Author Kate Pankhurst, a descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst, inspired over 750 schoolchildren to pen a staggering 300,000 words after a record number attended the annual Big Write hosted at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.

Delivered by Harrogate International Festivals, the Big Write in association with Ashville College, saw 19 schools take part in one of the largest children’s literacy workshops in the UK.

The biggest children’s creative writing workshop of its kind in the North, The Big Write attracted Year 4 and 5 pupils from across the Harrogate District and beyond, with pupils attending from as far as Skipton.

Inspired by Kate Pankhurst’s book, Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders, which explores the lives of go-getting, brave and brilliant women, and the real-life spy ‘Agent Fifi’ the children created their very own mystery detective and a puzzling crime that needed solving.

Development Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, Lizzie Brewster, said: “It’s fantastic that both boys and girls were inspired by Kate, to show role models can be strong female pioneers. We’d like to thank Ashville College for supporting such a memorable day. Demand for 2019’s Big Write outstripped previous records, which shows how valued this event has become.”
Simon Asker, Director of Prep School at Ashville College added: “We take great pride at the creativity and storytelling the Big Write captured this year. Partnering with Harrogate International Festivals aligns with our vision to develop not just a love of writing and reading in our school, but the life-affirming benefits of creative expression that’s proven to boost confidence and communication skills.”

The annual event is part of Harrogate International Festivals’ HIF+ – a programme of outreach arts delivery, and is delivered by the education experts, Pobble, and has become a much-anticipated fixture in many primary school’s calendars and an important part of literary provision.

Harrogate International Festivals has built a reputation for delivering high profile book festivals and author events, with the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and the Raworths Literature Festival.

Lizzie added: “Harrogate International Festivals is passionate about providing an enjoyable and engaging platform for the exploration of literature for young children and in ensuring that access to the arts is available for all children.”