Featured Event – Young Writers’ Anthology Launches with First Story

This National Writing Day, young people across Leicester are launching brand new anthologies of their work

Having spent the past year learning to find their voices with a professional Writer-in-Residence (or a term for those on shorter programmes) as part of the First Story programme, students at schools are preparing themselves for an exciting celebration of their newly published books!

Three anthologies of creative writing from students at four Leicester schools will be launched at the Y Theatre. Students from The Lancaster Academy, Babington Community Academy, The City of Leicester College and Judgemeadow Community College will read aloud a piece of their writing.

The launch event will be compered by poet and theatre-maker John Berkavitch, short story writer Dan Powell, and the poet Andrew Graves. All the comperes are First Story Writers-in-Residence, and have led creative writing programmes at the schools. The anthologies of the students’ writing produced by each school, includes an introduction by the Writer-in-Residence. The City of Leicester College and Judgemeadow Community College have each produced an anthology, and Babington Community Academy and The Lancaster Academy have produced a joint anthology.

John Berkavitch Writer-in-Residence at Babington Community Academy and The Lancaster Academy comments: I am very proud of the work that the students have developed, as we used an idea from Oulipo, a group of writers, who believed that creativity comes from restriction. The students created of body of work within set rules and came up with exciting pieces of writing. I am delighted that they have the opportunity to see their work celebrated at this event.’

Dan Powell, Writer-in-Residence at Judgemeadow Community College, says: ‘The students at the college suggested the Greek word ‘meraki’ as a title for this anthology, which means doing something with soul and creativity. This summed up the students’ approach to writing. I am proud that the poems and stories within the anthologies are all infused with something of their individuality as authors.’

Andrew Graves, Writer-in-Residence at The City of Leicester College, says: ‘Based on the weird and wonderful writing prompts that I threw at them, the students produced an amazing myriad of stories and poems on different themes. I am delighted that the students have had the opportunity to share their work and see it published.’

These anthologies are just a few examples of the 60+ books launched by First Story schools each year.  The programme helps young people gain confidence in their ability to communicate through writing, by working with professional writers who encourage them to share their work, find their voices and develop their literacy skills.

On National Writing Day, First Story encourages everyone, everywhere to participate in a seven minute Write Away, a free writing exercise which can be done in a classroom, at home, or in the office. It can be done by hand, typing into a phone or tablet or even doing a recording. The theme for the exercise is ‘place’ which can be a physical place, a place in time or an imaginary place. The objective is to inspire people everywhere to discover the pleasure and power of writing.

Linda Craig, Interim Director at First Story, says: ‘I am delighted that creative writing by young people is being celebrated. Providing young people with the opportunity to read aloud their writing, not only gives them confidence, but also is inspiring for others and helps them realise that everyone can write, as everyone has a story to tell.’


Take part on 26th June 2019:

Everyone has a story to tell – what’s yours?

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National Writing Day is led by First Story and is delivered in collaboration with its partners across the UK. First Story is a national literacy charity dedicated to changing lives through writing. Participating in creative writing has been shown to improve confidence, wellbeing and stress levels. Key aims of National Writing Day include raising the profile of creative writing, celebrating all forms of writing and communicating that writing is empowering and fun.