Author Chrissie Keighery Visits Our School to Discuss “Whisper” for Deaf Awareness Week 2024

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We had the privilege of hosting acclaimed Australian author Chrissie Keighery. Chrissie, known for her powerful novel Whisper, which delves into the world of deafness and has been a valuable addition to our reading list for Deaf Awareness Week 2024.

She led our Year 8 students in a captivating discussion about her journey as a writer and the impact of her book. Whisper, first published in 2011, which tells the story of fifteen-year-old Demi, whose world is shattered when she becomes profoundly deaf due to a sudden illness. The novel explores Demi’s struggle to adapt to her new reality, including navigating a new school, making new friends, and learning sign language. Chrissie’s portrayal of Demi’s experiences is both poignant and eye-opening, allowing readers to step into the silent world of a deaf teenager.

During her visit, Chrissie shared insights into her writing process and the inspiration behind Whisper. She revealed that the idea for the book came from her fascination with communication and the challenges faced by deaf individuals. Chrissie emphasised the importance of representation in literature, especially for young readers, and how she aimed to create an authentic portrayal of Demi’s life.

One of the most impactful moments of Chrissie’s talk was when she discussed the importance of cultural representation and the movement Own Voices, which encourages authors to write from diverse perspectives. She acknowledged the responsibility of writing about a culture she wasn’t part and stressed the importance of thorough research with a focus on empathy and sensitivity. She encouraged our students to critically analyse narratives and consider the responsibility that comes with storytelling.

Chrissie shared her writing journey, ignited by a passion for storytelling inherited from her parents. Despite early rejections, she found success with the Go Girl series. Recently, she ventured into adult psychological thrillers, demonstrating her commitment to growth and exploration. Her creative process involves curiosity, resilience, and a willingness to step outside her comfort zone.

Our Year 8 students were enthralled by Chrissie’s passion for storytelling and her commitment to raising awareness about deafness. She left a lasting mark on our school community.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Chrissie Keighery for sharing her time and wisdom with us. Her visit during Deaf Awareness Week reminded us all of the power of literature to foster empathy, understanding, and connection.

If you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend diving into Demi’s world and experiencing the transformative journey that Chrissie has crafted.

Sutton High Prep School

86 Grove Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AL
T. 020 8225 3072

Sutton High Senior School

55 Cheam Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AX
T. 020 8642 0594