Imaru took part in the First Story programme at Highgate Wood School in London. He was also selected to attend our summer residential and later entered the Rathbones Folio Prize.
“I know everyone can write. You all have your own story to tell. I had lots of stories. I’ve been telling stories since I was a really young age; making poems, creating cartoons. But acknowledging that I had the potential to become a professional writer, an author, that only came when I joined First Story.
Every session gave me a new challenge, a new subject to look at. I had to rethink my own thinking. Looking at new perspectives, working with real authors, gave me an enthusiasm to create my own styles and to share them.
When I was selected by First Story to go on the Arvon residential trip, I spent time with people who love literature. When you get quality and constructive feedback on your own writing, your confidence grows.
First Story exposed me to a side of writing I hadn’t had the courage to venture in to on my own: the big step of sharing my work.
We all fear ridicule and critical comments from our peers and people within our close circle. But in reality, when people actually want to ask you about your characters, and are nagging you for the next instalment of your story, it makes you want to write even more. You get a buzz from hearing your very own creation.
I went on to take part in the Rathbone’s Folio Prize. I had a wonderful mentor, Kamila Shamsie, who helped me take my writing to the next level and really fine tune all the stuff that I needed to get on with. It was a really great journey.
First Story taught me how to make my story belong to other people.”