First Story Festival

The heavy tyres pressed patterns into the uncut grass as we pulled in swiftly.  We frantically packed our bags and pulled on blazers as the coach doors opened with a hiss.  As we filed out of the coach the overwhelming fresh scent of autumn hit us like a tsunami.  I joined the growing cluster of excited giggles and conversations.

We crossed onto the main field to see a grand marquee standing in the centre, surrounded by idyllic buildings. The ground was speckled with bright flowers and benches camouflaged with moss, the scene was undeniably picturesque.  The sound of hundreds of chatty students echoed in the tent as we filed down the row and sat down, eager for the day to begin.  Just as we started to get impatient the screech of the microphone silenced us.

After listening to stories and poems we were taken to a seminar hall and three amazing poets performed to us, it was so amazing and motivational.  The experience was so memorable and has really inspired us for the rest of our writing.  After lunch we had an incredible writing session where I learnt there is so much more to poetry, and you shouldn’t underestimate your talent – anyone can be a poet!

We wrote about current events we found shocking.  It really helped me grasp the idea poetry is about you, and the more connected you are, the more connected the audience will be to your piece of writing.  I’m glad we saw the poetry performances because it will really help me to overcome my nerves when it comes to public reading our poems.

After our reading session we hurried back onto our plastic seats to hear about the ups and downs of writing and how the process takes time and you preserve through challenges from a published author.  This speech really prepared us for the challenges ahead, but it also excited us about the prospect of having something published, seeing that your hard work has paid off, and that others will read what you’ve produced.

After the author’s speech two students from each school read out the poems they had written.  In our school it was Amy and Sava (who was reading out Ayat’s poem).  It was so motivational to see them on stage and Ms Mahon and Mr Kelly were really proud of them.

Once the day’s events were finished, some of us went to chase down some poets so that we could get our books signed. It felt special to have signed copies of the books! It was so disappointing that we had to leave and it felt like the day had flown by, but it was a day I will never forget.

I am so thankful to Fulham Cross for giving me, and the rest of the girls, this amazing opportunity and to the teachers who have given up their time and gone out of their way to organise this programme for us.  I hope we can make them proud! I can’t wait to tell everyone that I am a published author – and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Written by: Lilly McCracken