Activity: Public engagement and outreach › Public lecture/debate/seminar
In my capacity as Chair of Judges for the Bookfest Young Writers Competition, of which Roehampton is the principal sponsor, I took part in a brilliantly organised day of celebration and awards on the 18th of September 2019. I spoke to over a thousand children – five hundred primary school children in the morning, presenting awards together with current Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, and six hundred high school students in the afternoon together with Malorie Blackman. The delight and excitement in the theatre were palpable, as was the sense of being taken seriously as part of a writing community. The students seemed fascinated to hear about the opportunity of studying Creative Writing as a Degree. “You can do that?” many commented.
We had a 50% increase of High Schools participating, and the short YouTube video I made about creative Writing Tips was shown in assemblies in all 26 of them. The Winners and runners up anthology on the theme of The Island runs to almost three hundred pages, evenly split between state and private schools. The overall winner was a brilliant story about coping with the dementia of the writer’s grandfather, and the precious islands of memory they shared together.