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Alexander Gordon Smith returns to FLY!

Alexander Gordon Smith returns to UEA, his old University, to speak about his published work and joke about his inspiration.

Set for a striking speech

‘Monsters!’ boomed the projector screen as the groups filed into the theatre. Music sang from the speakers, making for an already impressive atmosphere. Alongside the remarkable presence of Alexander Gordon Smith, it was evident that we were in for another exhilarating talk.

The talk started with photos of various monsters. Frankenstein, Dracula, as well as Gordon Smith himself dressed as a gory and blood-soaked zombie. Boris Johnson also appeared on screen, a strangely topical monster for the day’s political events.

Why is horror such a powerful force?

Gordon Smith exclaimed his adoration of horror. There seemed to be a constant rumbling of laughter in the lecture theatre as Gordon Smith entertained the audience with anecdotes. From his grandmother making him watch ‘18’ certified horror films to attempting to spend a night in a haunted house, Gordon Smith definitely knew how to please a crowd.

Undeniable enthusiasm and a beaming face

From classic monsters like zombies and ghosts to thinking of places as monsters, Gordon Smith told us that monsters vary widely. Fear itself can be a monster. Or have you ever thought of yourself as a monster?

Next the talk took a more emotional turn. Gordon Smith explained that his popular series The Furnace – set in an underground prison for young offenders – is dedicated to a lost child. As he was writing, he realised that if the main character did not escape the prison, he would not escape the black period in his life. It inspired him to write and write.

Evidently the audience adored Gordon Smith’s talk. His advice for a budding writer? Get in your story – visit the locations, speak the dialogue, meet the people. At the end when asked for questions the school students were enthusiastic and hands were raised eagerly.

Sienna James