Coronavirus update

Sadly, our most recent projects are now on hold but we are staying in touch with our schools and expect to continue our work in the next school year, all things being equal.

In the meantime, to inspire our young Forest writers please go to our Resilience Anthology page for details of this exciting opportunity for young people and their families. Note this closes at the end of July, although if this is an issue contact us and we can work something out.

There's also some great creative writing exercises to be found here on the National Writing Day 2020 site. To do at home! For primary and secondary students too.

Keep writing!


Such excitement!

On Fri 10 July, Lydbrook Primary School had a visit from HRH the Princess Royal who was there to see all the great work the school has done in teaching students about their Forest home - from newts to literature! One student read a piece from the anthology Dean Scribblers produced with Hawks Class, and HRH was given a copy as a gift to read at her leisure. We were there to help them celebrate!

This is our favourite photo, and there are several others here.

More great news!

Teacher Howard Eason from Heart of the Forest School forwarded us an email recently with the fantastic news that the school's entry 'Wild About Wildlife’ was Highly Commended in the Totally Creative category for schools in Wales and western England in the Better Energy School Awards 2020. With 28,750 entries this is no mean achievement. The students have won £100 for the school. Dean Scribblers is thrilled to have been a part of the students' exploration of wildlife here in the Forest of Dean and we add our own hearty congratulations to Howard and his students.

We have also learned that three of the students won prizes for their work in the local Mitcheldean Poets and Young Storytellers competition.

In the Young Poets Competition Demus Barton won 2nd prize in the 12 and over age group for his poem ‘Pipistrelle’ and Jadelynn Ansom was commended for her poem ‘Long-eared bat’. And in the Young Storytellers Competition Shakira Stevens won 3rd Prize for her story ‘The Naughty Bat’.  These and stories and poems written by the class are being published in an anthology to give to each student as a memento of the work they did with us, foreshortened as it was.

Well done to everyone!

Ellwood Primary School 2020

In autumn 2019, glass artist Sharon Foley visited the students to talk to them about the phone box in their village as part of an arts installation project sponsored by West Dean Council. We had planned that, over spring and summer, Dean Scribblers and Sharon would work with year 5/6 to help them learn about the history of phone communications, how phone boxes were used in the community and then to write their own stories and poems about phone boxes. We managed to hold a wonderful half-day workshop, including role playing with old phones. We were lucky enough to have a former resident and active user of the phone box for the children to talk with as well as the lady who cleaned the phone box for many years!  Sadly, however, the written work and publication of an anthology came to a halt with the Covid 19 lockdown, as did the art installation project.

BUT we are delighted that West Dean Parish Council has granted us money to fund the anthology at the time we can finish this work. We're looking forward to achieving that and working with the school again.

Heart of the Forest Community Special School 2020

Dean Scribblers is working with senior students here during March 2020, on a project which will focus on the natural world. We have lined up four Forest wildlife experts to talk to the students over a period of four-five weeks. We will have bats with Forest bat expert Dave Priddis, grazing animals with Rosie Kelsall of GWT, raptors and other birds with Helen Mugridge, and amphibians and reptiles with David Dewsbury. All have been working with the Foresters Forest Heritage Lottery Funded Program. After each session, Dean Writers Circle member Jean Cooper Moran is leading the students in a workshop to think about and write down, or draw, what has inspired them about the session, ready to turn into stories and/or artwork which we will then publish. We hope to have a display of the students' work in late spring/early summer.

Update: The project was sadly curtailed at the end of March but as the students produced some excellent work after our birds and bats sessions, we decided to go ahead and produce an anthology given many would be leaving the school this year.
Here is the cover, designed by one of the students, Lucy Page, and an inside page with one of the Mitcheldean competition winning poems.

A farewell event in January 2021 is proposed and Dean Scribblers hopes to do an exhibition of the students' work and photographs from the sessions as a way of celebrating the project - and hopefully we will be able to pick it up again for the remaining and new students in 2021. Fingers crossed.

Our thanks to Royal Forest of Dean Rotary and the High Sheriff's Fund, part of the Gloucestershire Community Foundation, for funding the anthology. (See Our Sponsors)

Lydbrook Primary School 2019/2020

'Hawks' years 5/6 are studying both WW1 and WW2. One of our volunteers, Forest-born author Sarah Franklin, visited the school in November 2019 to talk about her book Shelter, set in the Forest in WW2, and how the Forest has inspired her writing. The students plotted and drafted a class story as the precursor to developing their own stories for an anthology about Lydbrook and war. And illustrations too.

Special thanks to Lydbrook Parish Council for their sponsorship.

The anthology, Lest We Forget, was presented to the children on World Book Day, 6 March 2020, which was very exciting. They also had the chance to talk to Jo Durrant on BBC Radio Gloucestershire about their experience with the project.

We also had an excellent write up in the local press.

St John's C of E, Coleford 2019

Year 6 are studying WW1 and we are working with them on a poetry anthology on that theme, which will feature the students' poppy illustrations. One of our volunteers, Val Ormrod, led the class in a poetry workshop at which first drafts were completed.  Poet Stewart Carswell has chosen three of the poems to be awarded prizes. The winners were announced on 13 December when Nick Penny, Mayor of Coleford, presented the students with their copies of the book of poems. Stewart commented on the depth and quality of all the poems. Congratulations to Jo, Chelsea and Ellis for first, second and highly recommended respectively.

We are grateful to Clearwell Caves and to Nick Penny Event Services for providing the prizes for St John's winners.

Special thanks also to Coleford Town Council who sponsored the anthology of the students' poems.

 

Yorkley Newsletter Competition 2018/2019

Sponsored by The Yorkley Newsletter, this competition was open to all young people living in the area. Yorkley has been home to important writers such as FW Harvey, Richard Morse and Ivon Adams so we were pleased to receive over 50 entries with strong support from Yorkley and Pillowell schools as well as home-taught young people. All participants received a certificate from the then High Sheriff of the County of Gloucestershire, Charles Martell, as well as a copy of the anthology of all entries, which was illustrated by local artist Bec Rydeard.

See what the schools had to say here.

Yorkley Newsletter is holding another competition. Local schools have again participated and Sarah Franklin and Val Ormrod will let us know the results in February 2020.

Forest High, Cinderford 2019

We were delighted to announce the winners of the Year 8 Forest High School competition at an event at St Stephen's Church, Cinderford, on 14 September 2019, with prizes courtesy of the Chepstow Bookshop and Dean Writers Circle. Here's a link to the local press coverage.

All the entries were poems, on the theme of the Forest and Cinderford. During the week beforehand, judge and performance poet Ben Ray visited Year 8 to workshop a session on performing their poems. An exuberant and noisy hour!

See the winning poems here.

Sponsors

While Dean Scribblers' organisers and volunteers give their time and skills freely, funds are needed to cover actual printing costs of anthologies. Sponsors are acknowledged on this site and in the particular anthology/ies their support makes possible. If you would like to help us keep our Forest literary heritage alive, please get in touch via our contacts page.

In addition to the project-specific sponsors acknowledged here, we are also pleased to have general sponsors as shown here, with our thanks