Kate Hodson, Wellington School’s newly appointed Head of English, brings to the post not only several years of teaching experience in the department but also a role as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club reviewer. Her reviews have featured on Simon Mayo’s Drive-Time Book Club show.
She explained: “Last October I was contacted to see if I would like to review ‘Landfalls’ by Naomi J Williams. This turned out to be a really engaging read and I wrote a review that Simon Mayo read out live on air – a nerve wracking experience in itself. Since then I have reviewed ‘One Child’ 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 least a good plot but possibly something special. The book turned out to be brilliant – so funny and yet so poignant. It painted a picture of London in WW2 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 which was aired on Simon Mayo’s Drive Time Book Club. Chris said how overwhelming it was to have such positive thoughts heard by 6 million people. The thought of having an audience that size was 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 takes over as Head of Department in September on the retirement of Justin Shepherd.