by Casey Bottono

On Saturday 28th September, we welcomed some familiar faces and some new recruits to The Writers’ Block for the first Young Writers’ Group of the Autumn term. New beginnings are always exciting. After a brief discussion on what we had been reading, we started writing.

Olivia took the lead on a modified version of Anna Maria Murphy’s postcard exercise, inspired by the kind of prompts that are easily accessible on Instagram and Pinterest.
Using a collection of random images we’d cut from magazines, the writers constructed fully formed stories in just a few lines. T introduced us to his Red King character, and the land where he lives:

‘The cliffs of red. Red shoes, falling into the misty grey fog black sea. The tree root glistened out of the rock.’
T. Young Writers’ Group participant

This year’s theme for National Poetry Day is Truth. The craft of writing itself is inseparable from truth. To write fiction is to craft a believable untruth. Participating writers explored this theme via an exercise I had created, inviting them to talk about what is true for them, or the character they are writing about.

Mohamed Assaf’s beautiful poem ‘I Have Divided My Heart’ provided a moving stimulus for this exercise, alongside examples from mine and Olivia’s work. Part of being a writer is learning to be comfortable with vulnerability, and sharing your work. This is something we attempt to model and encourage in the writers we are working with.

It was a joy to get to know some of our new faces, and learn a little more about our regulars, through an exercise I had developed about music and writing. This narrative non-fiction exercise provided an opportunity for the writers to talk about songs that are significant for them and the memories they evoke.

Returning to work we had been developing previously, inspired by the Children’s Climate Strike movement, our young writers developed their own slogans before we moved into writing a group poem.

There are many exciting things in the pipeline for the Young Writers, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Our next Young Writers’ Group will take place at The Writers’ Block on the 2nd of November. Booking information can be found here