I went out to the station with one of my colleagues, Janis, to pick up our guest with his box of books for sale. He had decided to come early, to make sure of not being late, I suppose.
When we returned to school, we had a bit of time to talk and wander around, but then I had a literacy class, to which I took him, leaving the staff member supervising the students whose teachers were away to organise the library setup, since the library was full of reading students. We were having Years 8 and 9, as Year 10 was doing two excursions this week and couldn't afford to take more time out of class, and I didn't want to make the poor guy speak to almost the whole school. The students would have to sit on the floor, as we don't have enough seats for everyone, so it was only going to take a few minutes to set up.
In Literacy, Will chatted with my tiny class and helped one of the girls with her word list. Of course, the girls were charmed with him.
This charm continued on into recess. I'd been about to take him for a cuppa before his speaking session, but the door opened and Book Club and their boyfriends walked in. Emily had read and loved The First Third, a semi-autobiographical novel which featured Will's grandmother as a character. Imagine her thrill when his phone rang and it was Will's Yiayia! He turned it on speakerphone and she said hullo to them.
Recess ended, the speech began and he managed to charm a whole two year levels with his funny stories about how he sold his first book, what it was about, and his new one, which has several scenes inspired by real-life happenings. The first one, Loathing Lola, was a sharp commentary on reality TV shows and this, he told them, was ironic in light of the fact that he later worked for Big Brother.
I bribed the listeners to ask questions by offering to buy two books for those Will thought best - it can be hard to get questions started, but once one or two people have asked, others follow and it happened this time too. I bribe kids the same way when I do talks.
Then Will went to sign books and some mini-posters I had made up for those who couldn't afford to buy the books; there were some left over afterwards, which I gave him for his next school. We took lots of photos of kids getting stuff signed and asking questions. Emily was delighted with her inscription as "the President of the Yiayia fan club".
The truth is, it was the Will Kostakis fan club. The boys enjoyed, but the girls were the ones who hovered around him like flies to honey. There were definitely a few jealous boyfriends! ;-)
I had ordered lunch from the canteen, as we have a canteen that produces a very good salad roll with fresh tiger bread and the lady had done up a lovely platter of fruit. Will chatted happily with staff, then we saw him off at the station; he was going to see his publishers that afternoon with hopes of a new novel to come.
I will look forward to reading it and so will my students. Thanks again for coming, Will!