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First Stories in Hull with James

A collaboration between the Writing Squad and First Story has given Squad7 grad James Varney the opportunity to deliver part of First Story’s programme in Hull College.

Over the next eight weeks James will be running workshops with students aged 16+, leading towards an anthology and launch.

First Story take writers into schools nationally, concentrating on areas where “more than 50% of pupils are considered deprivedaccording to the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index and/or GCSE results fall in the lowest third of the national distribution.” James will be working with the experienced writer Joe Hakim and supported by First Story’s Hull Programme Officer, playwright Dave Windass.

Monica Parle, Executive Director of First Story says, “We are delighted to partner the Writing Squad in this residency. It presents us with the opportunity for us to assist them as they support a talented, emerging writer in gaining skills to work in schools. Developing this pipeline is critical to expanding the range of voices and stories in the literature sector. First Story relishes sharing best practice and learning with an organization we so admire.”

James adds, “In a world and economy that seems increasingly hostile to careers in the arts, I’m proud to find myself encouraging another generation to take up the foolhardy exercise of writing. The work of First Story in areas of deprivation is particularly important to me – arts in the UK must be diverse in experience if we seek to make the world we want to live in. The more of us there are, the more culture we can make and the more of a fight we can put up. Young people have so much energy and power they are oblivious to; it’s a privilege for me to help them find a way to exercise it.”


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