I was really privileged to be one of the judges, so, over the last few weeks, I've had the chance to read the excellent poems and stories that were written by the young people who entered the competition. Some of the work nearly made me cry, some totally made me laugh. The young writers put so much into their submissions that it made it difficult for me and the other judges to choose.
As a social worker, I've met lots of young people who are looked after or have care experience. One of the things they tell us consistently is that their stories are written down in reports, and decisions are made in meetings, and time and time again they feel that they have hardly any say in those things. I've also heard from young people how much they value the great support and love of those carers, social workers, teachers and others who work with their ears open to make sure that their voices are listened to.
Get Write In! is interested in what young people had to say for themselves and how they were able to put it in writing. It's important. I'm a writer too and I know how hard it can be to bring your thoughts and feelings onto the page. Even harder to send it to a competition to be judged by other people. It's always the same, so it takes a bit of bravery, and belief that if what you have to say matters to you, it might matter to someone else.
I'm not only excited about getting to go the Dynamic Earth for a shindig and a slice of cake. I'm mostly excited about meeting the writers who've been shortlisted. All I know just now is their age, so I can't wait to see who wrote what. Who came up with that gang of cockroaches? Who wrote those rhymes that nearly knocked my socks off? Or toast as a metaphor... or traffic lights as a metaphor... or rhythms that had me bouncing about the room when I read them out loud? I'm looking forward to meeting those imaginative and interesting people. Being a writer can be lonely, so the get together at the launch will be a great chance for all us writers and readers to meet each other and to have some fun celebrating how great the competition has been.
Now all I have to do is dig out my poet's hat and my flouncy shirt and I'm ready.
Charlie Gracie is a poet and writer from Baillieston, Glasgow. He was part of the judging panel for Get Write In!
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