First Story Young Writers' Festival

A group of BDA students – accompanied by Ms Astley and Ms Owen – attended the First Story Young Writers’ Festival at the University of Oxford last week.

With over a thousand schoolchildren, 40 writers and 50 volunteers in attendance, and no less than a thousand books available for browsing, it was quite the literary occasion. Inspirational talks from Mark Haddon and Philip Pullman were a definite highlight.

Here’s what two of our 9B students thought about the trip:

Zundus Said: The First Story trip to Oxford last Friday was an amazing experience. It was incredible to hear work made by each other and listen to performances by professional poets. I personally enjoyed the poetry performances because they were lively yet they had a deep message to them.

One of the many highlights of the First Story trip was meeting and asking questions to authors like James Dawson and the well-known Phillip Pullman. Another highlight was lunch, where the entire Burlington Danes First Story group sang Happy Birthday to Miss Owen.

All in all, the experience was incredible and I believe that we all had an amazing time.

Saleem Shah: On Friday 26th September the First Story Group and I, accompanied by Ms Astley and Ms Owen (happy late Birthday!) were taken to Oxford University for the First Story Festival.

Being my first year with First Story it gave me an idea about what to expect in the following months. We heard about how First Story had changed people's lives and made them understand the importance of creative writing and talks from famous authors such as Mark Haddon and Philip Pullman (which initially resulted in lots of screaming from me and fainting).

Our first workshop was to write poetry about school life entirely form metaphors. From school gates being the doors to hell (we honestly love school) and 'Librarians being the Guardians of the Chambers of Words.' There were also books for discounted prices - £1 Northern Lights - which I missed out on. The poetry readings also gave us an idea about what pixies are really like, the consequences of racism and the truth about teachers (we love you all).

I would say that the First Story trip was very insightful in helping me understand how creative writing is very important and it helped me improve my own poetry.