Bookbench is the perfect spot for creative writing workshop

Children from St John’s Primary School in Keele have experienced a day of creative writing with Stephen Seabridge, Poet Laureate for Stoke-on-Trent and teacher of creative writing at Keele University.

The children drew inspiration from the Keele Bookbench, which was funded by the Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE) and was on display at Keele as part of the National Literacy Trust Bookbench trail, which launched in April. Following the creative writing workshop, the Bookbench has now moved to its permanent home at St John’s School.

The children, aged between 9-11, took part in a variety of activities, including storyboards, character portraits, collaborative writing in groups, and poetry inspired by the Bookbench.

Stephen Seabridge, who is a PhD candidate and creative writing teacher at Keele, was named the city of Stoke-on-Trent’s first Poet Laureate in 2018.

Stephen commented:

“These workshops are brilliant for the students to experience new ways of thinking about narrative and communication. In the workshop the students could respond in any way they wished, verbally, visually, in written forms, whatever they were up to. The bookbench initiative and the workshops that emerged from it are so important so that the students can feel liberated in their communications and in what they produce.”

Kerry Jones, from Keele’s Arts and Public Engagement team, added:

“We were so pleased to have the book bench at Keele University and wanted to give the children a chance to engage with Creative Writing through participating in a hands-on session on campus. It was wonderful to see the diverse and brilliant work they created with Stephen, and we hope that they enjoyed themselves whilst learning some new skills.”

Bookbench poem

Drawing of unicorn poem

Bookbench drawing of storyboard