When I started this year as Children’s Writing Fellow I had no idea what to expect. But I bet none of us expected to be ending the year like this!
It’s been an absolutely mad year but also really wonderful and I just want to say thank you so much to all the schools who’ve contacted me and used the blog. The thought that there are new creative writing groups being set up around NI makes me so happy! I hope they run for years and give lots and lots of young people opportunities to be creative, and all the benefits that creativity brings.
Just a quick post to share this amazing Zoom recording by the Embassy of Ireland, Pretoria, of young writers from South Africa and Ireland reading pieces they’ve written about what it means to be a young person today.
I did a BA in English and Creative Writing at Queens University Belfast and I loved it. But I did it as an adult because when I left school I’d never even heard of a degree in Creative Writing. There wasn’t a course in Belfast, as far as I was aware, and no one told me anything about it at school.
These days loads of universities offer creative writing, including QUB (hurrah!) so today on the blog I’ve got Glenn Patterson, author of many many wonderful books, and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens, who has kindly agreed to answer some questions that might help you make your decision. Thanks Glenn!
Why should I study creative writing at university?
It might sound like an odd thing to say, but first and foremost studying creative writing will make you a better reader. By thinking about – and talking about – your own writing, and the writing of fellow students, you will have a new understanding of how other, published works came into being: the decisions their writers made along the way. It will, undoubtedly, make you a better writer too, or help you to see how to become the best writer you can be. But being a good reader – someone, that is, who is alive to language, its uses and abuses – strikes me as no small benefit in a world where you are constantly assailed by text of one kind or another.
Hope everyone had a relaxing half-term. If we couldn’t go anywhere, at least the weather was nice. We’ve all been missing out on lots of things lately. I was really looking forward to going to the West Cork Literary Festival in July, where I was going to be interviewed by a specially trained team of teen interviewers! Luckily the clever folks at Graffiti Theatre managed to do the whole thing online instead.
The kids had training sessions with Graffiti Theatre and YA writer Cethan Leahy and then they Zoom interviewed 3 YA writers: