More than 1,400 primary schoolchildren will become published authors after taking part in a creative writing project.
The Imagine a Story creative writing project will be part of Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival from February 12-23, and will see students from 33 schools contribute a chapter to a book which will have each student’s name printed on it.
In a giant ‘game of consequences’, each of the 33 schools writes one chapter of a story, responding to a brief outlined by author Sharna Jackson.
Once compiled, the completed novel will be illustrated by illustrator Dapo Adeola and professionally printed and published by Brixton-based publishers Knights Of.
Each student will become a published author with their names printed in the final book which will be on sale at the festival and provided for free to each participating school library. All children will also receive a free copy.
The project aims to inspire and support children as creative writers, as well as support teachers to guide creative writing in the classroom.
It also aims to address the chronic lack of diversity in children’s publishing, highlighted in the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) report which found that just one per cent of children’s books published in the UK in 2017 featured a BAME main character.
Bronwen Smith, assistant headteacher at Stockwell Primary School in Stockwell Road, Stockwell, said: “The Imagine a Story project is a truly transformational opportunity for me and the children I teach.
“Working directly with a writer gives me insight into how an author approaches the creative writing process, and helps me create an environment in school where the children’s writing just flows as an expression of their excitement and enjoyment.
“Having their finished words read out at Southbank Centre, and published in a book for friends, family and others to read, my children will very tangibly experience being successful writers with an audience and a purpose to inspire them to write.”
Author Sharna Jackson said: “I’m thrilled to be the lead author on Imagine a Story with Southbank Centre this year, collaborating with over 1,400 young writers.
“Creative writing can be brilliant for communication and confidence building in young people, and I’m incredibly excited to see where our story goes.”
The Imagine Children’s Festival returns to Southbank Centre for its 19th year with 12 days of performances, music, literature, comedy, creativity, parties, participation and free fun for children aged 0-11 and adults.