Being able to gather with the Young Writers is always a pleasure, whether meeting virtually or not…but after so long, last Saturday’s first in-person workshop truly felt like a gift. Four newcomers and one regular met at Kresen Kernow in Redruth for a workshop on the theme of Homecoming.

Several months in the planning, this was timed to coincide with the Out of the Ordinary exhibition at Kresen Kernow. The Ordinalia manuscripts are a series of plays, originally written and performed in Middle Cornish, depicting three Biblical narratives: the Creation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Following a short tour of the exhibition and highlights of the Kresen Kernow site and collection, our participants set to work. Their first exercise was to write acrostic poetry, using the word ‘homecoming’, and the Cornish translation ‘dehwelans.

When we asked how they’d found the exercise, some said it was easier to work with the Cornish translation than the English, which was surprising.

After a couple of shorter exercises focused on the joy of coming home, we turned our attention to an (almost) Cornish landmark: the ‘nearly home trees’. We invited the participants to think about returning home from a journey, and write about the landmarks that let them know they are nearly home.

Several of them created fictional characters and situations for this exercise, which led to some fascinating new stories. Other exercises invited them to think about the pieces of home they take with them when going somewhere, and the feeling of being somewhere pleasurable but ultimately knowing you have to leave.

Finally, we invited the participants to reflect on the experience of being the first to touch something precious, in honour of the fragile Ordinalia manuscripts. Pens moved furiously and fingers tapped on the table as they tried to squeeze their thoughts into haiku structure.

The young people who joined us on Saturday shared a passion for fantasy books, which we hope to use to inform future workshops.

Our next Young Writers’ Group will take place on Zoom, on Saturday 6th November. Booking information can be found here