Creative Writing Resources for Young People

While I was signing books at the Leeds Book Awards, I had a chat with a pupil who asked me for tips on writing and illustrating stories and poems. I had an idea that the Scottish Book Trust website would have just the thing and promised the pupil I’d post links here.

Sure enough, the SBT site is a great place to start! If you are a young person who really wants to write stories, check this page out. There are video podcasts by authors Cathy Forde and Keith Gray, who both write for young adults. And at the bottom of the page is this great link, which will take you to a whole list of online resources and competitions.

As for illustration, I can direct you to my Links page for lots of book illustration resources!

There are probably loads more items I’ve missed, so if you know of a good resource for aspiring young writers and artists, please do leave a comment with your suggestions.

The Robert Burns Banner Project

For those of you reading this from outside Scotland, the poet Robert Burns may be vaguely familiar from high school or college literature classes, as he was to me. Only when I moved to Scotland did I find out what a superstar Burns is in this country and to people all over the world who celebrate his January 25 birthday every year with a Burns Supper.

There are lots of activities happening in Scotland this year to celebrate Burns’s 250th birthday and one that has caught my attention is artist Stephen Raw’s Burns Banner Project.

Stephen is collecting handmade letters to make up selected verses of the Burns poem and song “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”. You can read the poem or hear it read and sung here, or take a look at this annotated version that has links to a glossary. Burns wrote in the Scots language, which has fantastic words to get your tongue around. You’ll be able to guess the meaning of some words: the abbreviated “‘a that” stands for “all that” and “hing” is “hang”. “Gie” is “give”…a word you hear every day in Glasgow! You’ll also hear “hamely”, which means “homely”.

The Burns Banner Project is coming to WASPS Studios in Glasgow on May 12, so if you are in the area, come by between 11am and 7pm and make your own letter. It might just be chosen.

But you don’t have to attend a workshop to submit a letter – check out other ways you can do so here. And check out the blog to see what others around the world have already made.