Participating in Stories of Care helped me develop an entirely new creative skill, interrogate my writing process, and inspired me to pursue a career writing children’s fiction.
Prior to the programme, I had always wanted to write for a younger audience but did not know how to approach writing children’s fiction. The focussed workshops offered throughout the process encouraged introspection and empathy with what it is like to be a child, inviting me to remember what it was that I valued in the stories I loved during my school years.
This was immeasurably helpful and once I had realised the story I wanted to tell, Oliver and the team guided me in structuring the narrative making sure it was as accessible and enjoyable for children as possible. They helped me inject the surrealism and humour into it that I have always included in my work. They fostered my desire to mix my comedy writing with my children’s writing and I now feel I have developed a definitive identity as a children’s author and I cannot be more grateful.
The opportunity to attend and read an extract from my work at a Real Life Book Launch™ hosted at Sale Waterside Arts Centre, as well as have the book endorsed by Jacqueline Wilson was a dream come true.
Earlier this year, a video was posted on social media by the Children’s Book Awards of a young pupil reading my story Cork! aloud.The realisation that my story (which was inspired by my experiences growing up with a large Irish family) is now being enjoyed by schoolchildren was a milestone in my creative life. It made me realise that I wished to pursue writing children’s fiction further.
I am currently in the midst of writing a new host of short stories, maintaining that sense of fun and surrealism, inspired by my own experiences in childhood. I hope to develop them into a new collection and have now been able to assemble a writing CV that lists me as a published author (with a quote from the author of Tracey Beaker!) that I can use to hopefully find myself a literary agent.
I am also exploring the idea of developing my Stories of Care contribution Cork! into a full length children’s novel – and potentially a stage show adaptation! These ambitions have been encouraged by Oliver and the team and the guidance they have offered during and after the official process has been invaluable. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to participate in Stories of Care and cannot wait to see what the future holds.