Anthony Cartwright, First Story writer-in-residence

‘I’ve worked with groups at Islington Arts and Media School for three years now. We’ve had different members of a couple of families join the groups across the years – brothers, sisters, cousins – and this has added to the sense of community and team-work around the project, as well as giving a kind of validation that the students talk positively about what they are doing at home! I think First Story offers a space, literal and metaphoric, for creativity and imagination to be given an absolute priority when this might not always feasible in the contemporary classroom. I also think that the process of moving from blank pages in a notebook in the autumn, to a published book in the summer, not only replicates the whole publishing process and makes students aware of what is possible for them, it also shows what a collaborative process reading and writing for publication is. The students I’ve worked with seem to have gained most from having their voices heard by their peers in the group, and by validating them through sensitive listening, reading and editing in return, as well as being heard by  a wider world through the publication of their work.’

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