YOUNG people across the borough are being challenged to use their experiences of lockdown to help spark a career in creative writing.
Future U, which works to increase career aspirations and higher education for young people in Lancashire, has launched ‘The Lockdown Diaries’ - a writing competition for 14-19 year olds - to create a range of short stories, poems or journal entries inspired by the pandemic and resulting lockdown.
Lancashire’s Future U works with a network of schools, in addition to colleges, higher education providers and local agencies, including Edge Hill University and West Lancashire College.
The challenge is designed to make young people think about future careers in creative writing, from becoming an author all the way through to script writers, copywriters and even English teachers.
Young people are being encouraged to write either a fiction or non-fiction piece, with the top 10 submissions to be published in a special anthology and the overall winner claiming a free Amazon Kindle to continue their love of reading.
Entries need to be longer than 500 words and can be submitted either on the Future U website or via pupils’ schools. All entries should be submitted before the deadline of Saturday, August 15.
Entries will be judged by international author Philippa Holloway. Philippa’s short stories and travel writing have been published across the world. In addition she teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at Edge Hill University.
She said: “The pandemic lockdown has affected everyone in so many different ways, and I believe it is vital that we take time to think about, and process, its impact. Writing about the situation can help us understand it, and ourselves, more clearly.
“I can't wait to read stories by the young people of Lancashire and to hear what it means to them.”
Dr Emma Deeks, Senior Coordinator at Future U, added: “We know that for many young people, having to stay home and miss out on normal life like school and seeing friends has been difficult, but it has also provided an opportunity to experience different things and have more time to spend thinking and creating.
“We wanted to design a project that allowed young people to express this creativity and potentially inspire them to pursue a career within the creative industries.”
Since launching in 2017, Future U has held more than 800 events and activities to support over 16,000 young people to think about applying for university.
The programme works alongside the county’s four universities and 10 colleges throughout Lancashire, including Edge Hill University and West Lancashire College.