9 April 2024

1. Can you tell us your name and one interesting fact about yourself?

My name is Jack Meggitt-Phillips, and I’m the author of The Beast and the Bethany books. This series tells the tale of a young 500-year-old named Ebenezer, a hungry beast named . . . well, beast, and a rebellious prankster named Bethany who’s about to be eaten. There are five books in the series, and I spend most of my days madly scribbling away in notebooks and talking to myself in my beast voice.

2. What subjects did you study or were you particularly interested in while you were with us?
Stories have always been something I’ve been interested in – whether it was dislocating my eyebrows while frowning at Macbeth during English lessons, or giggling with glee as I got to write my own witchy tales in English Language. I loved learning about the world in History, and questioning what our place is in it in Religious Education.

3. What are you doing now, and can you tell us how you got to this point?
I love being an author – it is the silliest job in the world. If anyone is interested in becoming one then you don’t need a fancy computer or a splendid pen carved in the Himalayan mountains. If you want to write, all you need is time. 

Write constantly – every day of the week if you can. Write episodes of your favourite TV shows, write sprawling made-up histories about the secret life of goats, write about your Aunt Mildred’s disgusting habit of chewing other people’s fingernails. All of it will make you better. 

The more you write, the more you’ll find your voice, and hopefully the kinds of stories that no one else can tell. 

4. Did you always know this was something you wanted to pursue? If not, what other options were you considering?
When I was about ten years old, there was a creative writing competition in school. It was probably the first serious bit of writing I’d ever done – and I wrote a story which felt terrific to write but proved somewhat torturous to read. The judges quite rightly didn’t even give me so much as a participation certificate for my efforts, but I enjoyed the process of writing so much, that I’ve kept bashing away at it – mainly driven by the desire to write something less rubbish than the last thing I wrote. I’ve been a full-time writer for four years now.

5. Looking back, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
Get a haircut, and stop dressing like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. Also, I know that you’re very proud to be a part of the LHS debating society, but there’s no need to grandly pick an argument about every topic all the time. 

6. What advice would you give to students today thinking about their future?
Throw yourself into everything. The more you learn, the more clubs you join, the more hobbies and friends you acquire, the more you read – all of it will expand your horizons, and reveal things about yourself that you might not have realised before. Regrets nearly always come from the things you don’t do. 

If you’d like more information about our alumni network or would like to get involved, please complete the form on our alumni page and a member of staff will come back to you.