Help us be there for young people in the hardest hit communities and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their education, mental health, and life chances.
We’re England’s leading creative writing charity for young people. Our flagship programme pairs professional writers with secondary schools in low-income communities, where they work intensively to develop young people’s creativity, confidence, literacy and ability.
Our extra-curricular provision encourages aspirations as it expands horizons. Participants develop the attitudes, behaviours and skills that underpin learning, and support progress and the achievement of potential.
“First Story is a fantastic idea. Teenagers are under increasing pressure to tailor their work to exams, and to value themselves in terms of the results. First Story offers young people something else. It helps them find a voice. Creative writing can change people’s lives; I’ve seen it happen. It’s more than learning a skill. It’s about learning that you, your family, your culture and your view of the world are rich and interesting and important, whoever you happen to be.”
Every year, we publish exciting new work by talented young writers from under-represented communities.
First Story News
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, this summer, our annual residential programme took place virtually. With participants connecting entirely online, we managed to maintain almost all of the key elements that make this project so special and impactful.
For a recent virtual roundtable, we asked three prominent figures in arts and education, Prof. Dame Alison Peacock, Kate Clanchy MBE, and the Young Vic’s Lorna McGinty: What needs to be in place for the schools sector to ensure high quality, holistic literacy provision which has long term impact on outcomes for all children?
Three writers – Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Bridget Minamore, and Khadijah Ibrahiim – have produced a series of creative-writing resources for Black History Month that can be used in the classroom and beyond. Read their powerful forewords.
After months of lockdown and Zoom meetings, our CEO got to attend a First Story anthology launch in person earlier this month —albeit socially-distanced—when she went along to St Gabriel’s College in South London, to help students celebrate the publication of their new anthology ’20:20 Vision’.
National Writing Day 2020 was framed around a mass participation creative writing exercise, the #247Challenge. As a call to action, it proved to be incredibly popular, with thousands of stories and poems shared online. Here we have collated just a few of the incredible submissions we read.
First Story alumni can apply until the 31 July 2020 to take part in the 20/21 Rathbones Folio Mentorships programme, for a chance to work for a year with an acclaimed pro author. Two of this year’s mentees, Mariamah Davey and Nidaa Raoof, share their reasons to get involved.
Throughout 2019-20, we’ve been working in partnership with Unislam, the National Slam Poetry Festival, to place Unislam artists as ‘shadow writers’ in First Story schools. Jess Tickell caught up with one of these shadow writers, Sophie Horton.
National Writing Day 2020 takes place on 24 June. With most young people at home due to the pandemic, this year’s programme is being delivered digitally. Our NWD 2020 resource bank includes nine, feature-length creative writing video tutorials led by talented First Story Writers-in-Residence. We’ve been encouraging users on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to give the tutorials a try and post new writing online. Here we highlight a small selection of the pieces shared during May via the hashtag #WriteFromHome.
The impressive line-up of literary talent helping us celebrate National Writing Day 2020 includes: current and former Children’s Laureates, Cressida Cowell and Malorie Blackman; Scotland’s National Poet, Jackie Kay; Carnegie medal-winning screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce; best-selling author Mark Haddon; writer and illustrator Laura Dockrill; poet Caroline Bird; playwright Vinay Patel; and children’s author SF Said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap for attainment, but has also robbed a generation of valuable social and emotional learning.
We’re really excited to announce the winners of the 2019 100-Word Story Competition judged by the lovely folks at Vintage books.