Having had time to finish and edit over the summer, the children read their stories and poems aloud in front of an audience, and the authors gave feedback to each of the young writers individually. It wasn’t difficult to be enthusiastic and encouraging because the work was so diverse, imaginative, and passionate.
The children’s writing included farmyard action, fantastical tales of sharks and monsters, moving descriptions of loved ones, thoughtful poems, and even philosophical meditations on the nature of creativity.
The authors also gave readings from their work, either published or in progress. I read a section of my novel Seal Skin (and gratifyingly for me, the children laughed at the right moment!)
We talked about where stories come from and how they mutate in the telling. The children also commented on each other’s stories, and asked questions.
The event was held at the Hurstpierpoint Library, which was especially fitting, as you could see the kids’ reading coming through in their writing – it’s clear that exposure to varied vocabulary and good story-telling has a powerful impact on young writers. The Library staff did a great job of making us feel welcome and providing refreshments half way through.
This workshop and event was supported by our local independent bookshop The Mint House and will be held again next year.