Tuesday 14th Mar 2023

Old Blue Author Visit




On 8 March, we welcomed back former pupil and author Joel Arcanjo to talk about his critically acclaimed, debut children’s book Crookhaven – The School for Thieves. Joel delivered a fun, interactive talk to local primary school children, who were invited specially for the occasion, as well as to Second Form/Year 7 CH pupils; this was followed by a book-signing session.

Drawing some inspiration from his time at CH, as well as from Harry Potter, Joel’s novel, the first of a series, is published by Hachette UK and has already been named Sunday Times ‘Children’s Book of the Week’ and Waterstones ‘Best Children’s Paperback’.

Crookhaven tells the story of Gabriel, a brilliant young pickpocket. One day, practising his criminal art at a train station, he’s caught – but instead of being arrested, he is recruited to Crookhaven, a top-secret school for young thieves in training. Taught subjects such as lock-picking, forgery and crim-nastics Crookhaven graduates are released into the world to do good – by conning the bad into giving back to the innocent.

‘We were honoured and excited to meet Joel and enjoyed the personal introduction he gave us to the characters and storyline of Crookhaven. His explanation of his origin story and the process behind the development of his characters, some based on his own friends from childhood, was fascinating for us as young writers. We loved the opportunity to interact with him and really hope some of our ideas will be included in Joel’s third book!’ Vale School, Worthing, Year 5 group.

‘All pupils came back inspired to become writers and were busy on the minibus deciding whether we could rename Ashurst Primary as Ashurst Spy School!’ Ashurst CE Primary School, Year 5 group.

 Stephen Walsh, Head of English at CH, said: ‘As his former housemaster in Grecians East, I was delighted to welcome Joel back to CH. The hush in the room when he read an extract from the book told us everything about the quality of the writing. We’ve already booked Joel up for a return visit in September.’