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Author encourages Barnsley pupils to put pen to paper

Schoolchildren across Barnsley have had the chance to be mentored by a professional short story writer to develop their creative writing.

This week, author Nik Perring will present pupils from eight schools in the borough with their own anthology of poems, as part of a wider programme to encourage people of all ages to express themselves through poetry.

The poems have been written by 200 schoolchildren aged eight to 11 in a series of creative writing workshops led by Nik, and delivered by Barnsley Museums, as part of the Hear My Voice literary programme and part-funded by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership.

On 17 May at Elsecar Heritage Centre, Nik and the Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Linda Burgess, will present each school with their own anthology of poems taken from the workshops. 150 children will also receive a national Arts Award certificate for creative writing.

Jemma Conway, learning manager at Barnsley Museums, said: “Through the Hear My Voice programme we are committed to providing creative learning opportunities for children that really engage, stimulate and inspire their interest in the spoken and written word, and Nik’s creative writing workshops did just that.

“This was the first time some of the children had met an author and Nik was extremely inspirational and encouraged them to think about becoming a writer themselves one day.”

Over the past ten years, Nik has worked extensively in schools and libraries, running workshops and courses for children and adults, and working for organisations including the BBC. He said: “It was fantastic to be asked to be part of the Hear My Voice programme of events and to mentor the children to produce their own creative writing.

“As an author and mentor I’m passionate about helping children realise their potential, and what better way to do it than putting pen to paper, allowing them to express themselves through the written word. It’s important that they know how to tell their stories and realise that they all have voices that deserve to be heard.

“Workshops like these offer the children something different and I think this project has inspired them to keep creating and writing and reading stories.”

The Hear My Voice programme is coordinated by Barnsley Museums with support from partners, and has received funding from Barnsley TUC Training Ltd.

The Hear My Voice programme aims to engage people of all ages and backgrounds with words and language, from primary school children right through to people in their nineties.

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