Schoolgirls welcomed an award-winning author of young adult fiction for a passionate and inspirational talk on the power of friendship.

Sara Barnard, whose novel Goodbye, Perfect won the YA Book Prize in 2019, was invited to Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls in Elstree.

Taking inspiration from her books. which are mainly platonic love stories about friendships, Barnard spoke about how important her own friends were to her at school and how these friendships shape your life.

The visit was timely for the school’s year 8 students, who have been discussing relationships at school during their form time this term.

Borehamwood Times:

The moving talk reiterated that friendships are the most important relationships a child has at this stage of their life and Barnard spoke about how they are the first ‘free choices’ you make as a child – you choose your friends and they choose you. She highlighted to the students that those choices impact how you interact and the boundaries you set for the future.

Barnard also revealed she’s had the same best friend for 20 years.

Barnard, who will launch her fifth book in June, also touched on the more sensitive topic of toxic friendships, how to spot them and how to extricate yourself from them safely. She concluded by suggesting that online friends can be real friends too, but that they are not a replacement for real life friendships.

Borehamwood Times:

Sara Barnard

Rose Hardy, headmistress at Habs Girls School, said: "We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear about Sara’s journey as an author and how her books are inspired by her own friendships and experiences.

"Our Year 8 students heard that friendships are mutual and that they help you to learn about yourself and the life you will have. Sara’s thought provoking words and success as an author from a young age, has given the students real food for thought as they saw first hand how courage, hard work and determination really does pay off."

Following her talk, Barnard chatted to the students about her work and signed copies of her books for them to take home.