The Imagining History Programme UK for 2023 has come to an end. This year we have worked in person and online with around 104 young writers between the ages of 13 and 19. We are happy to continue our relationship with three schools – in Edinburgh, Suffolk and Cornwall -and to add a new one to our list of collaborators in Bethesda, Gwynedd in North Wales.
Last weekend a group of 13 young writers from Sir James Smith’s School in Camelford presented excerpts of their work live at the North Cornwall Book Festival. Earlier in the summer my colleague Anna Wilson worked with them in school and I joined them on a Historical Fiction writer’s field trip to Trerice Manor, near Newquay. This is fourth project that we have completed with SJS and the North Cornwall Book Festival, and the writers never fail to impress with both their writing and their presentation skills. Young Cornish writers have a strong sense of their identity and their connection with the land they walk on.
Our live workshops this year began way back in May with a writer’s field trip to Trinity House of Leith in Edinburgh with students at Firrhill High School. Then we moved to Suffolk in July, where Sutton Hoo hosted us again with students from Farlingaye School in Woodbridge. Also in July we began what we hope to be a long relationship with Penrhyn Castle in Bangor, North Wales. This workshop was especially exciting for me, because I was joined by Demelza Mason as writer/historian. Demelza won a Young Walter Scott Prize back in 2017, went on to study Archeology and now works for the National Trust.
I’m looking forward to potentially reading shortlisted stories from amongst these new young Historical Fiction writers during the YWSP judging round which will begin around December this year.
Our online programme ran during the month of July and had around 20 writers enrolled. I and my team led workshops exploring major historical turning points (Falling Statues), our relationship with the Sea (Lure and Lore of the Sea), the lives of an English Country House (Boughton Journey) and a new workshop idea exploring the adaptation of a story into a Radio Drama. This last project was led by the award-winning writer Tim Stimpson who writes for Radio 4’s The Archers.