Our annual festival is a unique celebration of writing for and by young people. The YWF brings together hundreds of young people from First Story partner schools nationally for an inspiring day-long event packed with workshops, talks and performances.
Usually the YWF takes place at the University of Cambridge, but this year’s event will be delivered digitally — creating an exciting opportunity for even more young people to get involved.
Our 2021 programme mixes some exclusive content for First Story schools with open sessions, including award-winning author Angie Thomas in conversation, plus a Young Writers Showcase MC’ed by Dean Atta.
Angie Thomas In Conversation
Free. This event is open to non-First Story schools — registration essential. This event is a pre-recorded live interview led by a First Story young writer. Events available here from 8am Wednesday 24 March 2021, then accessible until Friday 23 April 2021.
We are thrilled to announce that internationally acclaimed YA author Angie Thomas is this year’s festival headliner. Angie is best known for her award-winning, best-selling debut novel, The Hate U Give. The book debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List and was adapted into a critically-acclaimed film. Her second novel, On the Come Up, is also a bestseller, with a film in development. In 2020, Angie released Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Truth intended to help aspiring writers tell their stories. Her new novel, Concrete Rose, is a prequel to The Hate U Give, returning to the world of Garden Heights.
I look at books as being a form of activism. Sometimes they’ll show us a side of the world that we might not have known about.
Angie will be in conversation with a First Story young writer about her writing life and how young writers can find and use their voices. Registered participants will have the opportunity to email their own questions for Angie.
Sign up soon and get 10 FREE copies of The Hate U Give — see how below.
Young Writers Showcase
Free. This event is open to non-First Story schools — registration essential. This event features pre-recorded performances by First Story young writers. Events available here from 8am Wednesday 24 March 2021, then accessible until Friday 23 April 2021.
Watch young writers from First Story schools performing their own pieces of writing with personalised feedback from the best-selling YA author and poet, Dean Atta. Dean’s debut novel, The Black Flamingo, won the Stonewall Book Award. His work often deals with themes of gender, identity, race and growing up. A patron of LGBT+ History Month, he has been named one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK.
Live Writing Workshops
Free. This event is exclusively for First Story participating schools — registration essential. Workshops will be delivered via your school’s preferred digital platform on 24 March 2021.
All workshops sessions will be facilitated by writers from First Story’s Writer-in-Residence community, whose expertise spans from prose, to playwriting, to poetry and performance. Current First Story creative writing groups are encouraged to take up this exclusive opportunity to work with and learn from a new and different professional practitioner. We will work with each registered school to allocate a writer and shape your workshop session to your students’ needs and interests.
Teachers’ CPD Twilight
Free. This event is exclusively for First Story participating schools — registration essential. This event will be delivered live via Zoom on 23 March 2021.
This special session for teachers, facilitated and led by acclaimed writer and teacher Rachel Seiffert, explores how to develop a writer’s mindset.
Rachel’s debut novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and made into a feature film. Her second, third and fourth novels were long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She’s received the EM Forster Award, an award from PEN International for her poetry, and her books have been published in eighteen languages. Rachel has taught creative writing at Goldsmiths College and Glasgow University, and delivered seminars at the Humboldt University Berlin, Manchester University and the Faber Academy in London, amongst others. She’s a returning tutor at the Arvon Foundation as well as a First Story Writer-in-Residence.
Craft and Technique Resources
Exclusive short videos will provide young writers with inspiration and great creative writing tips from leading writers such as celebrated YA author and poet Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Watch in the classroom or at home.
The Hate U Give Book Donations
Thanks to our friends at Walker Books, we’ve got 500 copies of Angie Thomas’s incredible debut, The Hate U Give, to give away to YWF2021 participating schools. The first 50 registered schools will receive 10 copies each.*
*Unless you choose to opt out. Only schools that register are eligible for the book giveaway. Individuals may still register to watch Angie Thomas in Conversation.
Register Now >>