The Big Write

Following the Success of the 2015 and 2016 events The Big Write returned on 7 July 2017 at the Royal Hall.

The Royal Hall event was to help inspire children with talks on how to become an author, a series of warm-up activities and a group writing exercise, as well as tours of the Royal Hall, with this a first glimpse into this magnificent building for most of the children in attendance.

The UK’s largest children’s literacy session took place at Harrogate’s Royal Hall on Friday, July 7 with special guest Ian McMillan!

Read some of the fantastic creative writing written on the day; 

2017’s Big Write is set to be the largest children’s literacy session in the UK. The ambitious creative writing workshop takes place at Harrogate’s Royal Hall on Friday, July 7 with one of Britain’s best loved poets, Ian McMillan, as Special Guest.

Up to 700 schoolchildren from across the district are expected to take part in The Big Write delivered by the education experts, Pobble, in partnership with Ashville Harrogate Prep School and Harrogate International Festivals.

Pobble is an online literacy platform aimed at inspiring young children to write whilst saving teachers time in lesson preparation and assessment.

The event is part of Harrogate International Festivals’ outreach delivery HIF+ – a programme of workshops, masterclasses, community and creative learning events.

Pupils from Years 4, 5 and 6 from across the Harrogate district are invited to take part in the interactive workshop, featuring Bard of Barnsley, Ian McMillan.

Ian has worked in schools and theatres across the UK, is a presenter of BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, writes weekly columns for the Yorkshire Post and Barnsley Chronicle, and has been a poet-in-residence for Barnsley Football Club and Humberside Police.

Mr Simon Bailey, Ashville’s Head of Prep School, said: “Ashville are delighted to sponsor this event in its third year and I very much hope all the children enjoy what will be a challenging and rewarding experience. Events like these highlight writing as an essential skill, which will benefit children for the rest of their lives. It can foster confidence, communication, self-expression and hopefully a lifelong love of writing.”

Young authors will be selected from the day to have their work published and shared with the world on

Simon Blower, co-founder at Pobble, said: “Having a leading poet like Ian McMillan involved is really special. He has the ability to make poetry and writing exciting, fun, accessible, and can’t fail to inspire children with his irresistible enthusiasm. Writing is crucial not just in terms of developing literacy, but it allows children to express themselves, and boosts confidence. This is what Pobble is all about – engaging young minds and giving children a platform to share their fantastic writing.”

Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We deliver some of the UK’s biggest literary festivals in Harrogate and we want to use our platform to engage and enthuse younger audiences. The Big Write is part of our year-round educational work and it just gets bigger and better every year. There’s nothing quite like meeting authors, like Ian, to really capture and motivate young minds. Our 2017 theme for the Festival is ‘generations’ – who knows who could grow up to be a star in one of our future festivals, and become the next JK Rowling or Ian McMillan!”

Ian McMillan is in Harrogate for the whole day on July 7 delivering three events in total, including an Early Morning Stroll in the Valley Gardens at 8am and an afternoon recital with composer Richard Barnard at Wesley Chapel at 1pm.