Celebration of the Story Seeds Cross Border Project in Belfast!

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Some of the newly published authors at the Story Seeds celebration event in Belfast

Celebrating the Story Seeds Cross Border Project in Belfast!

Students from Newry, Co. Down and Clones, Co. Monaghan joined friends and guests to mark the end of the project - and write together

On Thursday, 29 February 2024, Fighting Words NI opened its doors in the Connswater Shopping Centre in Belfast for a very special event. Together with Fighting Words, the two organisations welcomed wo classes of primary school students, workshop facilitators, volunteer mentors, staff, supporters and friends to celebrate the massive achievements of the Story Seeds Cross Border Project.

The project, which ran from September 2023 to February 2024, worked with over thousands of children and young people - representing thousands of young writers - to produce new stories, plays and much more. Workshops took place with schools, youth groups, scout clubs and more, with stories travelling back and forth across the border to produce works that explore shared communities north and south.

Workshop facilitators working with volunteer writing mentors worked with children and young people in Armagh, Belfast, Donegal, Derry-Londonderry, Louth, and Monaghan. The Story Seeds Cross Border Project, a joint project of Fighting Words and Fighting Words NI, generously supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.


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Students watch "This Story Might Be True" at the celebration event on 29 February 2024

World Premiere - "This Story Might Be True"

One of the highlights of the celebration event featured the premiere of This Story Might Be True, a delightful mash-up of many of the stories from the Primary School and Gothic Tales zines that were published as part of our the project, made by artists and filmmaker Vivienne Byrne.

The stories all use settings local to the groups who wrote them as we take the reader on a fantastical tour of the island of Ireland. It allowed us to bring people who live miles apart onto the same page, personalised the stories in a meaningful way, and added an element of realism to our wonderfully wacky tales. So, with all that taken into consideration, who knows, this story might be true...


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Students voting on the action in "The Battle of the Clocks"

Classes Working Together to Continue a Story

Two classes of primary school students attended the celebration event, P6 from St. Joseph's Convent Primary School in Newry, Co. Down and 6th class from St. Tiarnach's Primary School in Clones, Co. Monaghan. The two schools had both contributed chapters to the story "The Battle of the Clocks," which was published in Story Seeds: Adventures Across the Border, which was also launched at the celebration event.

The two classes worked together with Story Seeds Coordinators Molly Martin of Fighting Words NI and Colm Quearney from Fighting Words to bring the story of battling clocks together in Belfast, voting on new characters and locations and working out the plot together. The room was buzzing with creativity and excitement as writing mentor Clare typed up the story on the big screen.

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Volunteer writing mentor Clare typing up the story on the big screen
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Molly Martin of Fighting Words NI (left) and Colm Quearney of Fighting Words (right) work with the students on the story

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Students from St. Joseph's Covent Primary School with their books

Published Authors Receive Their Books

After writing the story, it was time for all the young authors to receive copies of Story Seeds: Adventures Across the Border.

This incredible and amazing collection of stories written by classes from schools across six border counties in Ireland and Northern Ireland, set in and around the schools and communities of the students.

Running at over 88 pages, this zine is packed with adventure!

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6th class students from St. Tiarnach's Primary School in Clones with their books
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Students from P6 at St Joseph's Primary School with their new books

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Hilary Copeland, Colm Ó Cuanacháin and Kate Delaney

Congratulations to the Young Authors

After receiving their books, the students' achievements were recognised by the Executive Director of Fighting Words NI Hilary Copeland, Executive Director of Fighting Words Colm Ó Cuanacháin as well as by Kate Delaney of Creative Ireland, the funder of the Story Seeds Cross Border Project.

All three acknowledged the creativity of the students and encouraged them to keep writing and the value of working together to create a shared future in a shared community.

Many thanks to Joe from Joe Laverty Photography for capturing this very special event!


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Hilary Copeland and Colm Ó Cuanacháin with both Story Seeds zines

Also Launched: Story Seeds Gothic Tales: Stories of the Mysterious & Macabre - and the latest edition of the Fighting Words Podcast: Story Seeds Edition!

Another exciting feature of the celebration event was the publication of the zine featuring a collection of wonderfully spooky stories and illustrations created by young people from over 120 schools and community groups.

Both zines are available on the websites of both Fighting Words and Fighting Words NI and hard copies available to every participant.

Also available are two new episodes of The Fighting Words Podcast, featuring stories and interviews with participants from across the project. You can link to the podcast on our Publications page or find it wherever you get your podcasts!

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