Since the start of 2018, Huntly Writers have run five workshops in creative writing for children. These events are led by established authors and are usually backed by the Scottish Book Trust and its Live Literature Fund. We have also gained funding from Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ initiative in a specific attempt to help participants to print and publish their work.

The target age group is from 9 to 13 years and we invite children from Aberdeenshire, Moray and Aberdeen to participate. Katie Fairweather, and other Huntly librarians, have played a vital part by publicising the workshops among schools; and by letting us use the Brander Library, which is a welcoming and beautiful venue.

We were lucky to start the series off with the fantasy writer Lari Don. The next event was led by local author Charlie Ashton (‘Dragonfire’) and his daughter Gudrun. Later, we had visits from performance poet Jon Plunkett and from Alex McCall (‘Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens’). Our latest event, just before the pandemic, was a Scots poetry workshop with Stuart A. Paterson.

When meetings in person become possible again, we hope to resume our workshop series. We would like to see the children establish their own, independent writing group. Meantime we feel that the workshops will boost the participants’ confidence as writers, furnish insight, and provide a local and accessible outlet for creatively minded young people.