In twenty acres of steep woodland overlooking a Pennine valley sits Lumb Bank, an impressive eighteenth-century millowner’s house that once belonged to Ted Hughes. For six days in July, Lumb Bank was home to sixteen of the best young writers from our 2018-19 cohort.
Students from First Story partner schools across the country applied for fully-funded places on this year’s summer residential programme. The residential is recognised as a potentially life-changing opportunity. Now in our 10th year in partnership with Arvon, the project was proudly supported this year by the Archie Lloyd Charitable Foundation.
Our sixteen winning students came from diverse backgrounds, bringing with them tons of energy, creativity and potential. Their packed week was led by two of our most experienced Writers-in-Residence, Dan Powell and Rebecca Tantony. They led group workshops in the mornings and one-to-one tutorials in the afternoons. Writer Jarred McGinnis made a special visit too, to read from and talk about his work, before being grilled by the group in a Q&A.
Participants cooked and ate together in the evenings; made cake and cookies for one of their birthdays; went on a collective visit to see Sylvia Plath’s grave; worked in groups to pitch their novel ideas to a panel of ‘industry moguls’ (AKA our writers); and on the final evening, came together to share their writing as part of a celebratory farewell performance.
The connection the adults had with the students was amazing. It did not feel like a lesson, it felt like we were friends all learning from each other.Milo, Addey And Stanhope School, New Cross, London
The writing they produced that week speaks for itself. This collective poem, written as a group collaboration, is a taste of what to expect when we publish the summer residential 2019 anthology this autumn.
LUMB BANK: A COLLECTIVE POEM
BY OUR 2019 RESIDENTIAL GROUP
stood out from the rest:
one tinted with light, one fading into darkness,
one a perfect balance.
Branches dance together,
Purple flowers wave at me.
alive with sound.
Vengeance in the cat’s eyes.
A hopeful stream of mysteries.
A hedge peeking through to join the fray.
Thin, half-formed trees,
clicking, tutting in the breeze.
The sound of the ocean
in the sea of the leaves.
Fresh, periwinkle water rippling in the sky,
peppered with tufts of pearl clouds.
They sway, but
they don’t dance.
The life-full fly
buzzing with movement
but consistently faltering.
Damp aroma: mossy
walls of foreign stone.
Carob skin pointing out eternity,
inhaling verdant wisdoms
as water slowly slides off
A lonely lamp,
choking on dust,
waits to be lit.
The battle of the light against the dark;
the balance for our peace.