Writing Matters - child writers in the ecologies of childhood

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If children are cast for the future as “both vulnerable to environmental destruction and powerful agents of environmental change”, then children - regardless of the perspective - need the ability and the power to express their feelings, thoughts, opinions and wishes for the future. In my PhD project, I explore children as creative writers. In extensive ethnographic field work I study children who spend their free time writing in so-called “author schools for children” in Denmark. Here, the children write their own stories and poems, and professional authors teach them about writing, building plots and characters, playing with language, etc. I draw from rhetoric and writing research a fundamental understanding that being able to express yourself in writing is essential – not just for success in school and education but also beyond (Fleming, 2016; Cremin & Myhill, 2012). According to Deborah Brandt, “[W]riting has never attained the same formative and morally wholesome status as reading.” (Brandt, 2015 p. 89). Yet, writing is a powerful tool for children and young people to let their voices be heard (Wesseling, 2019). My focus is the children’s perspectives (Spyrou, 2018; Gubar, 2015) on participating in the Danish author schools: what it means for them to write and be writers. I share from my observations and conversations with these children and the significance of community, agency and imagination that they express. I will also address the importance of writing as craft in the ecology of childhood - across the domains of school and leisure activities.

Keywords: Children’s fiction writing, author schools, agency, ethnography, ecology of school and leisure in children’s lives
Original languageEnglish
Publication date14 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2023

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