Friday, 7 October 2011

First Story: Woodside session, No. 1

To North London, and a visit to Woodside School for a First Story workshop. First Story, in case you didn't know, is the organisation set up by William Fiennes which promotes literacy and a love of writing in schools. The aim is to have a writer go in and do weekly workshops, with the result being a published anthology. It's a great idea, and it's come up with some marvellous things, and I'm very proud to be working for them.

The session I worked on was intended to show that the ordinary can be made extraordinary: I asked each student what animal they would be, and then asked them to imagine finding that animal in their house; then they had to write from the animal's point of view. It was an exercise that drew forth both some rather moving images - hunted lions, hungry hawks, lost monkeys – and some amusing situations as well, with a vengeful snake and a haughty hawk being the most memorable. It was a great session, with a lot of energy, and I look forward to the next ones. The students were motivated and showed real talent and commitment. Now I must go as I think a llama has just wondered into my sitting room... Hey! That's my manuscript! You can't eat that! Sorry, excuse me. I'll be back soon...

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