Odd Voice Out
We all have to start somewhere. For ‘Out Voice Out’, our new YA fiction press, hosting our very first event at the Chester Art Festival offered a warm welcome onto the local creative scene. This six day smorgasbord of free performances and workshops took place against the inviting blank canvas of St Michael’s Church, the former heritage centre now a bare white space ready to be coloured with imagination.
My partner K.C. Finn and I came to the festival with separate experiences in teaching creative writing but this was our first workshop delivered together, under our ‘Odd Voice Out’ banner, with finding unique voices at the heart of the afternoon’s lesson. And we certainly found plenty of striking new voices among our participating writers. Filling every seat at our tables were a mixture of adults wanting to write stories for teens and teenagers wanting to tell stories of their own. Stories that weren’t afraid to stand out.
Our workshop aims to catch writers in the early stages of their projects, when their worlds and characters are just starting to take shape. Between brainstorming, descriptive exercises and devising character drama, we saw our writers stepping out of themselves and giving voice to their distinctive fictional creations, at first with shyness and then steadily building confidence. Our participants left St Michael’s full of inspiration and with full pages of notes, hopefully at the beginning of new writing journeys. We all have to start somewhere and Chester Arts Centre provided an excellent springboard.