To change creative writing education and inspire a nation of young creative writers, we need everyone. Scroll down to see how Paper Nations is changing the state of creative writing for young people in the UK and how you can get involved.

‘Creative writing merges intelligence with the heart, enables us to communicate with others, helps us grow in confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.’

David Almond, Paper Nations Chief Ambassador


Funded by Arts Council England, Paper Nations is a strategic partnership, investigating good practice and barriers to writing support for young people. Through research and development, we want to engage young people, parents, educators, writers and the publishing industry in a dialogue about the future of writing in England.

Located in Bath Spa University’s TRACE centre, Paper Nations is a partnership between Bath Spa University’s Creative Writing Faculty and Institute for Education, Bath Festivals, the National Association of Writers in Education, Poetry Can, StoryHive and a thriving community of local schools and arts organisations.


Writing is a core part of our heritage and culture. The ability to write well boosts our capacity to engage with learning, work and friends, especially in today’s world of text-rich digital devices. But, whilst there are many great examples of excellent support for young writers across the UK, access is unevenly distributed. Many children do not get the help that they need to flourish and develop their creative writing talents, with resources paling in comparison to additional cultural support available to children who excel in music.


We envisage a world in which all young people can access regular, high quality support to enjoy and develop a talent for the art of writing.


Drawing from our evidence following intensive research, we’ll create and share resources that sustain the writing ecology so that more young people can access support to develop their writing talent.


In 2017/18, our core objectives are to:

  1. Continue to research and identify strengths in existing UK provision for young writers so that we develop a shared understanding of what works. This research will form a foundation for industry-wide good practice models and case studies.
  2. Draw from our research and expert partner network to make writing provision at the local level more visible to young people and their families.
  3. Use our research to establish routes to accreditation, enabling young people and writers/teachers to gain formal recognition for their writing and leadership.
  4. Further research and identify gaps and barriers to service and to test solutions –  especially around two key issues raised in research and evaluation in 2017: increasing accessibility to writing for all and ensuring economic sustainability.
  5. Engage decision makers to join the dialogue about the future of writing in the UK.

Our five objectives correspond to five projects:

Final Year Projects

  1. A Writer Development Canvas: In collaboration with NAWE, we’ll work with experts to identify best practice as defined by existing authors, tutors and groups directly involved in the design, programming or leadership of creative writing workshops or activity across the country. This will result in the development of a ‘Benchmark’ (a description of best practice principles for creative writing education); a ‘Writer Development Canvas’ (a toolkit for developing creative writing programmes) and a series of case studies exploring how some of the best creative writing tutors and programmes in the UK put these principles into action.
  2. Dare to Write?  We will run a national writing campaign that engages the UK wide community in an effort to make writing provision at the local level more visible. As part of this, we will develop Dare to Write? an interactive platform that will enable  young people to  find out more about creative writing resources or opportunities in their area. Teachers, tutors, organisations, and individuals can use the platform to share the writing opportunities and support that they provide. The platform will feature the Dare to Write Challenge: a list of sixteen activities to help young people to start writing regularly. Each activity can be completed in or outside of school, as a solo challenge or with a group. Children of all ages, as well as whole communities, schools and families can join in.  The Dare to Write Library will showcase and celebrate creative writing emerging from young people and the Dare to Write Interactive Quest Book will guide families, parents and teachers through activities.
  3. A Creative Writing Award:We will establish routes to accreditation, enabling young people and writers/teachers to gain formal recognition for their writing and leadership. We will work with BSU for adult accreditation and Arts Award for young people. We will create a document outlining routes to accreditation and two new accreditation options (one for young people and one for writing tutors/ambassadors).
  4. Success Factors for financial sustainability: We will research and identify success factors for financially sustaining and administrating creative writing offers in and around schools, especially in areas of deprivation. A key target is to ensure that we, and our partners, are able to develop sustainable income streams for the continuation of the work that we are doing. The findings will result in the development of a training pack for writing tutors and groups starting off or wanting to expand.
  5. Engaging decision makers in dialogue about the future of writing as an art form. We will run a public campaign built on evidence emerging from our research to raise awareness of creative writing as an art form. As part of this, we will discuss challenges and solutions to providing regular support to young writers to develop their talent, resulting in a short summative document that outlines gaps, barriers and results emerging from our research into potential solutions. Our findings will be shared through the scheduled release of briefing papers and events that outline our findings and invite further response. At the end of the process, we will publish a final summative document analysing and outlining the state of play.

Take action:

Would you like to involved with any of these projects? Contact us at . We are particularly looking for writing professionals to serve on the committee reviewing our Creative Writing Award and Benchmark.

Make a difference to creative writing support for young people today:

Paper Nations wants to overcome one of the largest barriers facing young people who want to engage with creative writing: knowing what support is on offer. To do this we are collecting information from arts, education, and creative industry organisations across England about upcoming creative writing opportunities in your local area. We will collate this data and share all relevant activities via a searchable website so all children across england can access high quality creative writing support.

If you know of a class, club, author event, library initiative, helpful resource website (or anything in between) please pass it on! We want to know the dates, locations, times, prices etc. so we can share great opportunities with young people across England and make it easier for them to develop their creative writing talents.

To help, just fill out this short, five minute survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3R3KK28.

Author: Chris Joseph Tags: