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Young Writer’s Festival

by on 27 March 2023

Tomorrow, Today

Young Writer’s Festival 2023

Arts Richmond at The Exchange Theatre, Twickenham, 26th March

Review by Heather Moulson

The Young Writer’s Festival, showcasing the best of poetry and prose from the authors of tomorrow never fails to amaze with the quality of the creativity of young minds.  The event is the highpoint of Arts Richmond’s yearly competition to encourage writing by children and teens.  There was an impressive turnout for this annual celebration of young talent, and we were treated to a promising line-up of readers all clad in black, and all with a solid theatrical background, an interesting variety of ages and talent. 

A good strong start, with one of the youngest readers leading us into Our Richmond by Naomi Amber Love, opened the event.  Naomi’s piece was to go on to become a worthy winner.   Kindness is Brilliant by Archie Stacey became an instant personal favourite, simply done and very effective with its use of language, accompanied by animation and mime from the cast of readers.  Ibby by Eden Lovelace had a strong message on autism, and a Chinese Mitten Crab Found in Royal Park by Hannah Patman was clever and humorous, having the audience in stitches. 

We were read some flash fiction, including The Ballet Shoes by Aurelia O’Sullivan with interjections from the cast, and The Bouncy Ball by Daniel Holland was a joy.  More fiction was introduced such as The Magic Crystal by Maisie Meade and Day Dreaming by Guinevere Scott that also became a worthy winner of that category.  What is a line?! by Amber Beharrell stood out with its clever structure.   

Half-Moon Bay by Mahzala Durrani contained strong descriptions and vivid images, and so did Enchantment, a clever observation of one’s sister, written by Oliver Walker.  The very tender piece of fiction Untitled by Maya Naylor was read with great feeling. 

Whitstable Acrostic Poem (my favourite form of poetry) by Jay Bruce-Ball was beautifully written.  The Way of the Water by Jasmine Chohan gave us insight into that powerful element and There Is No Smoke without Fire by Florence Purslow took on another force with its great descriptions.   Masked Strangers by Coral Healy was a very observant piece on human nature and World Cup in Qatar by Cosmo Simpson cleverly brought up the mixed issues raised by this iconic sporting event.   

The Secret of the Lake by Nelly Abell was a nicely laid out piece of fiction and After Dark by Joe Reeman was genuinely chilling.  Twickenham’s iconic sport, Rugby by Archie Johnson summed up the game beautifully and The Pupeteer by Max Murphy took us through a turbulent year of war.   A look at nature with A Deer’s Seasons by Lara Antelo-Miles, and their natural cycles was very well observed.  Goat Escapades focused beautifully on another creature entirely.   The very powerful Dogs of Chernobyl, also by Antelo-Miles was relevant and strongly worded, another well-deserved winner of her category. 

The very profound poem, You Are by Sai Abhinav Matcha became another favourite.   We entered the gates of fiction once again with The Cabin by Olivia Cowley, a highly vivid piece.   Are We Adults or Children? by Ana Flores was a valid piece shared by the readers which worked nicely, giving everyone a voice with this profound point.   The poignant Diary by Kiera Napier had very strong content.   

The vibrant stage backdrop could have been used just that bit more, and sometimes projection fell.  One felt that more animation could have been applied, but that didn’t stop this being an intelligent and strong presentation.   With readers, Joseph Kirwan, Josh Briggs, James Saxby, Astrite Vula, Aoife Kingsland, Emily Hill-Kelly, and Loresa Leka breathing life into these talented words, and slickly directed by Marc Batten (his second year), it was a monumental event for young writers and their talents.

Heather Moulson, March 2023

Photography by Andrea Piacquadio, Yan Krukau and Devon Rockola, on

One Comment
  1. celiabard permalink

    Very much enjoyed reading this overview of Arts Richmond’s annual Young Writers’ Festival.

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