First Story - A Kind of Suprise
A Kind of Surprise – Pupils become Published Poets
This week a brand-new anthology of writing by Haringey Learning Partnership students was launched at a fantastic event at Commerce House. ‘A Kind of Surprise’ is a powerful collection of poems written by Year 11 students who spent a year working alongside HLP’s Writer-In-Residence, Ashley Hickson-Lovence.
The First Story Young Writers’ programme believes that there is power and dignity in every young person’s story, and their anthology of writing is a true expression of their unique voices.
HLP’s incredible writer-in-residence, Ashley Hickson-Lovence (author of ‘The 392’ and ‘Your Show’) demonstrated incredible commitment, travelling from Norwich to Commerce Road in Wood Green, every Monday morning.
This is how Ashley describes the anthology in his opening foreword:
“The fearlessly imaginative pieces within the anthology are the product of these young writers, week by week, settling in, hitting their stride, soaring high. Often, the Monday sessions were used as a kind of therapy, a creative outlet in these toughest of times, and, boy, did they rise to the challenge.”
On Monday 4th July, students, staff, families, councillors and even the Mayor of Haringey, gathered at Commerce House to celebrate the publication of the beautifully produced and illustrated anthology. Anticipation built as Ashley spoke to the audience about his journey as a writer, before inviting the young people who had contributed to the anthology to come to the front and share their work.
Odysseas Georgiou was the first young person to bravely take the microphone and read out his stunning piece ‘By the River’. He explained to the audience that his poem had been inspired by a visit to the University of Greenwich, where students had been encouraged to stand on the banks of the River Thames and write freely about what they saw, heard and felt.
The audience were then delighted to hear three pieces shared by the talented writer and orator, Aaliyah Bari. Aaliyah’s piece ‘The Bond’ is one of the most moving in the anthology, describing a boy’s relationship with his father. Her poem ‘Women without Men’ was met with rapturous applause as she read the final line: ‘Women...are...powerful!’
Throughout this year Haringey Learning Partnership students have shown flair and charisma in realising the creative potential of their ideas, and determination and dedication in returning to redraft, develop and improve.
These young writers deserve a huge congratulations for contributing to this anthology. They are all now officially published poets at the age of 16 – a remarkable achievement! Their work, now officially published, will not only be on the shelves of the HLP library, but will also be housed in the British Library.