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Pupils given unique masterclass from leading Scots authors

Aberdeen school pupils were offered the exclusive opportunity to learn the art of creative writing from a host of acclaimed Scottish authors as part of a unique literary event held today (Thursday 4 September).

Author Helen Lamb with Aberdeen City pupils - image courtesy of Aberdeen City CouncilThe 8th Annual Northern Writes Creative Writing Conference saw youngsters encouraged to get their creative juices flowing and put pen to paper by internationally renowned writers:  Tom Bryan, Jules Horne, Helen Lamb, John Glenday, Des Dillon and Liz Niven.

Organised by Aberdeen City Library's Curriculum Resources and Information Service in conjunction with English teachers from across Aberdeen City Secondary Schools, the event is supported for the first time this year by the University of Aberdeen's Student Recruitment and Admissions department and acclaimed annual Word Festival.

The event, which took place at the University's Kings College Conference Centre, was open to 6th year pupils from across the city studying Advanced Higher English, with a limited number of 5th year pupils also attending.

Aberdeen City Council's lead member for education Councillor Kirsty West said: "It is important for young people to learn in a range of environments and this kind of hands-on experience with well known authors can only serve to fire their imaginations and give them the inspiration and confidence to succeed."

Fiona Clark, Aberdeen City Council Library and Information Services Manager said: "This highly successful event is now a firmly established highlight of the English Departments' school year.  The aim has always been to make it as inclusive as possible and to enable pupils and teachers, not only to work with some of the best Scottish writers, but also to meet and work together in an atmosphere of creative collaboration.  We are therefore delighted that this year the majority of the City's secondary schools are represented.

"We are also very pleased to be supported for the first time by Aberdeen University and welcome this opportunity for partnership working."

It is hoped the conference will engage youngsters with the subject of creative writing as Rachel Sandison, Head of Student Recruitment and Admissions, University of Aberdeen explains:

"The Northern Writes Creative Writing Conference is designed to provide school pupils from across Aberdeen with a unique opportunity to enhance and develop their creative writing skills.    Recognising the importance of inspiring youngsters to get involved with literature, the event offered the pupils the exclusive chance to take part in group workshops with some of Scotland's most celebrated authors. 

"A wide variety of genres and writing styles were covered throughout the day's events, which inspired the pupils to put pen to paper and create some imaginative prose. 

"We are delighted to be supporting the conference this year which further reflects the University's commitment to creating opportunities to use the expertise within the institute to engage young minds with language and literature." 

The Northern Writes Creative Writing Conference was opened by Professor Christopher Gane, Vice Principal of Culture and Communities, the University of Aberdeen and chaired by Steven Knox, Principal Teacher of English at St Machar Academy.

A follow up event will be held on 9October at Summerhill Centre, where pupils and teachers will share the work they have written following the conference.  A booklet of the works produced by the authors and school pupils involved in the conference will be published and distributed to participants by the Curriculum Resources and Information Service early next year.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Thursday 4th of September 2008

Ref: 239northernwrites
Contact: Kelly Cromar

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