Sussex student joins her pupils in creative writing success

A primary school teacher and University of Sussex student was shortlisted in a creative writing competition in which two of her young pupils also achieved success.

While studying for an MA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University, Amelia Roberts worked part-time as a literacy support worker at Bevendean Primary School.

Amelia, who graduates on Friday (22 January), introduced creative writing to her year twos and year sixes as a way of livening up basic literacy lessons.

Two of those pupils made Amelia proud when they went on to achieve success in the Wicked Young Writers Award competition last year.

Toby Bailey and Millie Broadrib were shortlisted in the eight to ten-year-old category of the competition, while Amelia also entered and made the shortlist in the 18 to 25-year-old category.

Amelia said: “I thought the competition would be a fun way to get the children writing, and at the last minute decided to enter myself.

“Hearing that the children had won was fantastic. I called up the school and they put me on speakerphone so I could tell the whole class.

“It was really great to hear Toby and Millie so excited, and their classmates so excited for them.”

Amelia explained how she used what she’d learnt about creative writing at Sussex to make her primary school lessons more engaging.

“Having the experience of revising my own writing had taught me both what kind of feedback from others is particularly valuable, and how to help my students develop their writing,” she said.

“I also structured the classes themselves much more like a seminar than a primary school lesson, with us all sitting round a table together sharing ideas, instead of me standing at the front delivering a lesson.”

Amelia has also been working on a novel while at the University, and was shortlisted for the Myriad First Drafts Competition after sending in a draft last year.

As a finalist she attended an awards ceremony in Waterstones in Brighton, where she read out an excerpt from her book provisionally titled ‘Feint of Heart’.

After studying for her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Sussex, Amelia is looking forward to starting a PhD at the University later this year, which will focus on the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. 

By: James Hakner
Last updated: Monday, 18 January 2016