Interview with Author and Storyteller Grace Quansah

by Lindsay Warner, Age 16, United Kingdom

 

Meet Grace at the Junior Authors Writers Conference on May 18, 2014 in Guildford, Surrey, UK.

Meet Grace at the Junior Authors Writers Conference in Guildford, Surrey, UK on Sunday, May 18, 2014.

The countdown for the UK Junior Authors Writers Conference has officially begun, and I know I’m not the only one that’s excited. Soon us writers can all converge in Guilford and network with one another while sharing our writing tips and experiences.

But we budding young writers aren’t the only ones that are eager. Oh no. I was speaking to Grace Quansah, who is leading a workshop titled, “Imagine If: From Pencil to Pen to Paper to Performance to Print,” about her involvement in the upcoming event.

“I would very much like to meet more young writers on a national and international scale,” says Grace. “I am equally keen for conference participants to find out about the work I do with WAPPY, an acronym for Writing, Acting, and Publishing Project for Youngsters, through my ‘Imagine If’ workshop.”

“There are manifold reasons why I enjoy helping young writers develop their craft,” she continues. “First, out of my personal experience of being a young writer, I found it a cathartic but solitary experience, and I lacked peer group and professional support. Secondly, good and brilliant writers are both born and made. The seeds are sown through the ideas that children and young people produce. I have seen from first-hand experience that, when encouraged and given a safe space to write with like-minded individuals, a young writer will continue to create original works and be challenged to develop their own unique writing style.”

Grace has so much wisdom that she is enthusiastic to impart to us beginners. After all, she has been in our position and doesn’t want us to suffer from the same mistakes that she did but rather take away the lessons that she’s learned from them.

“Keep writing and finding inspiration from those around you like your family, friends, or even a community group like WAPPY,” Grace advises. “Write stories, letters, a diary, an article, a report, a poem, a song—whatever you prefer! Do not be intimidated by other writing styles. Your own style counts too!”

This piece of advice was one I found particularly inspiring. I can’t be the only one who’s looked at the works of legends like Edgar Allan Poe and wondered how on earth I am supposed to write anything worthwhile when he had works so full of depth and imagery. But once I accepted the fact that this wasn’t the style for me, writing suddenly became a lot easier as I realised something important, something Grace touched upon above. You will never be truly comfortable writing in a style that is not your own. So why should we try to imitate another style when we could easily be doing a better job on our own?

Grace left me with one final note. “If your ideas and passion for writing are lost, they will take time to resurface again. Remember that you can suppress a writer some of the time, but you cannot suppress a writer all of the time. Eventually, he or she will write!”

Early bird tickets (£79.00 per person) for the Junior Authors Writers Conference will be available until the 31st March. A limited number of financial need scholarships are available too. Visit the UK Conference page on this website for more information.

We look forward to seeing you at the Conference in May!

View a recent WAPPY performance on You Tube.

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