Young Writers Celebrate 10-Year Anthology | Guest Bloggers | Flourish and Blogs

Olivia Hope

Talented young writers aged between 12 and 25 are coming together to celebrate the publication of a new anthology of their work, marking 10-years of Ilkley Literature Festival’s Young Writers’ Groups.

Past and present members will read some of their contributions at the festival’s open air Summer Fringe.  The event will take place on Thursday 25 August, at 6.30pm, in the beautiful courtyard of Ilkley Manor House.

Since 2011, several generations of Young Writers have shared, practised and polished their craft under the tutelage of published poets, authors, playwright performers and creative facilitators, Michelle Scally Clarke, Becky Cherriman, Sai Murray and Andy Craven Griffiths.

From poetry to prose, song writing to playwriting and monologues to short stories, they have covered an array of artforms and genres over the years. Beyond the act of writing, sessions have also covered performance skills and breathing exercises, giving young people the confidence to perform their work and take their writing to the stage.

Words Hanging Off Trees is an anthology of their work featuring 30 current and former Young Writers. Available to order now, it covers topics as varied as identity, love, fear, conflict and ancient myth.

Developed and compiled throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Young Writers met over zoom with the groups’ Creative Leaders to develop the book’s concept, title and themes.

Michelle Scally Clarke, a Creative Leader from 2011-2021, has worked alongside ‘greats’ such as Linton Kwesi Johnson, Benjamin Zephaniah and poet laureate Simon Armitage. She said:

“This Anthology is a celebration and testimony, a voice, of Bradford and Ilkley’s young writers. This beautiful collection of poetry and prose leaves you inspired.”

Frankie Wills, a Young Writer from 2015-19, is currently completing a BA in English at Nottingham University, is returning to Ilkley to perform her work alongside other Young Writers at the Summer Fringe.

Wills said: “Young Writers provided me with a safe space to develop both as a writer and as a person. I know that I would not have half the confidence I have today if I had not decided to go to that first taster session. I will always be grateful for the wonderful memories.”

The Ilkley Literature Festival Summer Fringe is a series of outdoor evenings of performances by Yorkshire creatives, taking place every Thursday in August, featuring a mix of poetry, music, comedy improv and spoken word.

Tickets for the 25 August event featuring the Young Writers are free and available to book at 

Copies of the anthology can be pre-ordered from:

Read the anthology online:

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