Epsom Girls Grammar School's budding wordsmiths - who often hold bylines in the College Herald and win national writing prizes - were given a lesson by writer Brigid Lowry yesterday.

Lowry, a guest speaker at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival's inaugural Schools Programme, is a former student and remembers earning a prize for essay writing in the fifth form.

Education has been greatly modified since she was at school 40 years ago, and Lowry said she was pleased to note her former school's commitment to teaching writing.

"I really think that writing is a school that comes into every aspect of daily life."

And so does creativity - yesterday she spoke to students about the importance of juiciness and originality.

Lowry, 56, left Epsom Girls Grammar in 1969 when she was in the sixth form. She went on to become a teacher, poet and author of seven young-adult titles. Her new book, Juicy Writing, released in March, was named a finalist in this year's NZ Post awards, which will be presented tomorrow night.

Year 13 student Alisha Lewis,who takes a writing for publication course at Epsom Girls Grammar,said Lowry was "really, really inspiring and had so much insight into what it is like to be a novel writer".

Alisha would like to be a journalist, but said she would not rule out novel-writing.

Monique Fischer, 17, said she took the school writing course because she has always found that words were "quite magical".

She liked it that Lowry explained the process of novel writing, how to deal with writer's block and the importance of drawing on one's own experiences.