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.
The Director and Development team of The Imagining History UK Programme are proud to announce:
Along with The Young Walter Scott Prize, we are now in our fourth year of inspiring young people to explore the writing of Historical Fiction. Together with the challenge of the Prize, IHUK is the only creative writing programme for teenage writers in the UK focusing on the research and writing of Historical Fiction. We appeal to both young fiction writers and young historians. We offer opportunities to get out into the historical environment to see, sense and feel the richness that is available to enrich creative thinking and writing.
From modest beginnings at two venues and two workshops in 2015, we have expanded to nine venues and 14 workshops nationwide in 2019.
Innovations this year include our first two workshops in London and a psycho-geographical-historical exploration of the extraordinary waterfronts of Great Yarmouth.
In Cornwall our young writers will give a live public performance of excerpts of their work at the personal invitation of Patrick Gale, Artistic Director of The North Cornwall Book Festival.
We are open for bookings from schools and Sixth Form Colleges, individual over-16s attending under their own steam and home-schooled students. For further details, and to book places: YWSPrize@outlook.com
Scottish Borders Bowhill House, Selkirk The House Breathes… 17 June
Edinburgh Trinity House of Leith They Went to Sea… 20, 21 June
Cornwall Trerice A Cornish Journey pt1 27 June & 5 July
London Wallace Collection The Time-Traveller’s Map 2, 16 July
Norwich Museum of Norwich Starting With Samson… 6, 9,10 July
Woodbridge Sutton Hoo On the Border of Myth and History 8 July
Aylsham Blickling The People That Changed The Land 11 July
Great Yarmouth & The Elizabeth House From Shoreline to Quayside 12 July
Cornwall Penhallam Manor A Cornish Journey pt 2 2 Sept dates tbc
Special performance: The North Cornwall Book Festival 11 October
We are, as we have been since our establishment, generously hosted by properties owned and managed by Heritage Environment Scotland, English Heritage, the National Trust, the Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust, Norfolk Museums and the Wallace Collection. We are grateful to the staff, volunteers and resident experts who make our young writers feel at home as they explore these amazing places. We are deeply grateful to our ongoing collaborative and creative partnership with the Young Norfolk Arts Festival, and IlluminateUK in Edinburgh.
The Young Walter Scott Prize is proud to announce the 2019 Imagining History UK Programme.
14 workshops for teenage writers that explore the writing skills and creative research that build a work of Historical Fiction.
Workshops are held in
- The Scottish Borders,
From Edwardian country houses, to archeological sites, hidden treasures and spectacular art collections – explore sources of rich inspiration for your writing.
Come along and write stories you never thought you could write!
Then enter the Young Walter Scott Prize – the UK’s only writing competition for young people writing Historical Fiction. Check out this year’s winners at http://www.ywsp.co.uk
For more information about Imagining History, the Young Walter Scott Prize and how to book places on our workshops: YWSPrize@outlook.com.
In partnership with Stephanie Haxon, English Heritage and the North Cornwall Book Festival, Newquay Tretherras School and Sir James Smiths School Camelford.
18th Sept – field trip to Penhallam Manor
28th Sept – 2nd in-school writing session
5th Oct – Spoken-word Performance at the North Cornwall Book Festival
This completes a project, two years in the planning since Patrick Gale invited us to consider working with NCBF. It began with a first in-school session at Sir James Smiths and a first field trip to Launceston Castle. One of the participants wrote this:
It was as if my imagination filled in the missing blanks; who?what?when?. The atmosphere was amazing and it felt very natural to be writing here. I really enjoyed the free writing time we had to start our stories as well.
Thanks to Lisa Cooper at NCBF, Jennifer McCracken at English Heritage, Chris Eames at Sir James Smiths Camelford, and Jay Snashall & Ciera Harvey at Newquay Tretherras.