21 June 2017 marks the first National Writing Day – a new campaign that gives people across the country the chance to find their own voices through a day of festivities focused on writing. We want schools, libraries, writing groups and communities across the country to experience the pleasure and power that comes from writing creatively.
National Writing Day is coordinated by First Story, a national literacy charity dedicated to changing lives through writing. The day is funded by the Old Possums’ Practical Trust (T.S Eliot’s Literary Estate) and Arts Council England. Paper Nations is a National Writing Day partner, and we are celebrating in the South West of England with a series of day-long activities that form part of our wider national programmes and initiatives.
In Frome, 5000 young people will participate in National Writing Day as part of Word Up – a year long programme celebrating words, language, writing and reading taking place in local first and middle schools. Word Up will be produced in collaboration with Paper Nations and Bath Festivals as part of the Year of Writing. This new community-led initiative is being delivered in partnership with fifteen local schools and supported by Frome Council. The aim of programme is to get all young people in Frome between the ages of five and twelve writing creatively and to start them on a writing journey that will be sustained across the whole year.
In Bath, 55 pupils from four different primary schools in Bath and North East Somerset will celebrate National Writing Day with an Inspire Day at Bath Spa University on Thursday the 22nd of June. Here the pupils will have an opportunity to take part in the Dare to Write Library. Designed by Book Kernel in association with Paper Nations, young people choose from a selection of dares, make an 8-sided booklet, devise a written piece and swap their books with other young writers. This work will be uploaded to the Book Kernel website and published as an online book. As with the event in Frome, the Inspire Day marks the start of a year-long exploration of creative writing for young people in Bath, delivered in collaboration with Paper Nations, local schools and Children’s University.
National Writing Day is one of the big ideas to emerge from Creative Writing in Schools (CWIS), a £1.2 million Arts Council England (ACE) fund that aims to give more young people the chance to engage in creative writing. First Story and Paper Nations are the two lead organisations supported through Creative Writing in Schools, and we have been working closely together for the past eighteen months to develop a wider public understanding of the benefits of creative writing for young people.
Following on from the National Writing Day campaign, later this month Paper Nations with be announcing the launch of a new programme, The Year of Writing. This project will be part of a national framework in creative writing that aims to provide young people with the tools and support to sustain their writing throughout the year. Watch this space for more news and updates!
In the meantime, support National Writing Day and become part of this ongoing national campaign by taking part in a writing activity today and sharing your writing. First Story are asking the public to share the View from My Window. Across the day we’ll also be sharing links on Twitter and Facebook to our catalogue of Dare to Write prompts, encouraging everyone to enjoy and share their responses online using the hashtag #DaretoWrite.