The NHS Writers’ Festival kicked off on Monday 15th August with an outstanding in-school program of writing workshops with visiting authors. For the first time, our students had the opportunity to pick up some invaluable writing tips from successful authors over a series of days and have a lot of fun at the same time.
Monday started with parent and illustrator, James Thyer, who showed student some illustration techniques and how to use software to publish their own illustrated works. Later that day, students had the opportunity to work with Stella Prize-listed author, Ruth Clare on some of the fundamentals of writing and then specifically about writing memoirs, including her work, Enemy.
Tuesday switched to writing about sports and there was strong interest from many students in working with John Harms in developing sports stories. John was brought to the school with the help of Ethan Munro (8G) who had his sports writing published in The Footy Almanac in 2015. A couple of other NHS students have now joined Ethan in being published writers with The Footy Almanac online. Archie Fusillo presented a series of workshops to students on the Wednesday about the craft of writing and ways to greatly improve their writing. At the end of one session, Daniel Exarchos (7I) got Archie to chat with Archie about the cover design of Archie’s novel The Dons which pictured Daniel’s grandfather.
Successful Young Adult fiction writer, Simmone Howell (author of The Girl Defective, among many other books) presented two very popular sessions on writing and YA fiction on the Thursday, taking students through her inspirations for writing and processes and encouraging students to read widely and draw on their interests to develop as writers.
The final sessions were conducted on the Friday by NHS teacher and published poet, Tric O’Heare, who helped a number of our budding poets with how to begin and also refine their writing of poetry.
Over 100 students participated in the various workshops and were supported by a number of teachers from the English faculty and the Library staff, who were also happy to get some ideas about writing and reading from the presenters.
Paul Gilby Head of English/EAL