An initiative to inspire and develop the creative writing skills of secondary school students in Co Longford has been established in recent months, and is under the watchful eye of local writer Chris Thompson, who is based just outside Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.
The Creative Writing Programme is aimed at first year students and is currently being undertaken by the pupils of Templemichael College in Longford town.
“The objective of the programme is to teach creative writing through story telling and visuals and it is running in tandem with the ‘Tell Me a Story’ initiative being run in conjunction with childcare facilities, which encourages parents to write stories themselves, for their small children,” Ms Thompson explained.
“The childcare programme was actually initiated by Longford Libraries and has been very successful.
“With regard to the creative writing programme, it is the younger students that we are working with and it has all started off in Templemichael College in Longford town, and the First Year students there.”
The programme aims to support the students’ creative writing abilities and inspire them to develop their own skills further.
“I hope that the students will be in a position to present a collection of stories and poems through the programme – I’m very much in favour of collaborative writing,” the local writer went on to say.
“Collaborative writing can be achieved by looking at everyday objects in a different way.
“Recently when the students did this, they came up with the idea of examining doors and we eventually arrived at a ‘marshmallow’ door and the idea of doors opening and closing – so it is a very creative way to encourage writing; it’s the juxtaposition of the ordinary and the remarkable.”
Thompson, who started out as a primary school teacher in London, came to Ireland over 20 years ago to develop her own creative side, and, she believes that every child has the inner ability to write.
“They just need to believe that they can do it,” she said, adding that “we all have writing and poetry in us, in fact”.
“My main job is a story teller, so I came here to work on aural skills as a support for creating writing to make it accessible and collaborative,” Ms Thompson concluded.
The initiative is part funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.