First Story’s Young Writers Festival is an annual celebration of writing for, and by young people. For the first time in First Story history, 2021’s celebrations took place entirely online, with students and schools joining us virtually to take part in workshops and hear award-winning authors discuss their work. We welcomed YA author of bestselling novel The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas as headliner of the festival, joining us from the US alongside critically acclaimed authors and poets.
Angie Thomas headlines
Angie Thomas is the author of award-winning and best-selling YA novel The Hate U Give. Angie’s first book debuted #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List and was adapted into a critically-acclaimed film. Her second novel, On the Come Up, is also a bestseller, with a film in development. In 2020, Angie released Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Truth intended to help aspiring writers tell their stories. Her new novel, Concrete Rose is a prequel to The Hate U Give, returning to the world of Garden Heights. Angie spoke to a Year 10 student at George Green’s School about her work. We were even lucky enough to hear her rap!
Dean Atta MC’s Young Writers Showcase
Bestselling YA author and poet, and former First Story Writer-in-Residence, Dean Atta won the 2020 Stonewall Book Award for his debut novel, The Black Flamingo. His work often deals with themes of gender, identity, race and growing up. A patron of LGBT+ History Month, he has been named one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK. In this special showcase event, nine inspiring young writers from First Story participating schools performed their own creative pieces and received personalised feedback from Dean.
Exclusive learning resources
We worked with critically acclaimed authors and poets to create exclusive short films to inspire young writers. Featuring tips and advice from writers across multiple genres, these short videos got young people all over the nation putting pen to paper.
Through virtual delivery, the Young Writers Festival reached an estimated 15,000 students in 84 schools. We look forward to YWF 2022 which will be delivered both in person at the University of Cambridge and online to ensure every young person, regardless of their background, has access to exciting writing opportunities!