There are many ways you can get involved in the life of the school and current students love to hear and learn from the experience of alumnae. If you would be interested in coming to the school to talk about your career, or helping out with careers talks then we would love to hear from you.
Please email Lucinda Webb firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 023 92 701617
Lucy Foley (Class of 2004)
In March 2020 the Sixth Form were thrilled to have one of their favourite authors, Lucy Foley, visit them to talk about her writing challenges and her latest book, The Guest List, which has just hit UK shelves.
Lucy Foley, from the Class of 2004 was visiting the school to judge the prestigious final of the Girls’ Day School Trust public speaking competition. She arrived earlier in the day to spend time with the Sixth Formers.
Lucy left Portsmouth High School and read English at Durham and UCL universities. After graduating and still viewing herself as more of a reader than a writer, she went into publishing, latterly at Hodder & Stoughton as Assistant Editor. Here she realised her dream of becoming a writer:
‘There was something less intimidating about seeing first drafts than the glossy hardback that you pick off the shelf,’ she said. ‘It made me realise that a novel starts as just a Word document. It felt doable.’
Lucy’s career path armed her with all the understanding she needed to become an author and in 2015 her debut novel, The Book of Lost and Found, was published. This work of historical fiction and its two successors, The Invitation and Last Letter from Istanbul have been described as “sweeping, multi-generational epics.” Her first crime novel, The Hunting Party, reached number one in the Sunday Times’ paperback fiction list.
‘I try to have a clear idea of the start and ending before I begin writing a novel,’ she told the Sixth Formers. Publishers look for great characterisation; they want to feel as if characters “are someone they would recognise as they walk through the door”.’
Lucy added that crime fiction requires more careful plotting but to ensure that you “leave room for things that might surprise you”. She even confessed that the killer in The Guest List was originally another character.
PHS English teacher, Mrs Katie Wood, (Class of 1999) added:
‘As someone who has fond memories of Lucy from our schooldays, following her writing career has been an inspiring and thrilling process for me. Having her back with us, sharing her experience and insight so generously, was a wonderful and unique experience for the next generation of budding writers and avid readers at PHS – and we are incredibly grateful for her time and wisdom.’
Anjana Gadgil (Class of 1996)
We were delighted to welcome back Anjana Gadgil as a judge at the prestigious GDST Chrystall Carter public speaking competition in March 2020.
Anjana, BBC Television Presenter, BBC South Today was joined by Lucy Foley (Class of 2004), best-selling novelist, and Cheryl Giovannoni, Chief Executive of the GDST and an audience of girls, teachers and parents as they took part in the final of the public speaking competition. Students are given a topic relating to societal issues of today and must give a confident argument of their view on that topic. They must also be able to engage with the audience and deal with challenging questions posed to them after their speech.
Anjana Gadgil, Portsmouth High School alumna from the Class of 1996, said:
‘This has been an inspirational afternoon. The girls have tackled complex subjects with so much confidence.’