Three online training sessions were led by Julie O’Leary of Graffitti Theatre Company and Cork author Cethan Leahy. This series of workshops was designed to develop the critical skills of these young people and provide them with the vocabulary, structure and approach to expressing their opinions about a piece of writing. They were also assisted with their presentation skills and learnt how to conduct an interview.
The young people were offered a choice of three books by writers who were to appear at this summer’s West Cork Literary Festival, which has now been cancelled due to COVID-19. They selected a book, read it and discussed it with members of Graffitti Theatre over a couple of sessions before interviewing the writer on a Zoom call.
The first of these interviews took place on May 4 where a group interviewed Deirdre Sullivan about her book Perfectly Preventable Deaths. Feedback from both the writer and participants was extremely positive.
Deirdre said of the experience
I am consistently blown away by the engagement and insight of the young people I work with, as a creative writing facilitator, and to see them being given the space and freedom to publicly engage with a literature that is theirs was a powerful and beautiful thing. They did a fantastic job, and I was reminded why I write for the audience I do, and energised to get to work on the sequel to Perfectly Preventable Deaths! It was so great to see them being given space to interrogate books that are written for them. So often it’s a role that’s assigned to gatekeepers or adult consumers of YA literature, rather than teens themselves.
You can watch the interview below:
We look forward to sharing our next interview with Juno Dawson coming soon.
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