Writing the Pandemic: Manchester's young voices

In collaboration with the Centre for New Writing, Creative Manchester invited students at Manchester high schools and colleges to send in their written responses to life in lockdown, for the chance to win prizes.

From 22 May 2020 to 26 June 2020

Partners: Centre for New Writing

On 22 May 2020 – two months into the national lockdown – we launched Writing the Pandemic, an initiative that encouraged young writers to reflect on a remarkable moment in history via the written word.

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Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

From letters to poems, short stories to reports, students at Manchester high schools and colleges were encouraged to select whichever literary form best suited their own reflections. By 26 June, an amazing 200 pupils and students from 26 schools and colleges submitted work.

The submissions were wonderfully creative, and showcased the unique power of the written word to capture and process the world around us. It was also clear that for many of the entrants, writing for the initiative had offered a means of catharsis during lockdown life.

The young people's writing was judged by a panel of professional writers, led by Professor of Poetry and Director of the Centre for New Writing, John McAuliffe. The panel had the unenviable task of whittling down the 200 entries to just 15 winners, whose work shone particularly brightly.

The winners were awarded prizes including book vouchers and online mentorship sessions with acclaimed writers. They also earned themselves a place in leading international arts journal, The Manchester Review, where their work is available for all to read.

You can find out more about Writing the Pandemic via the University news pages, where the 15 winners are listed.