Students at Uxbridge College had plenty of questions to ask a local author when she was invited to talk to them about her job as a journalist.
The keen writers who are studying for a Diploma in Creative Media (Journalism and Creative Writing) – a brand new course at the college - were quizzing her on her book Tales from an Old Hack - memoir of a local reporter which was published by The Book Guild in September.
Among the topics were: deadlines - are they stressful? Is the editor all-powerful? How do you deal with people over sensitive issues, and how does it affect you? Can the job fit in with a home life? How do you write a column?
Barbara, a columnist on the Uxbridge Gazette, also talked about her collaboration with Phyllis Whitsell on the Sunday Times bestseller Finding Tipperary Mary.
Asked to read from her book, she let them choose a topic from a list of chapters. They chose Lunch with the Queen, which is proving to be the most popular with Barbara's talks so far.
She said: "Many thanks to the students and to Emma, their lecturer, for inviting me. They were a great bunch, very enthusiastic, and, thank goodness, clued up about the dangers of only taking news from social networks. I hope many of them go on to make successful careers in writing."
Emma Filtness, Media Lecturer, said: "It is important for our students to have the opportunity to meet professionals from the creative industries, to be able to ask questions and learn about the various careers open to them in future. By hearing Barbara talk about her career and read from her book, they were able to learn first-hand from a reporter and columnist with years of experience, and I'd like to thank Barbara for kindly giving her time and generously sharing her wisdom with my burgeoning writers."
* For more about the Diploma in Creative Media (Journalism and Creative Writing), please click here.