We are thrilled to report on our third annual Young Writers’ Festival. Taking place on Thursday 19 September at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 700 students from First Story schools across the country attended this magical day of writing workshops, talks and performances.
A team of eager volunteers were on hand to greet the school groups and guide them through the day’s activities. Opening the Festival was poet Caroline Bird who spoke about writing as a ‘gift’ and introduced former First Story participants to the stage, where they shared their experiences.
The young writers participated in a range of workshops, from intimate writing sessions to energy-fuelled poetry slams. Approximately thirty-two writers were involved, each one bringing their own personality and imagination to the mix.
At lunchtime, Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman shared her wisdom with a jam-packed marquee. Speaking in conversation with First Story co-founder William Fiennes, Malorie spoke about her journey to becoming a writer and obstacles faced along the way. It was particularly inspiring to hear of her persistence following eighty rejection letters.
In the afternoon, Kate Fox fired up the audience with her infectious energy and enthusiasm. Encouraging the audience to “imagine One Direction are in your bathroom giving you a private concert”, the pupils who performed their work were met with thunderous applause and whoops of appreciation.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Jane and Peter Aitken, Give a Book, Bicester Village, SAGE Publications, the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and all our wonderful writers and volunteers for making this day possible.