Chloe Holland took part in First Story’s intensive creative writing programme during 2016-17, as a student at Appleton Academy in Bradford. Diagnosed with severe dyslexia and also dyspraxia, Chloe used to struggle through school. She was sure she’d never participate in higher education — until she met Writer-in-Residence Nick Toczek and got involved with First Story. Chloe is now an undergraduate at the University of Huddersfield, as well as a passionate writer.
Writing saved me… It’s really helped me as a creative outlet… I write every single day of my life… My mum would argue that First Story was the thing that saved me… It is amazing — the things that they’ve done for me and the opportunities… and I’m a published author now.– Chloe Holland, First Story alumna
In December 2019, Chloe was invited to BBC Broadcasting House in London to be interviewed by presenter Katie Thistleton for the Radio 1 Life Hacks podcast. Life Hacks is an advice show for young people, during which guests share personal stories of how they overcame problems and challenges, by ‘hacking their lives to make them better’.
Writing can be really helpful for your mental health and wellbeing. It’s helpful to get all those thoughts in our brains that swirl around out on paper, so we can actually see what they are. And also it really empowers you because it’s a way of getting your voice heard, and actually just expressing who you are — and I think that just lends itself to you being more empathetic to other people as well.– Dr Radha Modgil, BBC Radio 1 Life Hacks
Take a listen to the podcast, below, in which Chloe tells Katie and her co-presenter Dr Radha how First Story changed her life. She also talks practical ways to manage dyslexia, what it’s like to be in education with a learning difficulty, and why she still writes every day.
You don’t have to be someone who goes to Cambridge University to have a story. Everyone’s got a story to tell — and we want diverse stories. It would be very dull if it was only the rich that wrote stories — we’d be very bored of reading them!– Katie Thistleton, BBC Radio 1 Life Hacks