About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

WEEK 39--Co-Founding a Literary Scheme

This year's dazzling Lichfield Literature Festival included the launch of the Samuel Johnson Young Writers' Scheme.

To be honest, this was all I ever dreamed that co-founding something would be.  Basically, I sat in a room with some very clever motivated people and said, 'Oh, wouldn't it be great if we could set up something for Lichfield teenagers, to encourage them to write?'  I tossed out a few suggestions, and these wonderful people went ahead and organised it.  

I remind myself every so often that there really are folk out there who enjoy organising things, just as there are people who like columns of figures and having conversations with HMRC.  Accountants, we call them.  To me they are like extreme sport enthusiasts.  I don't begin to understand what makes them tick, but hats off to them.

The culmination of their organisational efforts was a week-end of creative writing for a dozen AS and A-level students.  We were hosted by the wonderful Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, http://www.samueljohnsonbirthplace.org.uk/ and were lucky enough to hold our workshops in the very room where Johnson was born (here in the picture--visit them, you'll love it).  A statue of the great man was visible through the window in Lichfield's market place.  How could we not be inspired?  A poet could not but be witty in such a jocund company! (as Johnson never wrote).  On the Saturday it was fiction (led by me); on the Sunday it was poetry, taught by poet Neil Rollinson. http://www.neilrollinson.com/  

Having taught with Neil before, I know that teenagers are inclined to think that poetry is a lot cooler than prose.  Which secretly means they think Neil Rollinson is cooler than Catherine Fox.  So I bought the students jelly babies, to make them like me more.  

The tutors certainly had a good time, and I think the Johnson Scholars (as we've decided to call them) enjoyed the week end too.  Some very promising work was produced, and we're hoping to continue building on this beginning.  Check out the website to find out the official side of this new venture:  


  1. What a brilliant blog idea--one new thing a week. Keep up it, Catherine. December is in sight!

  2. I seem to be a couple of weeks behind. May have to do some quantitative easing.

  3. This sounds very exciting!

  4. Wish there had been something like this around when I was 17. But possibly as well the world was spared my juvenilia.