Intensive, weekly writing sessions tailored to the group’s needs and interests
First Story’s creative writing workshops create a safe space for freedom of expression, underpinned by our three principles: explore your voice, your world, and use detail.
Writing groups are limited to 21 students, plus a lead teacher, who is expected to fully participate alongside the group.
Weekly sessions take place on the school grounds, but entirely outside of the timetable and curriculum.
First Story Writers-in-Residence are published authors with teaching experience. They lead every workshop, providing guidance, scaffolding exercises, and individual support to students as needed.
Workshops usually begin with an icebreaker task, prompting the group to discuss and formulate ideas together.
Building on the discussion, an initial writing task allows students to practise new techniques. An extended writing task encourages them to focus on developing emerging pieces.
At the end of each workshop, everyone is urged to read aloud and share their work with the group.
Despite their original disbelief in their creative prowess, students diligently turned up every Tuesday afternoon for our sessions. For the past six months they have written, rubbed out, revised and edited their creative musings. They have worked through countless writers’ blocks with a tenacity I have never witnessed before; they have pondered and wandered into different worlds through writing. They have grown. Grown into ferocious, liberated and creative minds. The most beautiful part of it all is that they have supported one another through the writing process, being pillars for one another on darker days and each others’ biggest cheerleaders on the brighter. They have become a little creative writing family — which I blessed to have witnessed be birthed.TSKENYA-SARAH FRAZER, ENGLISH TEACHER
Sessions explore writing in different forms, observing objects and examining characters, colours, places, or social ideas.
Students are urged to play with language and style, and to try writing without constraint. They also learn how to critique their own writing, and how to edit and revise their work.
Writers provide specific and concrete feedback on work that is shared, and may offer suggestions for edits, though the student always has final say on their own writing.
In a First Story workshop, young people are encouraged to tell the stories they want to tell, without worrying about marking criteria.