Cork youths interview well known authors via zoom with the help of Graffiti Theatre Company

Cork youths interview well known authors via zoom with the help of Graffiti Theatre Company
ReadOn, in conjunction with Graffiti Theatre Company were designed to provide the young people with the vocabulary, structure and approach to expressing their opinions about a piece of writing. They were also taught how to conduct an interview.

BUDDING young writers and readers in Cork have kept busy whilst in lockdown interviewing some well-known authors via Zoom.

In conjunction with ReadOn, a European project which aims to ignite a passion for reading amongst young people, Graffiti Theatre Company based in Blackpool presented a series of workshops aimed at developing critical and presentation skills. 

Three online training sessions were led by Julie O’Leary of Graffiti Theatre Company and Cork author, Cethan Leahy. The workshops were also designed to provide the young people with the vocabulary, structure and approach to expressing their opinions about a piece of writing. 

They were also taught how to conduct an interview.

Participants were offered a choice of three books by writers who were due to appear at this summer’s West Cork Literary Festival. 

They selected a book, read it, and discussed it with the group and tutors over a couple of sessions.

The young people were then set to interview these authors at the West Cork Literary Festival but with the Festival cancelled as a result of Covid-19, the authors and young interviewers took to Zoom to conduct the conversations virtually. 

The texts which were used were Juno Dawson’s Meat Market, Deirdre Sullivan’s Perfectly Preventable Deaths and Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain.

Speaking about her experience of being interviewed by the young people, author Deirdre Sullivan said she was highly impressed by their insight.

"I am consistently blown away by the engagement and insight of the young people I work with, as a creative writing facilitator, and to see them being given the space and freedom to publicly engage with a literature that is theirs was a powerful and beautiful thing," she said.

"They did a fantastic job, and I was reminded why I write for the audience I do and energised to get to work on the sequel to Perfectly Preventable Deaths!"

Participant Ellie O'Connell said she benefitted immensely from the experience.

"I participated in the [ReadOn events] in 2019 and 2020 and am so glad I did!

"I read some brilliant books, had great craic with old and new friends, and finally, had the class opportunity to interview an author at the end of it," she said.

"I learned so much about analysing literature and interviewing skills too - overall it was such a worthwhile, rewarding, experience."

The video of the first of the three workshops is available to view on West Cork Music’s YouTube channel now.

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