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
Earlier this month, First Story in the East Midlands trialled a new way of offering CPD to our teachers, with a free event held online on a Saturday, led by the celebrated teacher and writer, Kate Clanchy.
Watch exclusive clips from this summer’s virtual showcase event, which celebrated new writing by five First Story alumni, chosen to be Rathbones Folio Prize Mentees in 2019/20.
First Story hasn’t stopped working through the pandemic. Adapted models of our Young Writers Programme are running during autumn term 2020/21 in partner schools across England.
Five bursary places available to study for a University of Cambridge PGCert in Teaching Creative Writing at its Institute of Continuing Education
Our new Young Ambassadors Programme is an exciting supported volunteering opportunity for alumni keen to continue their engagement with creative writing. It puts young people at the heart of promoting creative writing within their schools and local communities.
In its fourth year, the Rathbones Folio Prize Mentorships scheme pairs four talented First Story alumni with acclaimed writers from the Folio Academy, receiving a year of 1:1 mentoring support to further develop their writing craft.
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.