Every writer-in- residence relies on a good school liaison person (a teacher or librarian) who is committed to the project. They're an integral part of the group, joining in with each writing exercise and keeping everyone on track. I’m lucky to be working with Rachel Stone, one of Nottingham Emmanuel’s librarians. Rachel has even used her considerable talent as a poet to run a session with the group.
First Story encourages off-site sessions to take students out of the school environment and this term I took my students to visit a wonderful ‘secret’ library. Bromley House is one of the few private members libraries left in Britain and is truly a hidden gem in the heart of Nottingham. The librarians of Bromley House were more than accommodating. They gave us a fascinating tour of the warren-like library and also offered us their lovely reading room in which to do our workshop. It was such an inspiring and atmospheric environment to get creative.
Also this term the school organised for performance poet, Mark Gwynne Jones, to do a session with our First Story Group and this resulted in a trip to the Nottingham Contemporary. Here, some students got to perform their work on stage at a Lyric Lounge event as part of the 'Nottingham Festival Of Words'.
Mark Haddon speaks to First Story Students at the Young Writers’ Festival (Photo by Richard Budd)