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Author Jonathan Stroud Visits the Senior Department

Beechwood Senior Department pupils have long appreciated the mastery of Jonathan Stroud’s storytelling. From the ghosts and spirits of Lockwood & Co to the magicians and demons of Bartimaeus, readers are treated to gripping and witty adventures. His latest characters, Scarlett and Browne, have been a welcome new addition and take apocalyptic adventure to another level. 

During his presentation to the Senior Department, Jonathan explained how he started writing at a very young age, and he shared his first book, which was written around junior school age.  He went to explain how his first published book progressed, with illustrations being refined along the way.   Jonathan quizzed students on which book cover was associated with which country and offered a free book if anyone could guess the country for the one that was most unusual.  There were lots of good guesses but no one figured out that it was in fact Serbia!

Everyone was excited to learn that the Lockwood series is coming to Netflix and Jonathan promised to return to ‘tell all’ once he is allowed! (Currently it is all top secret!! ).  Pupils were also thrilled to learn about Jonathan’s new book, hearing how he formed the characters and they were treated to his first-ever public reading of extracts from the book.

During his time with us, Jonathan answered lots of great questions, including “how do you end a book?”, “will you have a part in the Netflix series?” and “how are the covers designed?”.


Jonathan Stroud grew up in St Albans where he attended St Albans School and went on to read English Literature at York University. Upon leaving university, he worked as an editor at Walker Books, helping authors with their ideas and their texts and consulting with designers and artists about the visual side.  In 2001, he became a full-time author with the first book in his best-selling Bartimaeus Trilogy being published in 2004.

In 2010, the prequel The Ring of Solomon was nominated for the Costa Children’s Book Award with Heroes of the Valley being nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal in the same year. In 2014, the first of his Lockwood & Co series The Screaming Staircase was published, receiving another CILIP Carnegie Medal nomination. This bestselling series is currently being adapted for television by Netflix.

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, The Whispering Skull, The Hollow Boy, The  Creeping Shadow and The Empty Grave 

Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co series about a company of teenage psychics attempting to keep  the streets of a nearly-but-not contemporary London clear of malevolent spirits is simply superb. For  more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of  Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle,  a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself  joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood.  Each episode offers a first-class helping of brilliantly-written, edge-of the-seat adventure packed with  intrigue, humour and even a touch of romance. The final book ties together plots that have been  developing over the course of the series, and the suspense has never been higher.

BartimaeusThe Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, Ptolemy’s Gate and The Ring of  Solomon

The Bartimaeus series follows Nathaniel, a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his  birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule  Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.” As  Nathaniel rises through the ranks he seeks revenge, summoning the 5,000-year-old djinni  Bartimaeus, and plunging himself into situations more dangerous and deadlier than anything he  could ever imagine.

The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne  

Tipped to be the beginning of an extraordinary series, Jonathan Stroud’s new apocalyptic adventure  follows two outlaws, Scarlett and Browne, as they come face to face with monstrous beasts, strange  government institutions and numerous gunslingers. England has changed, divided into kingdoms  with forfeited towns within which conformity is rigidly enforced. Gruesome at times with pepperings of humour, readers are swept along; unavoidably invested in the misfits’ quest to evade capture.