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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

27 January 2024

Posted by By Carla Hall


This week’s session of Mayflower Junior and Young Writers was all about discovery. Who are we as individuals? Who do we want to become? How can we uncover and discover new ways of perceiving language? 

This session marked the beginning of Carla’s journey as the assistant for the group. As a way for everyone to become acquainted, Ali brought two self-discovery worksheets to fill out (pictures attached). 

The first sheet, This is me… encouraged us to share their name, age, favourite book, strengths, flaws, what drives them mad, dream super power, and their reason for being part of the group. Everybody, including Ali and Carla, shared their passion for writing, setting the session up on a great note. 

The second sheet asked us to come up with two truths and a lie. The writers had played this game before, so it didn’t take long for each box to be filled and for the group to put on their investigator hats. We can now confirm that one person in our group has been on the world's largest water slide, and that Ali once toured with a juggling circus. 

After our break, Ali shared different ways to use language. We looked at an alphanumeric device using D(4)O(15)G(7) as an example, then Ali taught us a special book cipher we could use to send secret messages to our friends. 

00 - 00 - 00 

This cipher correlates to page number, line number, and word number. 

Ali’s book Cipher came with some rules. 

  • The person you’re sending the code to must have the same edition of said book. 

  • This code is secure so long as you keep the key a secret - key = book

  • If your friend has the same book as you, but not the same edition, you can change the cipher to chapter number, line number, word number, limiting any variables.

To discover more about ourselves, Ali asked us to write a story beginning with the scenario that annoyed us from the first sheet. The story had to be set seven years from now. The group shared their scenes, delivering glistening imagery of themselves in the future. Here are some of our favourite titles.

  • Hedgehog Haters

  • Marmite Moments

  • Blow-torched Encyclopedia 

Next week we will have Sue with us leading for Ali, whilst she’s away on her book tour.


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