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Stewards Academy

Stewards Academy

Science Specialist

Author Visit to Stewards





Sufiya Ahmed with Simon Ginger, Reading Manager and Stewards Pupils.


On Tuesday 4th March, Stewards Academy hosted a visit by the author of Secrets of the Henna Girl, Sufiya Ahmed, as part of the Essex Book Festival.

In preparation for the event, in excess of eighty students across years 7,8, 9 and 10 read the book and, with questions prepared, attended four sessions throughout the day during which Sufiya talked about her educational and working background, her struggle to become a published author and the inspiration behind her novel. Students re-enacted the wedding engagement scene from the book by dressing in authentic Muslim wedding attire and dancing in the best Bollywood tradition.

The main event of the day was open to members of the public, parents and staff. The central theme of the book is forced marriage and Sufiya read the scene where the main character, Zeba learns that she is to marry her cousin, Asif against her will. A lively and entertaining question and answer session followed with diverse questions ranging from Sufiya’s writing technique to her previous working life as a House of commons researcher and of course, the subject of forced marriage itself.

Feedback from the event has been extremely positive, from both students and adults alike. One year 9 pupil, Molly Galloway said “It was a very motivational talk and one of the things that I took away from the session was to never give up on your dreams!”

Simon Ginger Reading Manager