Fighting Words runs free creative writing and storytelling workshops for people of all ages, to enhance creative writing skills and build their confidence in writing ability and self-expression
In spite of our global reputation for producing great writers, creative writing and arts are often not encouraged or valued within our education system, particularly at second level. With an education system that is highly focused on exams, the creative arts can often be seen as a luxury. Students’ capacity for independent, creative and critical thinking is not properly nurtured in preparation for university, employment and life.
Fighting Words is a creative writing centre that is the brainchild of Seán Love, former director of Amnesty Ireland, and writer Roddy Doyle. Staffed mainly by volunteers, it runs free creative writing and storytelling workshops for students of all ages to enhance creative writing skills and build their confidence in writing ability and self-expression. Fighting Words works with primary school children in the mornings, second level students in the afternoons and third level students and adults in the evenings. They also host sessions with children and adults with special needs, ranging from mental health issues to visual impairment to social marginalisation.
The Fighting Words centre in Dublin has been such a success that it is constantly booked out a year in advance. To meet the huge demand for additional services, Fighting Words is examining models to replicate the current service, but also to work within the Irish education system to inspire the thinking and practice behind the teaching of creative arts.
Fighting Words is a place where the freedom to be creative leads directly to greater self-esteem, self-confidence, empowerment and independence of mind. In just over two years, using over 400 volunteers, the centre has hosted more than 26,000 students of all ages in workshops in fiction writing, film-making, song writing and graphic novels. Three anthologies of short stories have been published and many other film-making, playwriting and other projects have been realised.
What I loved is that we got freedom. Freedom of the word. I didn’t realise the strength of a teenager’s word until I read our book in full. We could really write about everything our heart desired - our dreams, hopes, even fears. It really takes over your heart.
Children arrive at Fighting Words
Filmscript writing for teenagers
Larkin College TY with Glen Hansard