During a recent trip to south Wales we took a teenage relative to a creative writing course at the fantastic Dylan Thomas Centre, in Swansea.
The course was run by the imaginative and inspiring Emily Hinshelwood and was specifically geared towards 11-16 year olds.
The session used Dylan Thomas’ Holiday Memory as its inspiration.
Those taking part were encouraged to draw on their own holiday memories to get their creative juices flowing.
Tips, advice, chat and discussion were all part of this short two hour workshop that really did excite those taking part.
Emily had that uncanny knack of involving everyone there, making them all feel part of the overall experience, as well as giving them individual support and advice.
It’s just a shame that so many of the English lessons these children sit through at school aren’t as inspiring.
Then again, this session was a one-off. It’s much harder to bring such creativity and dynamism to the classroom; day in, day out.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that those taking part were there by choice. Inspiring reluctant or disinterested writers would be altogether more of a challenge.
The session was also taking place in a pretty special place. The Dylan Thomas Centre really is worth a visit in its own right.
It’s not that big, and only takes half an hour to tour around. But you do learn about what made the man such a wonderful writer and why his cultural influence in Wales, the UK and across the world remains so great today.
The centre also hosts a remarkably good Spanish café. Of course, trying out a few tapas is not essential, but it made our trip to the Centre all the more pleasurable!