Nikita Gill visits secondary schools ahead of The Krumpus

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Poet and author Nikita Gill is penning her first theatre piece this Christmas at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Ahead of The Krumpus she visited Westborough High School and Newsome High to talk about life as an author and her unique spin on fairytales. Here’s some thoughts from the pupils after her visit.

What a great afternoon we had with Nikita. I had already looked Nikita up on Instagram and was following her before we met her; I was very impressed! We spent the afternoon, ourselves, Nikita and 13 other students, looking at the background and context when creating characters. Nikita gave us some interesting ideas on how to generate a ‘backstory’ for characters, so that when we were writing we could allude or reference their history, allowing the reader to foreshadow or predict what could have happened to them. Our only complaint was that it wasn’t long enough!

Thank you for coming to Newsome High School Nikita, we had a wonderful time learning about creative writing, structure and characters with you and thank you to LBT for arranging it. Hope to see you soon!

 Adam and Peter. Year 8. Newsome High

On Monday 18th November, poet Nikita Gill, author of the popular poetry anthologies ‘Great Goddesses’ and ‘Fierce Fairytales & Other Stories to Stir your Soul’, ran a creative writing workshop at Newsome High School for several students from years 7, 8 and 9. As a year nine student I was lucky enough to attend this event and to have the opportunity to learn from a successful member of the literary community.

Throughout the workshops Nikita assigned us with several enjoyable writing tasks, instructing us to focus on character interaction and development rather than the more technical aspects of penning a text that are often preached to students. Although we were oblivious to it at first, this seemingly random series of tasks actually demonstrated the power and importance of several vital aspects of literature; conflict, character relationships, and character motivation.

In our first activity Nikita instructed us to contemplate who our favourite fictional character from any fictional world was. We then considered which fictional character we despised the most, and thought about how if they were to meet they would strikingly contrast and juxtapose one another, possibly resulting in mutual animosity. Nikita then informed us that we were to compose a dialogue between the two characters, establishing our thoughts on what would occur if two polar opposites with thoroughly contradicting opinions of ethics and an idealistic world were to engage in conversation. This task was indicative of how influential conflict can be upon the overall plot of a novel.

We then proceeded to our second activity which taught us about the necessity of an antagonist within a text. Nikita explained that for our second task we had to think of a popular villain from a fictional work and write them a backstory or redemption arc. This assignment revealed how the incentives for the antagonist’s actions can make us question who the true villain of the story is. Nikita conversed with us about how giving villains’ backstories can often humanise them and make them relatable to the reader, causing us question who we would become if we were faced with some of the hardships our antagonists faced. Despite the complex undertones of our narratives, many of the stories were approached comedically, resulting in an entertaining time sharing them between the group.

I am certain that I speak on behalf of everyone involved in the workshop when I say that I would like to thank Nikita Gill for devoting several hours to sharing her knowledge and creativity with us. It was a wonderful experience and I will be forever thankful for the skills that I learned within those few hours.

 Amy Skibeck. Year 9. Newsome High