I’m really delighted to announce I’m a patron of A Maze of Story, a small non-profit organisation that provides creative writing programs for primary school children who might not ordinarily have access to such enrichment.
I’m in the very privileged position of being able to go to schools regularly and meet kids, teachers and librarians and rave on at (and with!) them about the joys of reading and writing. We talk about their favourite books, about my favourite books, and sometimes we do some creative writing, too. These are energetic sessions that the students often emerge from buoyed about what they cando on the page rather than what they can’t. It’s as inspiring for me as it hopefully is for them. But these sessions are typically at schools that have a budget to pay for my visit, and teachers and a principal supportive of creative incursions. I’m very aware that there are many schools I’ll not be invited to attend, due to a lack of funding, or perhaps the sense that a visit from a writer might fall on deaf ears, or be wasted on the students, somehow.
But of course, this is never the case. Every child is genuinely curious to learn, even if they have obstacles in the way of them doing so.
While I am able to do one or two school visits every year unpaid, this doesn’t really touch the sides of the need out there.
And this is where A Maze of Story comes in. They run programs over several weeks with students selected by the school—not because they are good at writing, but because they are yet to have the opportunity to explore this side of themselves.
Each workshop is led by a ‘story-weaver’ who is supported by six volunteer tutors, who’ve been trained to provide encouragement through focused attention on the children.
Every child who participates fully will come away with a published piece of writing. Sixteen print anthologies have been published thus far.
What a treasure of an organisation! I hope some of you will be keen to learn more, and perhaps support them in some way.