Children's Writing Fellow launches creative writing project

Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland Myra Zepf pictured with Lucy, Oliver, Lorcan and Rose at the launch of the Head over Heels creative writing project for P6 classes in primary schools across Northern Ireland

THE first Children's Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland and Laureate na nÓg, the Republic's laureate for children's literature, are to join forces in a new creative writing project for primary schoolchildren.

Myra Zepf and PJ Lynch, who is originally from Belfast, will help bring the stories of five P6 children from schools across Northern Ireland to life – in Irish as well as English-medium sectors – via the project, titled Head Over Heels.

Launching the initiative, Myra said: "I am delighted to announce a new writing project which will engage young writers with the most delicate, sparky and magical part of the creative development process – the initial growing of an idea from a seedling. Workshops in schools will kindle both imaginative thought and confidence and give the children a springboard from which to launch their stories."

Twenty five schools will be selected to take part in creative brainstorming workshops in the classroom with Myra, after which each child will have the opportunity to write a short story. From this, the Children's Writing Fellow will select five young writers and their classes to take part in an event at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy next spring.

"For five of the participating schools, the final event will be a creative extravaganza as they witness five of Ireland's best-loved illustrators, including the Irish children's laureate, Belfast-born PJ Lynch, bring their stories to life in front of their very eyes," said Myra, who is based at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University Belfast.

"On a personal level, it will be a tremendous honour for me as Laureate na nÓg to illustrate stories written by children from across Northern Ireland," PJ said. "It's a special kind of homecoming for me, a reminder of my own childhood in Belfast, and my earliest desire to bring stories to life through pictures."

:: To apply on behalf of your primary school, please email your details by Tuesday October 31.

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