A creative writing workshop for young people from across North and Mid Wales – linked to one of Wales’ premier cultural festivals – has taken place at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

The Hay Festival Scribblers Tour 2020 brought hundreds of schoolchildren from across North Wales to the university’s Plas Coch campus, where they spent a day working alongside award-winning young adult fiction writers as part of a series of free events across Wales.

Free events are being hosted at five Welsh universities: the University of South Wales, Swansea University, Aberystwyth University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and Wrexham Glyndwr University.

The Scribblers Tour aims to engage and encourage the next generation in storytelling and conversation, inspiring empathy and creativity. Now in its ninth year, the tour gives pupils a chance to visit their nearest university and experience a taste of life on campus.

Over two weeks, students from Llanfyllin High School took part in sessions with leading authors.

Compèred both weeks by YA star Jenny Valentine, Year 7 and Year 8 featured interactive activities with author of the bestselling series The Shapeshifter, Ali Sparkes and Welsh poet Aneirin Karadog, while Year 9 and Year 10 sessions starred writers Brian Conaghan and Patrice Lawrence. Each author took the pupils on a creative journey to produce their own dynamic and inventive writing, be it dialogue, character development or the Welsh poetic style known as Cynghanedd.

Aine Venables, education manager at Hay Festival, said: “Every May in Hay-on-Wye thousands of young people join us to meet their favourite writers, and now we’re bringing Hay Festival to them. In these free festival days we took them on a creative journey to share stories, develop dialogue and celebrate the power of writing and reading for pleasure. We want to start conversations with young people, hear their voices and inspire their creative identities.”

Hay Festival Scribblers Tour is funded by the Welsh Government and is part of Hay Festival Foundation’s wider outreach and education work that includes the free Programme for Schools, Hay Academy, Hay Compass, The Beacons Project, School Exchanges, and the Hay Levels series of free educational videos.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “The Scribblers Tour captures the creativity synonymous with the Hay Festival and uses it to inspire learners across Wales. I am pleased to confirm the Welsh Government is again supporting this amazing project that gives children and young people the opportunity to learn about literature and creative writing from expert speakers and authors. Unique experiences like these are an exciting part of the learning experience and support the new curriculum which places creativity at its core.”

Amber Percy, Student Recruitment and Engagement Assistant, said: “Welcoming the Hay Scribblers tour – and pupils from schools right across our region – is a regular February highlight for us here at Glyndwr.

“Like the Hay Festival, we’re committed to inspiring the next generation with the work we do – and it was great to see so many young people taking part from right across North Wales. We’d like to thank all of them, their teachers, schools, everyone at the Hay Festival  – and of course the authors.”

For more information visit hayfestival.org/scribblers/the-scribblers-tour.aspx. And to support Hay Festival Foundation by becoming a Hay Festival Friend, Patron or Benefactor, visit hayfestival.org/foundation.

Pictured: Hay Scribblers – Meg Wassell Jonny Boyd Amber Percy Aine Venables Patrice Lawrence Jenny Valentine and Brian Conaghan_