London South Bank University (LSBU) last week successfully hosted ShoutSouth!, a creative writing festival aimed at inspiring children through writing, illustration and discussion workshops with local authors.
The festival brought together children from nine different schools across Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Wandsworth, for three days of fun workshops with 19 authors, including Jamie Buxton, Gillian Cross, Helen Dennis, Sara Grant and Lydia Syson.
Mark Ellis, Senior Manager for Schools and Colleges Liaison at LSBU said: "The festival is a fantastic opportunity for local children to meet professional authors of children's books who also live locally, and be inspired to imitate them.
"At ten and eleven many children naturally love writing stories, and it's great for this to be reinforced as a positive activity, particularly for those who may come from backgrounds where books are not widely read.
"The University setting gives the activity added meaning, demonstrating that this is a skill which could have a big influence on their future careers."
Supported by LSBU as part of its widening participation programme, and organised by the author members of Children's Writers and Illustrators in South London (CWISL), the event was a great success amongst the children. 70% of the kids involved chose to return to LSBU on the final day of the festival to finish their stories and collect special certificates.
Beverley Birch, CWISL founder, said: "Organising the Festival was a lot of work for all of the authors involved - all of whom gave their time for nothing - but it's hugely rewarding because we know how much the children love it. It's inspiring to see how much the children enjoy the workshops, and the explosion of confidence and pride in their creativity."
The children's work will be published on Shoutabout!, an online magazine for children's creative writing that CWISL developed in response to the success of the original festival in November 2010.