Question: What do you get when you gather together over ninety 8 to 13-year-olds, 17 published children's writers and illustrators for a three days?
Answer: Something unique. Amazing. Inspiring. Stunning.
Shoutsouth was the most inspiring festival to be part of. It was a celebration of story-making organised by CWISL. We're a group of published writers and illustrators promoting our love of reading, writing, and illustration with children from all backgrounds.
Because of government cuts, we didn't get the public grant we requested, so all the preparation work and workshops were done entirely voluntarily. London South Bank University offered us excellent work areas and an auditorium (perfect for storytelling). Rymans donated stationery materials. Others - too many to mention but you know who you are - gave their time not only freely but expertly.
The children were from a range of South London primary and secondary schools. Boy, do they have imaginations! I hosted the opening workshop for my group, which was called The Spark. The idea was to spark their imaginations with ideas from different sources - life experience, everyday objects, lists. Even a simple game to break the ice was inspiring. All the time we asked the question What if...? The teenagers in my group were obsessed with horror stories and The End of the World but it was noticeable that all the children wanted action and drama.
Other workshops included Spot the Plot, Mad Moody & Murky, and Picture This.
The children's work will be published on CWISL's Shoutsouth website.