Author’s words of praise for Priestley students

Kevin with the Priestley students.
Kevin with the Priestley students.

AN award-winning author who spent a week with wordsmiths from Priestley College said they had given him hope for the future.Kevin MacNeil, whose debut The Stornoway Way was a critical and commercial success, praised their talent and attitude.

“I have never seen such a group of students of 16, 17 and 18 years conduct themselves with such maturity; each and every one of them gives me hope for the future,” he said.

“They displayed all the qualities one would consider desirable in a writer: intelligence, inclusiveness, wit, creativity, curiosity and a shining, humane empathy.”

Kevin, who has won prizes for his prose and poetry, spent a week with 15 Priestley students at Scotland’s creative writing centre Moniack Mhor.

Set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands it is the perfect venue for young minds to think creatively and develop their writing skills.

They worked with Kevin, novelist Laura Marney along with Priestley tutors Anne White and Chris Atherton to produce poems, stories, dramatic pieces and prose.

Former Birchwood High pupil Charlotte Heyes, who studies English Literature, Law, Psychology and Sociology, said her poetry writing skills had improved during the week.

“Before I wasn’t confident writing poetry, but now I can write whenever I feel like I want to because I have a structure to fall back on,” she said.

“It also helps develop your personality because you are there with people you didn’t know that well, but by the end you become a small family.”

Since 1993 more than 3,000 students – aged between 16 and 91 – have travelled from across Europe and America to take part in courses at Moniack Mhor.

Former Lysander School pupil Lydia Lochhead, who studies English Literature, Law and Psychology at Priestley, said the seclusion helped all the students to become even more creative.

“It was easier to find inspiration because there were so few distractions,” she said.

“It really encouraged me to want to share and talk about my work, which wasn’t something I was comfortable doing at the start.”

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