Fighting Words: Issue six – going from strength to strength
Introducing this year’s new writing by children and young adults from The Irish Times
Young writers who have created stories and poetry for Fighting Words. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Young writers who have created stories and poetry for Fighting Words. Back row (from left): Brooke Bolton, Zeph Phillips, Luke Shanahan, Bikem Pastine, Robyn Gill, Verity Limond, Mark Sheridan, Matthew McQuade, Tadgh Ó Ciardha, Jay Kehoe-Hanlon. Front row: Aimee Barron, Aoife Lyster, Aoife Nolan, Michaela Kindlon, Amara Ezisi, Jessica Fitzsimons Kane, Róisín Finnegan and Cormac Kelly. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Given our name, you might think that describing what we do is easy – and in one sense it is – we nurture creativity. But, in another sense, it is very hard to capture in words the essence of what happens here. You almost have to experience it.
Fighting Words is a path to freedom, a resource, a nest, a friend, a challenger, an oasis, a hothouse, a story contraption, a publisher – a magic door to revelation. Every year this amazing space convenes thousands of pop-up gatherings of creative writers. Every year it spawns thousands of ideas that become thousands of stories. And every year thousands of stories transform thousands of young lives.
Story is fundamental to all our lives. It is through story that we understand and value our differences and also our common cause. Story defines us as individuals, as communities, as a nation. Stories help us understand and negotiate our relationships and how we make sense of the world. Stories help us form our values. That’s why writing a story can be a transformational act. It signals the empowering moment when a young person begins to seize their right to a meaningful, cultural life.
Fighting Words is just over seven years in existence, and there are Fighting Words outlets now also open at Skainos in east Belfast and at the Museum of County Life in Castlebar. We are delighted and very proud to include stories from these other centres in this collection. Some 70,000 students from all around the country have participated in free creative writing workshops and programmes since we opened in January 2009.
We continue to be constantly booked out months in advance and vastly oversubscribed. We are not State funded. A small number of private individuals and organisations fund our work. We have more than 500 volunteer tutors, and they are the lifeblood of Fighting Words. We also receive tremendous support through pro bono creative collaborations with many of Ireland’s finest arts and media organisations. Our single purpose is to provide the opportunity for as many children as we can reach to engage with creative writing.
If you’d like to help fund our work or simply to find out more about Fighting Words, the contact details are below.
As always, we are immensely grateful to The Irish Times, and to Orna Mulcahy in particular, for providing such a prestigious platform for some of Ireland’s young writers.
Seán Love & Roddy Doyle,
Co-Founders The Fighting Words editorial committee who selected the stories for this publication: Laura Cassidy, Roddy Doyle, Catherine Dunne, Joanne Hayden, Hugh Linehan, Morgan O’Reilly, Helen Seymour. Education Co-ordinator: Jean Hanney FIGHTING WORDS DUBLIN Behan Square, Russell St, Dublin 1 fightingwords.ie
FIGHTING WORDS BELFAST Young at Art, Cotton Court, 30-42 Waring Street, Belfast, BT1 2ED youngatart.co.uk/projects/fighting-words-belfast