Opening day of Marlborough LitFest: the Big School Read with Tamsyn Murray

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Tamsyn Murray’s young adult novel, Instructions for a Second Hand Heart was chosen for Marlborough’s Big School Read, one of the opening events of this year’s LitFest.
At St John’s Theatre on the Hill students from St John’s, Pewsey Vale School and St Francis listened as Tamsyn explained the background to the novel and spoke about the creative process of writing.

The inspiration for her novel Instructions for a Second Hand Heart came from a blogpost written by a mother whose son had died. The novel, which has a dual narrative, explores loss, grief, the effect of organ donation on the recipient and on the families involved. It also explores the dilemma of knowing that the only way to live would be to receive a new heart and the only way to receive one would be for someone to die.

Tamsyn has written twenty one novels: “This is the book I’m most proud of… It took me four years to write it. I had to do a lot of research…The book made me cry a lot. I hated writing it. It’s still kind of affecting me and still making me cry. I don’t know if it will ever stop making me cry.”

Tamsyn told her audience that her interest in writing started with creative writing in school. Her first book, a teen novel, was published in 2008 and took only six weeks to write. She was, she says, in the right place at the right time as it was accepted for publication straight away.

Since then she has written some books for younger readers, some for teens and under the pseudonym, Holly Hepburn, some for adults. Loss, identity and working out who you are have become major themes in her work.

Since 2010 over 3,000 local children have benefited from author talks as part of the LitFest. was pleased to sponsor this event.

Tamsyn Murray can be contacted via Twitter @tamsyntweetie  or Instagram – TAMSYNMURRAY or

Sue Round, Marlborough News Online

Tamsyn Murray talks to school children at the Theatre on the Hill, St John’s Academy

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Year 6 Open Evening

3rd October 2019 17:30-20:00 St John's Marlborough View the School Calendar

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