For many young people, the world of literature can seem remote and forbidding. Our Outreach Programme seeks to change this.
Children should not only read great writers, but meet them in the flesh. The RSL’s Outreach Programme, which makes this possible, is a thrilling initiative.
We work to provide pupils in challenging* state schools with the opportunity to meet some of the country’s greatest writers.
The RSL Outreach Programme was first conceived in collaboration with the charity First Story, which arranges for established authors to run creative writing workshops with students in challenging schools. The pilot programme began in 2012, with Sebastian Faulks visiting Mulberry School for Girls in Whitechapel, London.
Since then, we have organised visits to schools in London, Oxford, Bradford, Cheltenham and Exeter to name a few, such as Bernardine Evaristo to St Martin-in-the-Fields High School for Girls, P.D. James to Mulberry Girls School, London, Patience Agbabi to Fulham Cross, Kate Clanchy to King Solomon Academy, Michael Morpurgo to Exeter College and Daljit Nagra to Regent High School. Lord Melvyn Bragg visited Willowfield Humanities College where he inspired the pupils with a range of thoughts and ideas, from the importance of writing the ordinary to advice on television presenting.
*‘Challenging’ refers to schools in which more than 50 per cent of pupils are considered deprived according to the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) or in which GCSE results fall in the lowest third of the national distribution
Overall, more than 90% of the students claimed to have been inspired to both read and write more in their free time as a result of the programme, and found the talks interesting and informative, giving them access that they would not otherwise have had to the works and lifestyle of prominent authors.
Writing is a possible career option, as well as something you can enjoy on the side of having a real job – and then even though the pay isn’t always amazing, the fulfilment makes it worthwhile.
We hold a number of writing competitions for schools and young people, giving them the opportunity to explore creativity and self-expression through literature.
Poems For Peace
To mark the centenary of the end of the end of the First World War, we asked those aged 11-18 to respond to our Peace Poetry Anthology with a poem about the future that they would like to see for the world.
A Room Of My Own
In 2019, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own with Dalloway Day. We asked 14-18 year-olds to tell us what they thought they would need for their future as writers.
Tall Tales, Short Stories
This 2020 competition asked those aged 14-18 to finish one of the stories from our V.S. Pritchett anthology with a new ending of their own.
Support our work
The RSL receives no government or public funding. We depend upon the generosity of donors to run our Outreach programme.
Learn more about supporting us.