Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A great half term literary festival

This morning I ran through Queen's Wood where 'Red Leaves' is set. It was a glorious start to the day. The sun played through russet, mustard and golden leaves which wafted down through the thinning branches. Leaves scrunched underfoot and I fancied that if I looked up I would hear my ancient character Elder intoning her chants in praise of autumn.

'Time to light the fires. The year's turning and the wood's stirring.' 

I picked up a leaf, took it home, traced around it and made twenty paper leaves for the young writers who attended Storystock at the Bush Theatre today. There are wonderful literary events on all week and today I was privileged to see the great Michael Morpurgo there (though I was not brave enough to say hi!)

In creative writing workshop today twenty young people imagined that they, like my characters in 'Red Leaves' were hiding out in an air raid shelter on the eve of Halloween. They threw red leaves in the air, caution to the wind, let their imaginations flow and produced some beautiful writing.

 'Red Leaves' draws on some harsh real world realities but the young lives who find their way to the air raid shelter in a London wood discover a place where magic and transformations are possible, where young people can return to the simple pleasures of building dens, enjoying fireworks light up the sky, catching a falling leaf and making new bonds of friendship.

See the whole programme for the rest of the week at:


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