National Writing Day is our annual mass celebration of the pleasure and power of creative writing, driven by a coalition of leading literacy organisations and publishers, led by First Story. Now in its fourth year, the NWD 2020 programme is dedicated to children and young people, with all activities happening online. As we build-up to the big day on 24th June, we are delighted to announce this year’s NWD Ambassadors, who’ll be highlighting the key activities taking place and encouraging creative writing across the country.
The list of literary stars signed-up to promote National Writing Day this year includes both the current and a former Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell and Malorie Blackman. We also have the support of the National Poet for Scotland, Jackie Kay. Carnegie medal-winning screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce and multi-award winning author Mark Haddon are on board too, along with two former First Story Writers-in-Residence, author and illustrator Laura Dockrill and poet Caroline Bird. The playwright Vinay Patel and children’s author SF Said complete an impressive line-up of writing talent.
Call to action: #WriteFromHome
In the weeks leading up to National Writing Day, we’ll be calling on young people to share their own pieces of creative writing on the subject of their experiences in lockdown. Many students suddenly lost out on rites of passage this year. Many of the young people we serve will also have been living in difficult circumstances. We want to hear from them directly, what they’re thinking, feeling and going through in this unprecedented time.
Throughout May, we’ve been busy on our social channels, encouraging young people to write and share with us their poems and stories, using the hashtag #WriteFromHome. Our National Writing Day ambassadors have been getting behind the campaign too, helping us generate lots of engagement on Twitter and Instagram.
At the same time, we’ve been working with some of our talented Writers-in-Residence to create high-quality resources that can support young people to write at home. First Story is releasing a new, hour-long tutorial video every week leading up to 24 June — nine in total — each one led by a different practitioner and focused on a distinct theme. Four of the tutorials are available now via First Story’s YouTube channel: Dean Atta on ‘Water’, Vicki Foster on ‘Place’, Caleb Parkin on ‘Objects’, and Cecilia Knapp on ‘Identity’.
Feedback on the the value of these new resources has been overwhelmingly positive — from teachers, parents and students alike.
NWD Resource Bank
The First Story video tutorials form part of an excellent online resource bank, put together by this year’s National Writing Day partners. Leading literacy organisations, including Authorfy, CLPE, Arvon, National Poetry Day, Driver Youth Trust, and the English and Media Centre, have all contributed teaching and learning resources, supporting both primary and secondary. Explore the full list of free-to-download resources at nationalwritingday.org.uk.