Westminster Slam

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Pupils from St Augustine's reading their work


Key audience

Yrs 8 and 9 – Secondary schools, some members of the public and media

Project aim

This exciting National Year of Reading event was planned to encourage young people not only to read but also to be creative and through literature and books explore serious issues that are of growing concern in society.

Details of event

On Wednesday 9th July pupils from St Augustines, Westminster and Paddington Academy took part in a Reading Slam which Westminster Libraries hosted at the ICA.

The event was based on Courttia Newland’s Society Within, a book about everyday life on a West London estate and Anthony McGowan’s recently published, The Knife That Killed Me, which tackles the grimly topical issue of teenage knife crime. This book is also on the long-list for this year’s Guardian children’s fiction prize and the Carnegie Prize.

Free copies of the books were sent to the schools and both authors were at the ICA to interact with the children and answer questions. Pupils from St Augustine’s studied the books with creative writing tutor Joelle Taylor and then performed their work at the event alongside the inspirational performance poet El Crisis.

The workshops and event are being filmed by the Harrow Road Neighbourhood Partnership LARP. The publishers have also donated free books and audio materiels for the school libraries. A screening of the film will take place at Westminster Reference Library sometime in the Autumn.

Key partners

Harrow Road Neighbourhood Partnership (LARP) Westminster Libraries ICA Local schools and academies Publishers Creative writing tutors Performers

Next steps

The audience was made up of about 80 kids.

The kids who performed came out with powerful emotive performances which rather took the adults and the authors themselves by surprise. We are considering producing a collection of the poems, songs and dramas produced as an anthology to donate to the school.

The film of the day will be shown later this year.

For more information about this project please contact

Rossella Black

SLA Westminster Reference Library

35 St Martin’s Street


020 7641 5250


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