Friday, 30 November 2012

Young Writers' Month: Young Writers Speak Out

To round off the Young Writers' Month here at the blog, I'm drawing on the comments of young writers and practitioners in the UK to offer up their own thoughts on the state of the literature sector and its role in engaging young people.

At NALD's website last year, and before that in Writing in Education, Steve Dearden spoke up for young people involved in literature activities:
I was wondering how to get into a piece about supporting young writers and activists when an email arrived from one of the emerging writer-promoters I am most excited about. If I was responsible for investing in the future I would be trying to give him money now. His email asked for advice on how to respond to the reasons Arts Council England gave him for turning down his first Grants for the Arts application.

[ . . . ]

How do we support young writers, and especially young activists, without trying to intern them in the camp of the way we do things? Much of the professional development available assumes they are looking for jobs in existing cultural organisations, or to place product within the existing infrastructure, rather than trying to make things happen for themselves within their own networks and 'extra-structures'. The provocations make a clear argument for more direct support for the work young writers, promoters and publishers, allowing them to get on with 'experiencing it' and making their own appropriate connections.
Read the article here.

Following this, Steve commissioned several young writers and literature activists (including me) to write statements outlining what support we want, what we need, and how best to connect the arts establishment with young people. The article 'Supporting the Next Generation' is here.

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