The First Story Young Writers’ Festival is the only festival of its kind, a unique event where the focus is on the young people’s own creative expression, not just the established artists’ work. For many of these students, the festival represents their first introduction to creative writing, giving them the chance to interact with acclaimed writers and participate in writing workshops in an inspirational environment that often provides the stimulus for their writing. The festival mirrors the format of professional literary festivals, but is entirely bespoke to a young audience, fostering a sense of belonging and a familiarity with the conventions of the wider literary world, providing a framework for future engagement. The emphasis on the day is to get the students writing and sharing their own work.
Hosting the Festival at the University of Cambridge helps to raise students’ aspirations. The Festival is often the students’ first trip to a university and by participating in workshops and activities taking place there, students are able to envisage themselves progressing into further education and possibly attending university in the future.