The London Book Fair has named First Story, a charity which aims to “change lives through writing”, as its 2016 charity of the year.
Founded in 2008, First Story brings some of the most “prestigious” writers in the UK into secondary schools. It works with pupils to foster creativity and confidence, and helps students "find their voices" through creative writing.
As the LBF nominated charity, First Story will exhibit at the fair, receive “extensive marketing support” in the lead up to and during it as well as year-round promotion on The London Book Fair website.
Jacks Thomas, director at The London Book Fair, praised the "truly inspirational" work of the charity. She said: “Providing a link between young people from all backgrounds and the broader literary community, First Story plays an important role in encouraging our writers and readers of the future to engage with literature, which can only be a force for good in the larger publishing ecosystem. I hope all our exhibitors and visitors will have time to visit First Story on its stand.”
The charity currently works with 50 schools across the UK – including in the East Midlands, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Oxfordshire and West Yorkshire. Its patron is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Emily Webb, interim executive director at First Story, said: “At First Story we change lives through writing: this is a bold statement, and it’s one we make because that is what the students we work with tell us time and time again. We have seen how our workshops can empower young people, build their confidence and foster their creativity. We are delighted to have been selected as The London Book Fair Charity of the Year, and to have the opportunity to promote our work to a community that shares our belief in the power of storytelling.
"We are currently preparing our expansion in the North and South West of the country, and putting together plans for a major national writing initiative to reach even more young people. With the weight of the literary community behind us, we know we can achieve so much more."