Lesley Smith Policy Director of Amazon UK Talk

Year 12 listened to the Policy Director of Amazon UK as part of the sixth form speaker programme. Lesley Smith outlined the broad spectrum of careers available at Amazon UK as well as Amazon’s amazing story from starting out in Jeff Bezoz’s garage selling computer books to a company valued at over 100 billion dollars selling 250 million items in Europe and over 500 million in the USA. Lesley also outlined her own career story to inspire everyone to work hard to achieve their goal. In the past, our Sixth Form Speaker Programme has included the CEO of Standard Chartered, the former Attorney General and member of Parliament, a surgeon, Chairman of the Royal Mail and a speaker from Google.

Kingsbury High School Student Discovers the Secrets of Life

aida getachew from techkhs on Vimeo.

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Year 9 student, Aida Getachew, started writing the Secrets of Life at the age of 12. At 13, she was a published author and at 14, she finally told everyone about it!

The Secrets of Life, is the story of a teenage girl who undertakes a mission to find and protect an enchanted scroll, entrusted to her by her ancestors. Kingsbury High School students are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Secrets of Life in the school’s libraries.

The Secrets of Life is available to buy in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.

Below is an interview with Aida:

What inspired you to write a book?

My Saturday school teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I was older and I told her I wanted to be an author. She told me that I better get started because it takes a long time to publish a book, so I started writing the following weekend.

How long did it take you to write the book?

It took me about a year to write the book with breaks in between.

Did you get writers block?

Yes, a lot.

What gave you inspiration for the story?

I really like Harry Potter and anything fantasy. I love the idea that, in fantasy, nothing has to be real so I took that on board.

Who are your favourite authors?

J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien

I heard you kept it really quiet from all of your friends. Why was that?

I didn’t want to tell them in case something went wrong or that it didn’t get published.

How have you found the fame when your friends found out?

No one believed me. My family did not believe me, my friends didn’t believe me, my teachers didn’t believe me so they took a lot of convincing, but it’s good. I’m still the same person, but with a book.

What are your next steps? Have you planned another book yet?

I might write one, but I’ve got GCSEs coming up so I’m going to study for them first. I might write one in the summer. I might do a sequel to Secrets of Life.

How did you feel when you heard your book was going to be published?

When I got the phone call, I didn’t believe it; I thought it was a prank. I was really excited, happy, I was going crazy. It was really good.

How did your family feel? What did they say?

They were smiling the whole evening. They were just really happy and they called me ‘author’ and ‘celebrity’, it was really strange. They were really proud of me.

[text by Camille; photograph by Steve; video by Erik]