Monday, 7 July 2014


An Anthology from the First Story Groups at Oxford Spires Academy
ed. Kate Clanchy
London, First Story, 2014, 86p

I am endlessly impressed by the work carried out by the charity, First Story, and by the writing produced by the young individuals who are fortunate enough to experience their program.

Today, we launched the Oxford Spires Academy anthology, named Wings because of the array of fantastical poetry written around the theme of flying. The book opens with a poem about a young boy's dream of being a super hero, rescuing a school boy from his bullies; followed by an account of a student's childhood dream of building her own set of wings.

But there is so much more than that - poems about childhood memories and school day fantasies; letters to fathers, no longer with us; pleas to future lovers and old friends.

The anthology is artistically put together by Kate Clanchy, our amazing Writer-in-Residence, who has created rhythm and flow to the book as a whole. Throughout the collection, some styles recur, demonstrating the impact of Kate's workshops upon the students' writing. But this year's book is incredibly diverse, including poetry, prose and plays, writing about Oxford, Bangladesh and Nepal, poems about students' dreams and some that are completely fictional.

The poems are  mature, emotional and sensitive, exploring what it means to be a young person today. 

Tonight, we welcomed esteemed guests from Oxford Spires and First Story to experience the words spoken from the students' mouths. They were absolutely breathtaking - I am so incredibly proud of all they have achieved in a short space of time. 

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