Writing Britain workshops

Angela Carter, Wise Children, Add.88899/1/16 f. 1 © Angela Carter. Reproduced by permission of the Estate of Angela Carter c/o Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd., 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN.


Suitable for: Year 7-11 and A Level
Available: Monday to Friday from 11 May until 25 September 2012
Time: 10.30-12pm, 1-2.30pm and 3.30-5pm
Length: 90 minutes
Group size: minimum 10, maximum 30 per session

Subjects and Key Skills


Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands

As the world’s attention turns to the UK this summer, the British Library will be celebrating some of the outstanding treasures of its English literature collections. Featuring a range of stunning items, some of which have never been seen before, Writing Britain will draw on the breadth of the Library’s collections to explore how writers from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf and Hanif Kureishi have been inspired by, and helped to shape, the nation’s understanding of landscape and place.

Workshop outline

Free workshops exploring Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands are available for Secondary and Further Education students. Workshops support and enrich the English curriculum at Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and A Level. Sessions take place in the exhibition space and include a series of activities led by a workshop leader.

Students will explore Britain’s literary heritage by looking at original sources on display, including manuscripts, printed editions, letters and photographs. Through these works, students will examine links between author and place, and consider some of the ways in which writers have been inspired by, and in some cases even redefined, Britain.

From Thomas Hardy and Emily Bronte to Ted Hughes and Angela Carter, students will look at writing across time to explore how a sense of place permeates these works and the subsequent impact of this on Britain’s identity and cultural heritage.

Groups will also discuss writing as a craft and examine processes and techniques these authors have used to draft and re-draft their work. Students will think about their own environment and how this could be used to stimulate their creative writing.

Ready to book?

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Post visit activities


The British Library is inviting students and teachers to contribute to their online, interactive map - Pin-a-Tale. Choose a literary work from any period and any form (e.g. a novel, a poem, song lyric or a play) that relates to a specific location in the British and Irish Isles. Tell us a little about your chosen item and how the author has captured the spirit of the place (e.g. what has changed, what remains the same?) and what it means to you. Find out more.

Writing competition for 13-16 year olds

Win the chance to read your work at the British Library! To celebrate the Writing Britain exhibition and the forthcoming Wonderlands festival, we have teamed up with Booktrust for a special creative writing competition for children and teenagers. To enter the writing competition and be in with the chance to read your work at the Wonderlands festival, all you have to do is write 100-500 words around the theme of my favourite place. Find out more.

For more British Library online English resources, explore our Language and Literature pages.

CPD Events for Teachers

Reading for Pleasure
Friday 6 July 2012, 9:30-15:30
In partnership with The Guardian

Find out more