First Story are thrilled that one of our founders, Katie Waldegrave has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021.
Alongside 1,000 individuals, Katie has been honoured for her outstanding contribution to her community with an MBE. A former teacher, Katie founded First Story in 2008 alongside award-winning author, William Fiennes, with the aim to bring creative writing expertise to schools in low-income communities. The current Founder and Director of Now Teach, Katie commented:
At the heart of the work of both First Story and Now Teach is the belief that all young people deserve fair access to the greatest, richest education possible. First Story schools are doing amazing things in terms of placing serious creativity at the centre of their students’ lives. Now Teachers are bringing enormously valuable skills – and diversity of experience – to their schools and students. I am so pleased on behalf of all those who work to make both charities a success, that the importance of the work is being recognised. The honour belongs to all those who have placed their faith in either charity and not to me.Katie Waldegrave
Katie’s entrepreneurial vision, understanding of education and commitment to inclusion, combined with William Fiennes’ understanding of the power of creative writing, has created a unique charity that has gone from strength to strength and is now the leading creative writing charity for young people. Over the past twelve years First Story has worked in over 170 schools, supporting thousands of students from less privileged backgrounds to write creatively for pleasure and agency. It has grown from a London-based organisation to one which now works in four regions across England including East Midlands and Yorkshire. First Story students’ work has been presented in literature festivals including Bradford and Cheltenham, as well as on BBC Radio. Several students have gone on to win places on residential courses in partnership with the Arvon Foundation and writing mentorships as part of the Rathbones Folio Prize Mentorship. Others have gained the confidence to win places at university and found publishing presses.
Katie’s energy and commitment for First Story never ceases. She had a brilliant idea but it’s much more difficult to make it happen. First Story is living proof of the huge contribution to education Katie has made – and still makes. She is one of the most generous and inspirational people I have come across in my own working life and we send her very well-deserved congratulations.Antonia Byatt, CEO at First Story