus explains that she encountered plenty of critical opinions and rejections with her first attempts at writing. However, she never lost sight of her dream.

‘That’s exactly why events like this are so great,’ says English teacher Diane Alken. ‘Our students can see someone who has a job they love, and who also manages to be incredibly successful with it.’ Elena, who is preparing to take her final exams, adds: ‘In terms of our final exams and the question of what career path to take afterwards, I also think it’s very important and inspiring to have this kind of event here at school.’

And so the students not only take signed books home from the afternoon, but also fresh motivation for their future. 

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