Tag Archives: children

Bardwell O’Neil are Game – Swindon Festival of Poetry

9 Oct

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Bardwell O’Neil are Game turned out to be the perfect format for a seven year old to write poetry. Basically: a running around game, followed by writing down words about it, followed by another running around game, followed by more words, then poetic genius, followed by more running around games followed by more poetic genius. Wears me out just remembering it.

Yes, I’m probably biased because it’s my seven year old writing the genius poetry. But here’s the evidence: he’s had a story blog since he was four, loves to recount tales (and is addicted to Doctor Who and most other things that happen to be on TV), and going without his bedtime story is the ultimate punishment. However, by the time he’s sat down (what seems like the whole day) at school, and has done his homework (still getting my head around homework at his age) he doesn’t want to concentrate on any more writing.

So Sue Bardwell and Heather O’Neil, both with young sons, embarked on this experiment on Sunday (Broadgreen Community Centre at the Swindon Festival of Poetry) to get kids, boys in particular, writing poetry. So – by way of playground games such as Fruit Salad, Chains, Bulldog and What’s the Time Mr Wolf? – they get kids energised, then thinking about words associated with their actions and emotions, then writing them down into verse and stanzas. Continue reading

Salisbury Festival Family Fun Day at Danebury Hill Fort

27 May

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We rocked up to Hampshire’s Danebury Hill Fort, just across the county border, with the lure of an AfroReggae Family Fun Day.

Fun. For kids. An ancient hill fort. Summer sunshine music. Sounded great. Continue reading

Well cool and wicked wildlife

13 May
Hugh Warwick at the Lower Shaw Family Fun Day, a Swindon Festival of Literature event

Hugh Warwick at the Lower Shaw Family Fun Day, a Swindon Festival of Literature event

I wonder if there’s any point during my life at which I’ll stop thinking ‘cooool’ when someone tells me something, well, cool?

Hugh Warwick’s Swindon Festival of Literature talk about his new book, The Beauty in the Beast, is pitched at an aged 10-plus audience, by which I assume the organisers mean 10, and those whose appreciation of what constitutes cool has failed to mature past the level of, say, your average Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Continue reading

From shattered lives to school wars

9 May

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“Jung and Freud would have rewritten their books if they’d been to Peckham,” said Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company and author of Shattered Lives: Children Who Live with Courage and Dignity, speaking at the Swindon Festival of Literature this evening.

I sat within a near capacity crowd, and listened to this lady, dressed in what looked like a flower garden, in total awe. Not just because she’d worked with the most troubled children but because she was smiling; genuinely smiling. Continue reading