Writers in Schools 2015/16 Overview

2nd June 2016
Photo: From a residency with writer Trish Forde at Furbo National School, Co. Galway, supported by Foras na Gaeilge as part of Galway2020. 
With the school year coming to a close, we’ve been taking stock of what has been a very successful year for our Writers in Schools scheme, with visits and residencies reaching over 20,000 children and young people from Dingle to Derry, Tyrone to Tipperary and beyond.
Just a small selection of our programme of single visits include Sarah Webb in Scoil Chaitriona GNS, Coolock; Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin in St Brendan’s Community School, Birr; John Quinn in Scoil Naomh Pádraig, Castleblayney, and Fiona Dowling doing some outdoor ‘storytelling in the forest’ sessions with the children of Dalkey School Project. 

On Poetry Day, our ‘Children of the Revolution’ project sent poets to towns from which some of the 1916 rebels hailed, to deliver workshops focussing on the lives of children at the time. Nell Regan visited Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Clondalkin, while Mary Geogheghan worked with children from Shronnell, Co Tipperary, and Trish Forde with pupils in Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh in Galway. Poet, Frank Galligan also delivered workshops to children from Blackstaff NS and Iniskeen NS in the Patrick Kavanagh Centre, where the children composed their own versions of ‘Iniskeen Road’.

We were very excited to hold a masterclass for twelve lucky teenage poets, who got the opportunity to workshop their poems with Paul Muldoon (in association with the DLR Mountains to Sea Festival).

We’ve had a huge range of residencies happening all over the country including our Foras na Gaeilge supported Irish language writing-workshops in schools in Ballyhaunis, Derry, Donegal, Galway, Ventry and Dublin. We were delighted to gain the support this year of Department of Foreign Affairs through their Reconciliation Funding Scheme, which has made the following residencies in schools in Belfast possible: Kate Newmann in St Genevieve’s High School, Sheena Wilkinson in Donegall Road PS, and Frank Galligan in St Teresa’s PS. Other residencies this year include Aideen McBride doing storytelling sessions for young people from St Vincent’s Special School on the Navan Road.

We will have five exciting new names added to our WIS directory for schools to choose from in the Autumn: Kevin McDermottSimone SchuemmelfederAlan Monaghan, Bernie McGill, and Juliette Saumande.

We receive many more requests for Writers in Schools visits than we are able to fund, so if you are interested in booking a visit for your school, then be sure to get your application form into us as early as possible – you can even get ahead by submitting your form right now for a fixed date in the 2016/17 academic year.

We are always delighted to receive photographs of visits and feedback and work from the students, so do keep sending them in!