Pupils grill best-selling author McNab
A DECORATED former SAS soldier and novelist has undergone a gruelling mission of a very different kind – being interrogated by our Highfield and Brookham students.
Andy McNab, a celebrated Armed Forces veteran who served in Northern Ireland and the Gulf War before turning his attention to writing novels and producing films, was put to the test by curious young drama students.
The Year 6 pupils submitted a series of probing questions to McNab, with the author awarding signed copies of his popular young adult book Get Me Out of Here, which he co-wrote with Phil Earle, to the writers of the six most imaginative submissions.
Having been denied the chance to perform their annual year-group play by the coronavirus pandemic, the creative children instead turned their attentions to producing a series of short films which were premiered at the independent school’s A Night at the Oscars ceremony earlier this month.
And who better to provide some insights to tomorrow’s filmmakers than McNab, who wrote the book on which action film SAS: Red Notice was based, a film which was released on Sky Cinema in March, and whose debut book Bravo Two Zero has sold an astonishing 10 million copies worldwide?
Describing all of the submitted questions as “fantastic”, McNab, a recipient of both the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal during his time in the military, as well as a CBE for his services to literacy and charity in 2017, had to narrow it down to just six.
McNab, who had a reading age of just 11 when he joined the Army at the age of 16 straight out of juvenile detention, was quizzed on a variety of topics including inspiration for his novels, his proudest achievements, what he had learnt from failure and whether his experiences had helped in his career as a film-maker.
The winning questions were submitted by Monty Leach, Tom Hall, Lottie Alexander, Cindy Zhou, Isabel Salisbury and Ryder Larby.
McNab, who became an avid reader after belatedly finishing reading his first book at the age of 17 and who has since read “anything and everything that I could get my hands on”, was impressed by the maturity and dedication of the school's pupils have shown during the time that they have been away from the classroom due to the pandemic.
He said: “I really enjoyed reading all the questions that Highfield’s Year 6 sent me, what an enthusiastic and creative sounding bunch of young people! I wish I could have answered every single question, and perhaps one day they will invite me to school for a cup of tea and a chat – and hopefully they’ll show me the films they have been making at the same time.”
Highfield headmaster Phillip Evitt said: “Andy McNab is an incredibly well-known figure, not only as an SAS soldier but also as a best-selling author and film producer, so what a thrill it was for our Year 6 children to get the chance to learn a little about his fascinating life and his career from the battlefield to the bookshop. Perhaps one or two of our Year 6 pupils will follow in his footsteps and have a book or two alongside Andy’s in the library in years to come, or perhaps even a film on the big screen.”