Project Type:
Artist in the Community, Youth Engagement

Phase 1: Sept–Nov 2018, Phase 2: Feb-Dec 2020

Participant Group:
Young people from Letterkenny and Strathfoyle (aged 12–15)

Mary Branley

Donegal County Library Service; Libraries NI

Reconciliation Fund (Department of Foreign Affairs

Young Writers

In our contemporary society, the realities and lived experiences of young people often go unnoticed or are misrepresented within our mainstream culture.

This project offers a developmental framework for two groups of young people from Derry and Donegal to develop authentic and meaningful stories and youth narratives through poetry, prose and spoken word. Through a series of workshops with writer Mary Branley, young people are encouraged to develop their individual voices in response to their cultural landscape and as a reflection of their own ideas and interests.

Participants at the Launch Event | Young Writers Project | Kids Own Publishing Partnership
Participant during a workshop at Strathfoyle Library with writer Mary Branley

As part of the first phase of the project in 2018, Kids’ Own published a broadsheet containing a selection of the young people’s work, which draws on strong social concerns as well as imagined narratives that sometimes delve into science fiction or futuristic possibilities.

This phase culminated in a special performance and launch event in November 2018, at which both groups of young people came together to share their work with a public audience.

Read more about the 2018 launch event.

Read the Young Writers Broadsheet 2018 publication.

Pen drawings of online Zoom meetup with kids Own Publishing
Young Writers Group - Kids Own Publishing
Young Writers meet up - Kids Own Publishing project
Young Writers group - Kids Own Publishing

The second phase of the project started in February 2020, with a new group of Young Writers from the area of Letterkenny and Derry/Londonderry, recruited with the help of our partner Derry Central Library/Libraries NI

The groups met separately in Derry Central Library and Letterkenny Library, but have connected with each other via recorded messages through mentor Mary Branley using our Young Writers online forum. One of the highlights so far was when our young writers group in Letterkenny took part in a online transatlantic workshop with Young Chicago Authors in summer 2020. Here is a video made by Donegal Youth Service which documents that workshop.

Our writer Mary Branley continues to work with the writers as a group and on an individual basis. The group will have their work published in a new literary journal, which will be out in late 2020.