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.
First Story’s Blog
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’.
Lockdown has spotlighted the vital role schools and teachers play in supporting pupils’ wellbeing. Jess Tickell reflects on the relationship between creative writing and social and emotional learning.
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.
In the week leading up to this year’s National Writing Day on 24 June, we invited two former First Story students from West Yorkshire, Henna Ravjibhai (17) and Sophie Crabtree (19), to take over our Instagram account — as a platform to share their experiences as young writers, and hopefully inspire other young people to practice writing creatively too.
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.