Berwick Literary Festival Schools’ Programme

Our work with local schools has always been a very important aspect of the Festival. Each year we aim to provide a range of projects and events to engage young people and enrich the curriculum.

The early Festivals (2014-16) had an emphasis on book illustration, with local authors Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom, Helen Stephens and Cara Lockhart Smith. Local children were also invited to illustrate favourite poems and enter their creations in our competition.

In 2017 we teamed up with Berwick Visual Arts to run a poetry writing competition. Local schools were invited to visit the Scottish Colourists Exhibition at the Granary Gallery, choose a favourite painting and use it as the inspiration for a poem. The winning poems can be read here. 2017 also saw Stuart Reid, author of the Gorgeous George books, entertain over two hundred children in two Guildhall shows, with his hilarious readings from the books.

In 2018 we embarked on an ambitious programme of workshops for all of the town’s First and Middle Schools, The Grove Special School, Berwick Academy and Longridge Towers. The workshops were led by storytellers Becca Harris and Alice Fearnbank, and illustrator Kate Leiper.

Drama took centre stage in 2019 with the amazing Arty-Fact Theatre Company. Actors Jade and Marcus, and their cast of puppets, gave two spellbinding performances of Oliver Twist to over two hundred First School children in Berwick’s Guildhall. A third brilliant performance took place at The Grove Special School. In addition, Jade and Marcus led Shakespeare workshops at the two Middle Schools and Berwick Academy.

In 2020 our programme was severely restricted due to the COVID outbreak and we also delivered our 2021 programme remotely. Students from Berwick and the Scottish Borders made their own poetry films, which will be available to view on our YouTube channel. (Further details of the 2021 programme can be found here.)

We would like to thank our sponsors and donors, whose generosity makes the Berwick Literary Festival Schools’ Programme possible, and we look forward to continuing our work with local schools and young people in future Festivals.