Antonia joined our new Lit From the Inside programme for 2020. ‘Lit Insiders’ get a behind-the-scenes look at the literary arts scene in Norwich as well as opportunities to complete their Bronze Arts Award and interview writers and artists.
Over the course of the year, our Lit Insiders met every week on Zoom to programme Chrysalis: a day of free events and workshops that reflect on the cultural impact of 2020 and how we can look to a more positive future; which attracted writers and audiences from across the world. We caught up with Antonia to talk about her experience of the programme and her plans for the future. Find out more about the Lit from the Inside programme here.
Did you see yourself as a writer? What kind of person were you?
I didn’t really see myself as a writer, more of a reader. I used to write a little bit, but only for school. I find that I much prefer reviewing and analysing writing then actually writing myself. I have always preferred writing essays, which I still love. I haven’t managed to do much creative writing this year apart from what we did in sessions or for my language GCSE. However, I have read a lot more this year than I had previously, and I have especially loved doing my book reviews for BBC Radio Norfolk, which I wouldn’t have been able to do without Lit!
What did you expect from the programme?
I went into Lit with not many expectations, as I was not completely sure what it was. So not only did Lit live up to my expectations, but surpassed it! I have loved being in a group of lovely and interesting people, especially during lockdown. Continuing through lockdown on Zoom was amazing as I had expected Lit to stop as we couldn’t meet up. Thank you for keeping it going! The opportunities have been incredible, and I have done many things that I would never have dreamt of being able to do!
What has been the most useful part of the programme for you and why?
My confidence has really increased. Doing the Radio interviews, the Chrysalis live stream and just asking guests questions has really boosted my confidence, especially in public speaking. I have also tried many things that I would have been too scared to do before, and ended up really enjoying them. This means that in the future I will be more confident to step out of my comfort zone! I have come out of my year at lit with many new life skills, which I will always be grateful for.
The opportunities have been incredible, and I have done many things that I would never have dreamt of being able to do!
What did you find challenging?
I found doing the Radio interviews and the Chrysalis event quite challenging because it was a big leap out of my comfort zone. However, the more I did things like it, the easier it got. I’ve found doing my Silver Arts Award quite challenging as it is a lot of work, and I’ve been creating my own website, which is something I’ve never done before. The challenges have been really useful in growing my confidence and experience.
Did you experience an ‘aha!’ moment over the year? What changes did you notice in either your own writing, or your personal development?
My ‘aha!’ moment was probably going on radio for the first time. It was something I never thought would happen, or even be an opportunity I could take! I had always been interested in radio since I was little, so it was amazing to try it out for myself. I was so nervous, but I really enjoyed it, and I was elated after the interview! The more radio interviews I did, the easier they got, but I still felt amazed that I had just spoken live to people all across the county!
What has being part of the programme done for you, which you wouldn’t otherwise wouldn’t have achieved?
Wow, so much! The first thing that comes to mind is doing my Radio Book Reviews, which would not have happened without Lit. I have loved doing them, and BBC Radio Norfolk wants me to keep going after Lit, which I am really happy about! The Chrysalis event live stream was something I would never had said yes to doing without the increase in confidence I got during my year at Lit. I am so glad I did it, as it was not as scary as I thought It would be, and it is something really cool to have done! My increased public speaking experience helped me enormously during my interviews for scholarships to Sixth Forms. The programme also gave me something to put in my CV and talk about in my interviews, as I want to do English Literature for A Level. I got an Academic Scholarship to two schools, which I don’t think would have happened without Lit and the confidence the program has given me!
I got an Academic Scholarship to two schools, which I don’t think would have happened without Lit and the confidence the program has given me
How will you take this experience forwards as you make your next steps?
I am studying English Literature at A-Level at Norwich High School for Girls next year, along with History and Classics. I then want to study History at Cambridge University. I am not sure what I want to do after that, but I might stay in academia, or maybe go into Law, Politics or do Radio. I have always loved reading and writing essays, and my year at Lit has increased my enthusiasm for English. I have discovered jobs that I didn’t even think existed, and I think going into publishing at some point would be something I’d love. Doing Radio and the Chrysalis event has really helped my public speaking and organisation skills, which I will take into Sixth Form and the future. I will hopefully use what I have learnt at Lit in debating, which is a staple of the subjects I’m taking at A-Level, and in setting up school events and clubs. I might even go as far as to set up a school radio station! I feel like I have more possibilities for the future now, as I’m considering things that I didn’t know existed before, or that I didn’t feel were possible. Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity, I will be forever grateful!
Applications for Lit From the Inside 2021 are now closed. You can keep up to date with all of our upcoming opportunities for young people and be the first to hear when applications open for Lit From The Inside 2022 by signing up to our newsletter. Sign up here >>
Lit From the Inside 2020 was generously supported by Anguish’s Educational Foundation and The Norwich Freeman’s Charity.