Sunday, 10 September 2017

Reflections on Becoming an Author by Jess Butterworth

When I was ten years old, my primary school asked if I wanted to attend a creative writing workshop with Philip Pullman at Bath Spa University. I, of course, said yes. I loved writing, Philip Pullman, and the prospect of leaving school for the day.

I remember the workshop was held in the castle on campus. We created all sorts of imaginary worlds before Philip Pullman revealed his own writing process. One of the things he mentioned was how he would always have a piece of string handy when he wrote; it helped him to concentrate and think.

It was my first realisation that being a writer was a real job and, in that moment, my ten-year-old self decided that all I wanted was to do was sit in a 14th century castle with a ball of string and make up stories.


Eight years later, I returned to Bath Spa University for my undergraduate degree and was delighted that I had one creative writing class in the very same castle classroom.



Around this time, the Bath Children’s Literature Festival began. I immersed myself in every aspect of it that I could; attending events, volunteering, being a runner. Every year, I’d come away from it with a renewed passion for writing and an excitement for the books I couldn’t wait to read.  




Later, I completed an MA at Bath Spa University and finished with a complete manuscript that would become my debut book.

Graduating from the MA in Writing for Young People with fellow writers, Carlyn Attman, Sarah Driver and Alyssa Hollingsworth.

Now, as I embark on my own school and festival events, I remember all the successful author events I’ve had the privilege of seeing over the years, and think back to my ten-year-old self and the things that filled me with wonder.  





Jess Butterworth 

Running on the Roof of the World is out now. 

Find out more on Jess's websiteTwitter, or Facebook



2 comments:

Penny Dolan said...

What a lovely, positive story of a festival and place that's taught you so much - and of your own determination and success.

Jess Butterworth said...

Thanks, Penny!