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What if YOU Spoke? Libraries launch creative masterclasses for young writers.

Posted on 04 Oct 2021

A new programme of writing masterclasses and competitions aimed at Devon residents aged 15-25, have been released this month. What if YOU Spoke is led by Libraries Unlimited in partnership with Pen to Print, University of Exeter, Africa Writes & Literature Works as part of Exeter UNESCO City of Literature. 

Empowering the next generation of writers to share their voices and get writing, Libraries Unlimited have released a series of competitions and classes led by some of today’s most inspirational voices.  

Pre-recorded writing classes are now available online for free, with each class culminating in a competition. The competition closes on 14th January 2022 with the opportunity to win an iPad, attend a second live masterclass with each course leader and become part of a new cohort of writers, receiving regular tuition and opportunities. The best submissions will also be published in Pen to Print’s magazine ‘Write On’, with approximately 20,000 free copies distributed across Barking & Dagenham and Devon Libraries.    

The diverse range of 60-90 minute classes include the following topics and presenters:

  • Ali May on Life Writing and Journalism 
  • Filmmaker, critic and feature writer Ashish Ghadiali on finding the thread of a good story 
  • Starting your first novel with Derek Owusu 
  • Illustrator and graphic novelist Joff Winterhart teaching Comic book writing 
  • Finding your inner voice and writing for children with author and performance poet Laura Dockrill 
  • A text and image masterclass working with print, banners, placards and painting by Rudy Loewe 
  • Steven Camden (Polarbear), one of the most respected spoken word artists in the UK, will help the participants to realise that stories are everywhere and it’s up to us to discover them to tell. 
  • Acclaimed spoken word poet, Deanna Rodger teaches form in poetry 
  • Short story writer Kirsty Logan teaching short story writing  
  • Zakiya Mackenzie teaches writing nature and uncertainty 

Sessions are broken down into bite size lessons, allowing participants to complete at their own pace. 

Once entries have been submitted, the masterclass presenters will judge the competition as a panel. A selection of the best entries will receive feedback from the presenters in a virtual meeting prior to going to print. 

Daniel Clark, Creative Director at Evolve said: “We’re really excited to launch this new programme of inspiring classes and competitions to get people writing in partnership with Africa Writes, the University of Exeter, Pen to Print and Literature Works. The unique classes have been created specifically for this project and with such a wide range of skills and voices on offer there really is something for everyone. We can’t wait to see the creative results from the next generation of writers and artists from across Devon.” 

Lena Smith, Library Project Managerat Pen to Print said: “Pen to Print and Write On! Magazine are excited to be working with these amazing partners, allowing us to showcase the next generation of diverse authors and supporting them on their first steps into the publishing industry.” 

All the classes and full details on how to enter the competitions can be found at 

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.