Five years of all kinds of writing

Posted by theministry on 17th November 2015

In our first five years we’ve worked with over 10,000 young people, run more than 600 workshops and published hundreds of young writers’ stories.

You can help ensure another five years of great projects by giving a gift of £5.

2011 | Story making

In 2011 we launched our first story writing workshops, inviting local schools in to discover a world of imagination. Our space, support and inspiration brings the excitement back to writing, with our workshops delivering a unique, real world experience for children that translates to positive results back in the classroom.

The over-subscribed workshop sees children go from blank page to published author in two hours.

2012 | Children’s Republic of Shoreditch

Our young writers declared Shoreditch an independent state to be run by young people. Every aspect of the Republic was designed by children – including a constitution, manifesto and national anthem – and was the culmination of a year of hard work and creativity.

Children corresponded with prominent people in the British political establishment, including the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the Queen, seeking to establish strong international relations. Their Embassy also had a  writer-in-residence each week including Nick Hornby and children’s authors Andy Stanton and Meg Rosoff. Our young ministers were invited to 10 Downing Street the following year to celebrate their achievements.

2013 | Dead Ends

Our budding scriptwriters, helped by two of EastEnders’ lead writers, wrote their own soap opera inspired by Hoxton Street. Dead Ends was the result of a series of after-school workshops where ten young writers aged 13-16 devised and scripted four five-minute episodes, which were then professionally filmed and produced.

One of our writers, Jack, reflected on the process of making Dead Ends: “In order to get to the final script we went through millions of draft copies that had good scenes, that I was sad to let go of, but also bad ones, which I was more than happy to see go. But what we finished with we all found amazing.”

2014 | Planting Poetry

In 2014, our young writers worked with guest poets Malika Booker and Rachel Rose Reid to create a series of poems featuring plants, animals and landscapes inspired by St Mary’s Secret Garden in Hoxton.

Our friends at Burgess Studios then designed and made each poem into original plant label that can still be seen in the garden, making their work a permanent part of the local landscape.

2015 | Picturebooks

At the beginning of this year, a group of our writers aged 7-11 from our after-school club at St John the Baptist Primary School collaborated with professional illustrators to write their own picture books. Created for younger readers, stories included abandoned dragon zoos, parties run by mice and bank robber pigs.

Nmeso, aged ten, took his ideas from watching the kinds of characters his four year old brother liked on TV. Nmeso has grown in confidence throughout the year and is now head boy. His mother Bridget said, “As a mother, I am really proud of him. At this age, to have a book in his name, that is a big achievement. When he gets to secondary school, he can always look back on that achievement. The foundation is laid, if he wants to go into writing.”

The books were professionally printed and copies are now in the British Library as well as being available for local families to borrow at Shoreditch Library.

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