Sophie Brown from Fakenham Academy joined the WCN team as a Young Ambassador in 2016. Below, she recounts her first session with the team, and how the experience has helped shape her independence.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first went to Dragon Hall, but it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting to be faced with a beautiful Medieval hall full of young like-minded writers. I can’t remember how many pairs of eyes looked around the room in wonder, eagerly taking pictures of the high ceilings and waiting with anticipation and – at least in my case – dread.
I hadn’t done many out of school activities before, except a science camp (as writer you can imagine how that went), so becoming a Young Ambassador was a shock to the system. A good shock, a really good shock. For once I was surrounded by teenagers who wanted to be creative and use words with care – instead of throwing them around pointlessly.
I was expecting a nice warm-up activity with an obligatory “Hi, I’m Sophie and I love writing” introduction to the group. But alas, they threw us in at the deep end: a two minute talk on our favorite or least favorite book/ film. To this day, I can remember the atrocious yet heartfelt talk on my opinions of Twilight, it is still a highlight of my time at Writers’ Centre Norwich. It may sound like an easy task but to a group of teens it’s a life or death situation; your reputation and people’s first opinion of you are at stake. Luckily for me, I got a few laughs and a round of applause at the end. I wouldn’t of, though, if I hadn’t been encouraged to stand up in the first place.
For once I was surrounded by teenagers who wanted to be creative
I think this activity set the stage for my time as a Young Ambassador as I continue to challenge myself with everything that I do. From judging a creative writing competition and organising events to writing reviews and promoting competitions, every task has been a first for me. It has expanded my writing ability; allowed me to work with other talented young writers; given me opportunities and I have enjoyed every single bit of it. One of the activities I have participated in is working towards my Bronze Arts Award. This has given me insight into so many different parts of the writing industry and allowed me to experience them first hand. The Arts Award is independently driven by the participant, this has helped to prepare me for my transition into Sixth Form where the majority of work is independant. Yet, there is still a helping hand from the Writers’ Centre staff if you need it.
Most importantly, the people of Writers’ Centre Norwich have been so welcoming and kind throughout, offering so many amazing activities to all. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Young Ambassador and I encourage any creative young adult to apply next year. This is one whole host of opportunity you cannot afford to miss.
Applications for the 2018 Young Ambassador scheme are now open. Find out more >>
You may also like...
Writing for younger audiences with Chip Colquhoun
In this episode of The Writing Life podcast, children’s author and NCW mentor Chip Colquhoun discusses the the key components needed for every story, and how to target your writing to different age groups.
22nd January 2024
Discover three of the best children’s books based or published in the East of England
Our weekly spotlight on an East Anglian Book Awards 2023 shortlist
10th November 2023
Top tips for translating picture books
Translator and NCW virtual resident Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar offers advice on how to approach the challenge of translating children’s picture books.
3rd October 2023