Writing agencies gear up for National Writing Day

Writing agencies gear up for National Writing Day

More than 35 writing agencies are coming together for this year’s National Writing Day, which will take place on Wednesday (27th June).

Author William Fiennes, who is co-ordinating the day, said there were “too many events to count” this year, with scheduled highlights including a workshop with writer Sabrina Mahfouz in London, a Twitter Q&A with Jed Mercurio on the BBC website Writers Room, and a poetry workshop with Polly Atkin in Cumbria.

National Writing Day is an annual celebration designed to inspire people across the UK to get writing and grew out of Fiennes’ experience with First Story, the charity he set up with Katie Waldegrave.

“I was running a writing group for teenagers in a college in Hounslow and about a dozen teens would come every week. It was a magical experience,” he said. “Their writing became rich and powerful and it lifted their self-confidence, their school attendance improved and so did their exam results. So I collared everyone I knew and spread the idea of doing something similar in multiple schools.”

Events are now run across the country by groups as diverse as Arvon, Authorfy, the National Literacy Trust, New Writing North and Literature Wales, and workshops are run in schools, health centres, football clubs and online.

“At First Story we focus on schools but other agencies do other types of events and there is something for everyone, children and adults. There are also several programmes that are run online, making it easy for people who can’t get out and about,” said Fiennes.

Other highlights include a spoken word event from Women of Words in Hull and an online ‘writing call for action’ from poet Dean Atta. Spoken word organisation Apples and Snakes is opening up their offices in Birmingham and Stockton so people can use the space to write in, and social enterprise publisher Arkbound is taking over Bristol Central Library to host events on how to get published.

National Writing Day is funded by Arts Council England and Old Possum’s Practical Trust and Fiennes hopes to this year carry out more monitoring and evaluation of how teachers and schools use the resources.

“Teachers often lack confidence in their own writing so if we can help them in any way we can, and help them pass on a love of writing to their students, that would be wonderful,” he said.