Meet the Young Writers

Our current Young Writers are aged between 11 and 18. The group was created by Rachel Feldberg, former Ilkley Literature Festival Director, 2003-2018:

“This was, and is, an extraordinary group of young people, immensely talented, dedicated, hardworking, fearless whatever their personal struggles, determined to do the things that take real courage – edit their work, read aloud, perform, make friends with people they don’t know and be there for one another. They have seen each other through GCSEs, A levels, first jobs, college, apprenticeships and Uni and all the while their work has grown and strengthened. […] they had come so far, and as this anthology demonstrates, are going further still.”

Young Writers joined the group for many reasons, to build their confidence, to meet a group of like-minded people, to become the next big author!

The group is a safe space for Young Writers to make friends, share their work and hone their skills.

“… the comfort and safety a place like our group can afford for those who are perhaps a little ‘abnormal’, and the inexorable and immense joy it brings…” – Magnus Cameron, page 102.

“These writing groups became a place where thoughts and ideas about self and the world were shared with peers in a safe and brave space. Inside Christchurch, and its bandstand, we could step outside the box. Friendships were made, appreciated and kept.” – Michelle Scally Clarke, page 16.

Hear about why some of our Young Writers joined the group, as well as some of their favourite memories from the sessions.

“… a big difference not just to my writing, but to me as a person…” – Amy Luxton, page 106.

Outside of the group, Young Writers have taken part in many projects, from writing and performing their own musical to summer schools. The Young Writers have done so many remarkable things to fit into one anthology, but here’s a flavour of their writing achievements:

  • Many are regular performers on the local scene, sharing the stage with the likes of Malika Booker and former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
  • Members have been selected for the Writing Squad
  • Many have won prizes including our Walter Swan Poetry Prize, The Poetry Business New Poets Prize, the Forward Young Critics Prize and the Young Historical Novelists Award. Others have been commended and shortlisted in the Foyle Young Poets competition, Leeds Peace Poetry Prize and the Hive Young Writers’ Competition.
  • Some have had work published in anthologies including Hidden Words, The Isis, the Oxford Review of Books, The Rialto, Ash, Ambit and The North.

I remember the fun, confidence and skills Michelle [Scally-Clarke] and Becky [Cherriman] gave me… the writing and breathing exercises, the one-on-one support, feedback (3 stars and a wish) and the silly games like the ‘Moo off’…” – Ella Sanderson, page 104.

If you like the sound of the group and are interested in joining, head to our sign-up page for more information!

Back to the Young Writers 10 Year Anthology