Fighting Words, Wicklow will be formally launched by Roddy Doyle on Wednesday 9th November at Summerhill House Hotel, Enniskerry. Doors open at 7pm.
About Fighting Words
The acclaimed creative writing centre for children and young people has opened its doors in the idyllic surroundings of the Glencree Valley. Founded by author Roddy Doyle and Sean Love, Fighting Words is a truly unique and innovative organisation which has encouraged over 70,000 young writers since it’s inception in 2009.
In an educational system that increasingly reduces young minds to simply learning by rote designed to pass exams, Fighting Words offers a complementary approach, liberating young imaginations by encouraging story-telling in all its many and varied forms. Based at headquarters in Dublin’s Behan Square, across from Croke Park, it uses a participative and fun-filled workshop model to harness these young minds in all manner of creative endeavours, ranging from short stories, novels and poetry, right through to graphic novels, film and theatre scripts, as well as song-writing and journalism. It’s published books and put on plays, made films and much more. But Fighting Words is also about something broader and more inclusive. It is about using the practice of writing to encourage our children and teenagers to be resilient, creative and shapers of their own lives.
Fighting Words is run by a tiny full-time professional staff but is primarily peopled by a huge coterie of diverse volunteers who run the programme and enable schools and individuals to come through the doors for free. Indeed, the influx of primary and secondary schools from across the country has led to the need to open other centres across the country – Fighting Words, Belfast is now successfully up and running alongside Fighting Words, Mayo.
Now, in the extraordinary setting of the Aurora Cottage – home to the Glencree Society – Fighting Words, Wicklow has arrived. Children from schools – from Wicklow but also from neighbouring counties – travel up the valley to take part in lively workshops. These are facilitated by local volunteers (many more needed – see below), under the careful guidance of Wicklow co-ordinator Mark Davidson.
Volunteers come from a range of backgrounds – retired teachers, post-graduate students, aspiring writers, local artists, the list goes on – but there are no special qualifications needed; a willing heart, a listening ear and the ability to give a couple of hours every so often. And there is something truly magical about being part of a workshop, in the liberation of young imaginations. You always leave Fighting Words somehow feeling a little lighter and better about the world. As Maeve Binchy put it so clearly:
“I think everyone has a story inside them—and most of us want to be able to tell that story to everyone. But the thing that gets in our way is that we think ‘Why me? I couldn’t possibly do it. No one would listen to me.’ And this is why Fighting Words is such a splendid idea. It takes out that awful anxiety and gives people the courage to write and express themselves
Fighting Words has had huge support from extraordinary writers like Maeve and many other luminaries, volunteering to help or mentor or cajole. A child might have a Nobel Laureate talking with them about their story but that child won’t care about who they might be. For it’s not about them, the Big Names, it’s about the little ones, the unknown ones, the future ones, even the don’t-care-about-any-of-it ones.
For more information or to volunteer, please contact Mark Davidson at Fighting Aurora, Glencree – firstname.lastname@example.org