by Casey Bottono

Our most recent Young Writers workshop found us exploring the concept of place as character. The writers first focused on writing about a place that held personal meaning, before beginning to personify those places.

Widening the focus, we then invited them to make lists of things they associated with Cornwall. This led neatly on to making lists focused on the less romanticised aspects of the county. Examples given included the walk back up the hill after going to the beach, overgrown hedges and getting stuck behind buses.

These lists gave our writers a lot to draw on to create a piece of writing celebrating these unromantic aspects of Cornwall.

The second half off the workshop was even more topical, as we turned towards a discussion of heat waves in literature.

Using a rapid-fire series of prompts, our writers each crafted their own short stories about the impact of a fictional heat wave on their characters. It was remarkable to see how well the students responded to the prompts, and the range of concepts they created when given free rein.

We set up a scenario where the protagonist was experiencing the effects of a heat wave whilst trying to make an important decision. The specifics were left to the creatives, and the stories that emerged were intense, moving and enlightening, testament to the abilities of the writers we have the pleasure of working with.

Some commented that they struggled with the expectation of finishing the story, but we were quick to point out that it was only a draft. They seemed to enjoy the workshop, and appreciated the opportunity to stretch their skills even further. Several lines from the stories produced will linger in my mind for a long time to come.

We look forward to resuming Young Writers’ Group workshops in the Autumn term, with the first scheduled for Saturday 17th September from 10:00am to 12:00pm on Zoom