The Summer Residential is an opportunity for students who have shown great potential during the First Story Young Writers Programme to develop their confidence, creativity and writing skills in an idyllic setting in West Yorkshire. This year, sixteen keen young writers were selected to attend the five-day trip to Arvon’s Lumb Bank. We were joined by experienced First Story Writers-in-Residence Cecilia Knapp, Owen Craven-Griffiths and, as our guest on Wednesday, Testament.
The young people travelled from across England, from nearby Bradford and Manchester, but also from East Yorkshire, London and the East Midlands. The residential week provided an opportunity for the young writers to push themselves creatively and socially in the company of like-minded friends-to-be.
During the week, students took part in daily writing workshops. Cecilia and Owen treated the young people as equals, challenging them to think creatively and supporting them to develop as writers. The young writers also had one-to-ones with the writers to refine and edit their work. Both writers-in-residence encouraged constructive feedback between the students, creating a supportive atmosphere that allowed students to learn from each other.
There was also time for the students to explore the beautiful grounds and surroundings of Lumb Bank. We went on woodland walks to explore some of the local countryside and there was free time for students to socialise, read, play games, and write. The Arvon ethos is to support a sense of togetherness, with students working in teams to cook a delicious meal each evening.
Throughout the week, the young writers were preparing work for a live performance at the Thursday evening showcase. Everyone stood up and performed several pieces of their work. Their writing was sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-breaking, but always incredibly powerful. By reading aloud to an audience, some had achieved what they never thought possible on Monday. It was a very special evening with an electric atmosphere!
Participants’ work will appear in a special residential anthology which will be published this autumn.
First Story’s summer residential 2023 was generously supported, for the fifth consecutive year, by teamArchie.