By Anaya Garr
The English department offered students in Years 10 and 11 a wonderful opportunity when they invited John Saddler into school to discuss creative writing, aiding us in the development of our own writing and in finding out about he world of publishing. John has worked for some of the leading publishing houses and now teaches creative writing at the University of West London, whilst also acting as a literary agent. He had very interesting ideas and the encouraging attitude and enthusiasm he brought to the sessions gave us a lot of confidence and inspiration.
We had five sessions with John, in which he focused on poetry, flash fiction, short stories and publishing. I particularly enjoyed the sessions discussing poetry and publishing. I think I enjoyed the poetry session the most because of the specific poems that John chose for us to read; I thought they were powerful and relevant to the modern world. For example, one poem was about the destruction of nature and how humans are destroying the planet, which I thought was extremely powerful, especially considering the fact that we looked at it right after the incident of the cutting down of the Sycamore Gap tree on Hadiain’s Wall. We had a very interesting discussion about this after we read it; exploring the language and techniques used by the poet gave it a different dynamic as we got to see the details that go into creating a piece, and how the placement or repetition of just a few words makes so much difference to the impact on the reader.
The session on publishing was very useful to those of us interested in pursuing a career in that industry as he gave lots of tips and advice on how to get started. Having worked with a number of high profile authors, John knows exactly what makes a good piece of writing and what would appeal to specific target audiences.
Overall, I found the sessions very useful and engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I think the advice I was given will benefit my creative writing enormously and will help improve my writing skills in general. I am very grateful to have been invited to attend these workshops.