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Arts Richmond's Young Writers

Arts Richmond

The Exchange - 15 March 2019

Arts Richmond's Young Writers

Young Writers’ Festival 2019


Art Richmond at The Exchange, Twickenham, 10th March 2019


Review by Eleanor Lewis


It’s always a pleasure to see emerging writers receiving recognition for the work they have produced.  Few things are more encouraging than the validation that comes with a prize.   At the Young Writer’s Festival, there is the additional joy of seeing the work in question professionally performed, putting the skill and talent in each piece on show for all to see.


The performance of the work by three professional actors is an inspired part of this prize-giving.  Tara Dowd, Emily Francis and Angus Woodward did a great job bringing out every element of the work they performed, Keith Wait’s direction being, as usual, highly efficient.  The work on show was selected by three judges with a wide experience in the field of children’s writing: Anne Beach, Kavita A. Jindel and Guy Jones. 


Creative writing has to come out of your own head and, even more of a challenge, readers must understand what you’re trying to say, it must communicate.  It’s a measure of the skill on show therefore that I’m left with lots of images in my head.  One of these is of a little, mad dog running around as described by Rosa Bruce-Ball (Y5) in her clever poem making great use of short lines and the effect of one-syllable words followed by two or more to create the picture of the dog dashing about.  Another is the beautiful, gentle African child Alora, living under the hot Serengeti sun, described by Cordelia Harber.  Lighting by Dan Johnson gently enhanced the performance of this piece.


I’m drawn in, against my better judgement, by the conspiratorial tone of Hussain Ammar’s (Y4) piece Hussain’s Fabulous Fibs.  He’s going to show me how to tell fibs, but not without the warning that this might lead to trouble.  Assuming I escape trouble with Hussain, I probably shouldn’t be worrying about old age either.  Megan Smith (Y4) has an impressively no-nonsense but inclusive view of it in her poem When I am Old: “I won’t be told what to do, Is that the same with you?”


Striking in his understanding of conflict resolution and making sure everyone feels valued was James Siveyer (Y3) in his short story The Ghost and the Farmer, in which a ghost, a fox (James is clear that foxes obviously cannot speak but you can speculate about what they might say), and a farmer collaborate, problem-solve and leave everyone happy.  This was an entertaining and perceptive piece of writing, particularly for the age of the writer and I feel that James Siveyer should probably be in government.


Read Eleanor Lewis’s full review at www.markaspen.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/ywf-2019


Photography by James Bell at www.jamesbellphotography.squarespace.com


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