Prizes For Pupils At The Writing For Teenager’s Conference

Thursday 10th March 2016

On Monday 7 March, pupils Celia Chanchorle, Lucy Gan, Jaz Harding-Laleman, Amaal Hasen, Marjolein Hewlett, Abigail Leaver, Emily Oram, Amber Richards, Isobel Salmon and Melissa Scanlon attended the Writing For Teenagers Conference at Leighton Park School.

The group started off the day with a short coach journey to Leighton Park School where the girls gathered in the auditorium along with the other schools. The girls listened to various writers such as Tanya Landman and Julian Sedgwick who captured the ears and minds of everyone. Tanya Landman spoke to the pupils present about her books on different historical periods and the struggles of researching her novels and then provided the girls with a humorous description of how she got into writing and her many inspirations for her books. Much of her writing has a historical theme and her books offer alternative histories of the Apaches, Aztecs and the wars against the Native Americans following the American Civil War; these all seem very interesting and Celia has already started reading Apache.

Another author, Julian Sedgwick, spoke to the girls about his many failed attempts at drafting his book. His story about how he came to writing was very intriguing and unexpected, yet contained some inspiring elements and his speech was very exciting. Pupils also loved some of his ghost stories! The results for the ‘Books Are Dangerous’ Creative Writing Competition were announced by Gillian Cross and we are pleased to report that two pupils from Queen Anne’s, Joanna Kelly and Amaal Hasen, won prizes. Joanna was Highly Commended and Amaal a Runner-Up. A few of the stories were read out to everyone present and they were all fantastic.

Afterwards the girls had lunch and continued into their workshops. For some, this was poetry with Hollie McNish, a young poet. Hollie encouraged pupils to use list poems and helped the girls learn how to write quick-fire poems easily; learning new skills that will be really beneficial. Others went to workshops featuring tips on how to plan the perfect murder (in a story) and writing a book from start to finish, editing Britannica and creating a non-fictional character. All pupils then came together to listen to Hollie McNish who read a variety of poems about some very relevant topics such as growing up as a teenager in this social media-filled generation, loving your body, immigration and also how much society affects the girls’ definition of beautiful.  All our girls were inspired by the raw passion behind her words and how she uses poetry to get things off her chest.

Overall the girls gained lots of different tips on writing and are able now to appreciate different writing styles and the thoughts of the authors. In their own words, “The Writing For Teenager’s Conference was fun, interesting and enlightening.”

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Amaal Hasen with Gillian Cross

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Queen Anne’s girls at the Writing for Teenager’s Conference