Earlier this month, Paper Nations was part of Bath Children’s Literature Festival, the largest dedicated children’s book festival in Europe. Our event explored how we can keep creative writing alive in schools; how we can inspire and empower a nation of young creative writers despite the other pressures facing teachers and students.
Chaired by Guardian Children’s Books Editor Julia Eccleshare MBE, the panel featured our Creative Writing Champion David Almond, prizewinning author of numerous children’s books including Kit’s Wilderness, The Fire Eaters and Skellig, which was awarded the Carnegie Medal.
Also participating was primary school deputy head Francesca Beers, Youth Parliament member Jake Bishop Pointe and Bethany Taverner, a youth worker at the Free Verse Poetry Project.
Together, they explored how the concept of creativity could be taught and embraced in schools, and the benefits of creative writing as a tool for self-exploration and expression, before brainstorming ways for schools to ensure creativity is seen as just as much of an essential as the current governmental focuses on spelling, grammar and punctuation.
“The panel all agreed that educators have a responsibility not only to prepare children to pass an exam but for life in the real world,” wrote school governor, writer and parent Katy Hancock. “To enable children to get in touch with art, literature, drama and music as a form of counselling and self awareness.”
While Paper Nations is already making creative writing workshops and activities more accessible to schools, the audience had many more ideas to share. Attendees gave their experiences of coordinating creative activities in schools, libraries, local authorities and other community groups, including organising book festivals, author events and workshops.
We’re passionate about supporting these projects, so if you’ve got an idea about how you can bring creative writing to your local community, please get in touch. Whether you’re a young person, parent, teacher, librarian or something else entirely, we want to hear from you. We can give advice, help with planning and budgeting, and may even be able to provide up to 50% of the funds. Get in touch to tell us more about your ideas.
We want to make a difference to the way creative writing is seen in schools. As part of that, we’re developing the first ever national qualification in creative writing for children aged eight plus. Designed in collaboration with the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), the Young Creative Writer Award will inspire young people to develop their writing and confidence. We’ll be presenting the first draft of the framework for this award at this year’s annual NAWE conference, and we’ll have more updates about it here then too.
We were thrilled to take part in Bath Children’s Literature Festival, and excited to see so many people are as committed as we are to supporting young people’s creativity. To inspire a nation of young creative writers, we need everyone.
You can read more about the event in this brilliant write-up by school governor, writer and parent Katy Hancock.