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Fighting Words


Fighting Words

“Every morning, brilliant new stories are written by primary schoolchildren. They are all stored in our library (the stories, not the children)”.

The vision of Fighting Words is simple – to give children and young people (as well as adults who did not have the chance as children) the opportunity to discover and harness the power of their own imaginations and creative writing skills.

Images by Gerard McCarthy

Fighting Words is also about something much broader and more inclusive – using creative writing and storytelling to strengthen our children and teenagers to be resilient, creative and successful shapers of their own lives.  This engagement positively impacts on their personal, social and academic development – leading to increased levels of engagement not just with creative writing but also with the whole school experience, and each other.

In the first 10 years after its establishment – by Roddy Doyle and Seán Love in 2009 – Fighting Words was able to provide free tutoring, mentoring and publishing in creative writing to more than 120,000 children and young people. Since then, the Creative Ireland Programme has partnered with Fighting Words to further expand this reach – to almost every corner of Ireland, thereby ensuring that even greater numbers of children and young people get the opportunity to become an author.

There are now 12 Fighting Words outlets around the country:


Fighting Words aims to reach every child and adult in the country. 

And if that wasn’t enough, Fighting Words continue to deliver innovative ways to ensure young people everywhere continue to experience creative writing.  More recently, Fighting Words initiated a new project in north inner city Dublin named “Story Seeds”.  This supports young people to write their own story with the aim of enabling them to begin to understand their own story – their personal, circumstantial and emotional story – and their place – whether it be geographical, social, or imaginative.

Fighting Words

Fighting Words

Working with 24 DEIS schools, this project aims not only to introduce young people to creative writing, but importantly to strengthen their positive sense of themselves and to allow them to reimagine the negatives in their lives and transform their sense of place and possibility.

The Creative Ireland Programme (through funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth’s What Works programme) are supporting Fighting Words to replicate this initiative with schools and youth groups in other parts of the country. With a priority of working with DEIS schools in each region, young people from almost 250 schools and youth groups across Dublin, Cork city, Limerick city, Bray, Co. Wicklow and Drogheda, Co. Louth will have new creative writing opportunities – from poetry to prose, comic books to script-writing.

While much of the service is delivered by volunteers (with over 1,000 trained volunteer tutor/mentors around the country), the support from the Creative Ireland Programme has also enabled Fighting Words to engage with professional creative writers (and other creative professionals) to ensure that young people all over Ireland can experience Fighting Words – and “the write to right”!

More information on Fighting Words – as well as the published work of participants – is available here Fighting Words

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