Wellington School’s Head of English in the Spotlight

24 Jun 2016

Wellington School’s new Head of English, Kate Hodson has recently been featured as a reviewer for the BBC. She writes about her experiences as a reviewer for the Radio 2 Book Club on Simon Mayo’s Drive-time show.

“I have always found hearing the authors speak about their books fascinating. I was totally shocked when, in October last year, I was contacted to see if I would like to review the book ‘Landfalls’. This turned out to be a really engaging read and I wrote a review that Simon Mayo read out live on air. That was nerve wracking in itself. Since then, I have reviewed ‘One Child’, a book about the effect of China’s one child policy, for the Claudia Winkleman Arts Show, and ‘The Secret Poisoner’, a history of poisoning, for the Jonathan Ross Arts Show. I was then offered the chance to review Chris Cleave’s ‘Everyone Brave is Forgiven’ for Simon Mayo.

I had read Cleave’s other books and knew I was going to be in for at worst a good plot, at best, something special. The book turned out to be brilliant – so funny and yet so poignant. It painted a picture of London in WW2 that I had never considered before. I recorded the review on Monday morning, which was an extremely anxious experience, but Chris Cleave responded very positively to my review on the show. The review was aired on Simon Mayo’s Drive Time Book Club. After the show, I spoke with him on Twitter and he expressed how grateful he was and how he had blushed in the studio when hearing my thoughts.

He also said how overwhelming it was to have such positive thoughts heard by 6 million people. The thought of having an audience that size is rather daunting – I hadn’t quite computed that!

We spoke about whether he did school visits and he said he would be honoured to visit us at Wellington School. I hope that this is something that we can arrange in the future. He is a significantly accomplished writer and I know our pupils will learn much from him.”

Kate has great developments planned for the English Department next year and is looking forward to taking up her role in September.