01 Sep 2021

The IACF Young Writers’ Exchange Week 1

A post by Sam Parker

This week has seen the return of our Young Writers’ Exchange in partnership with the International Agatha Christie Festival. We have been lucky enough to be based at Torre Abbey, a building steeped in history with countless inspiring spaces where the young writers can hole up and create stories in private. This year, we are drawing from Quicksilver by Sam Hepburn, a novel that follows a group of young people from different backgrounds brought together by a prophecy.


Day 1 started with a fascinating tour of the Abbey with Lucinda. We then played some games to get the group more familiar with each other, and talked through the themes and questions we planned to unpack over the course of the exchange. This included:

-What lies beneath your home?

-If Torbay had a prophecy, what would it be?

-How are our destinies informed by the places we live in?



Writers were given their notebooks, and invited to begin their own stories; we have some young people writing fiction, some using pictures and storyboards, and others using music and song.

On Day 2, we drew maps of our home, similar to the one in the opening pages of Quicksilver. The group created three in fact; a map of Torbay in the past, in the present, and in the future. We set aside more time to continue working on our stories, and shared them back with each other at the end – sharing work can be a tricky thing if someone has never done it before, but thanks to the bravery of our first-time writers and the supportive nature of the group, every member of the group has felt able to share some of what they have been working on.



The third of our story-creation days featured a couple of brilliant exercises from our facilitators Vicki and Hollie; the group were asked to imagine what Torbay would look like if it was a person, and we also co-created a poem using the everyone’s individual responses to the prompt ‘What does Torbay mean to me?’

Next week we will be coming together for a session to explore the best way to share all these stories back with an audience, before the sharing day itself on Friday 27th in the Spanish Barn where we will be joined by Bristol-based Acta and their group of young carers. We can’t wait!





→ Read Part 2 of this post here