“The first Your Life Your Story writing event took place during Care Leavers Week October 2017, it was attended by 14 care-experienced adults with an age range from 18-59. Pens were poised, stories told, tears and laughter shared, and songs were written but above all, it was the sense of acceptance and belonging that emerged through relationships that lived on after the event that nurtured the will for the event to live on and grow. Your Life Your Story is now a three-day literary festival bringing care experienced adults and caregivers together with published authors, poets and artists to find their voice through the techniques of story-telling. Whether writing for cathartic reasons, for the record or to become published Your Life Your Story is a living learning experience that unleashes the power of relationships and the untold story. As we gathered for Your Life Year Story 2018 the sight of old faces felt reassuringly comforting, like a family reunion anticipating the arrival of new relatives, a new chapter to be written for the next generation.” Amanda Knowles, Organiser of Your Life Your Story.
Early in 2018 with support from care experienced adult and doctoral researcher Rosie Canning, generous donations from Lisa Cherry, Future Horizons, Amberleigh Care and Cherry Cottage planning for Your Life Your Story 2018 began in earnest.
The first Your Life Your Story inspired book Oi You F*cker was published shortly after the event https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1912183730 it tells the story of Snowball a child of the state.
“Inspired by ‘Your Life Your Story’ it will be of one of the most emotional journeys you will ever take with a child who survives unbelievable childhood adversity. At times it is almost too painful to witness, it truly is a tribute to the child and the man who wrote it.” Amanda Knowles
This year we felt that YLYS had transmogrified into itself. We had amazing workshops from amazing creatives:
Louise Walwein, Care Experienced Poet ran a fabulous poetry workshop.
Una, Graphic Novelist set us up to draw our stories and create some zines.
Clare Fisher, author of All the Good Things spoke creating convincing characters and how she wrote about the care experienced character in her novel.
Dr Josie Pearse, Care Experienced Writer, questioned whose story was it anyway and invited us to create an environment and invite those who help us with our writing.
“As a workshop leader for YLYS, I was so moved by the open hearted sharing of stories that I feared I wouldn’t be able to keep a clear head. But I learned that when my heart is engage, my head works fine thank you! I had a feeling of real inclusion within the group.” – Dr Josie Pearse
And not forgetting the lovely Kit de Waal, who donated copies of My Name is Leon.
It’s not just that the YLYS event teaches creative writing skills, it is much more than that.