Development & Alumni Relations Office 



CHILDREN'S WRITING FELLOW LAUNCHES WRITING PROJECT FOR NI SCHOOLS 

11 October 2017

The first Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland, based at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, has launched a new creative writing project for primary school children entitled ‘Head over Heels’.

The Children’s Writing Fellow, Myra Zepf, is inviting P6 classes from primary schools across Northern Ireland – in Irish as well as English-medium sectors – to apply to participate in the project.

Twenty five schools will be selected to take part in creative brainstorming workshops in the classroom with Myra, after which each child will have the opportunity to write a short story. From this, five young writers and their classes will be selected by Myra to take part in a special event at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, in the spring of 2018, where five of Ireland’s top illustrators will bring the children’s stories to life.

 

Speaking about the project Myra, said: “I am delighted to announce a new writing project which will engage young writers with the most delicate, sparky and magical part of the creative development process – the initial growing of an idea from a seedling. Workshops in schools will kindle both imaginative thought and confidence and give the children a springboard from which to launch their stories.

Myra, the first Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland, was appointed by the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to ensure the legacy of Nobel Prize-winning Poet, Seamus Heaney.

Continuing Myra said: “For five of the participating schools, the final event will be a creative extravaganza as they witness five of Ireland’s best-loved illustrators, including the Children’s Laureate, Belfast-born PJ Lynch, bring their stories to life in front of their very eyes.”

Speaking on behalf of Laureate na nÓg, an initiative of the Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaíon), administered by Children’s Books Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Poetry Ireland, PJ Lynch, added: “I am very excited to be working on the ‘Head Over Heels’ story project with Myra Zepf, whose role as the first Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland is so, so important.”

“On a personal level, it will be a tremendous honour for me as Laureate na nÓg to illustrate stories written by children from across Northern Ireland at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace next spring, as part of the Laureate’s Big Picture project. It's a special kind of homecoming for me, a reminder of my own childhood in Belfast, and my earliest desire to bring stories to life through pictures.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “This is exactly the sort of project that both the Arts Council and Queen’s University were so keen to see developed in children’s creativity in Northern  Ireland.  Myra has been able to bring the living legacy of Seamus Heaney right into the school room with help of Laureate na nÓg, the HomePlace and of course the participating children themselves. Brilliant!”

The ‘Head over Heels’ creative writing project is open to P6 classes from primary schools in Northern Ireland only. To apply on behalf of your primary school, please email myra.zepf@qub.ac.uk your details by Tuesday, 31 October 2017. 

Media inquiries to Zara McBrearty, Communications Office at Queen's University on tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3259.

Caption: Myra Zepf (centre), the first Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland is pictured (L-R) with Lucy, Oliver, Lorcan and Rose launching the ‘Head over Heels’ creative writing project for P6 classes in primary schools across Northern Ireland.

 

 

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