Reveal your inner writer
TEXT: LOUISE OLDER STEFFENSEN | PHOTO © PETER SØHOLM SIMONSEN, BRØNDERSLEV FORFATTERSKOLE
Every year, Brønderslev Bibliotek hosts a week-long writing school for 13 to 20-year-old aspiring wordsmiths. Each group is taught intensively by successful authors from a variety of fields, allowing students to explore the style of writing that they want to pursue. Following the stay, the students’ texts are published in an anthology sent out to classrooms across Denmark – but that is just the start of the benefits of Brønderslev Forfatterskole.
The summer school is held at the well-equipped Nordjyllands Idrætsskole. Thanks to funds and donations, students only pay 2,000 DKK (around 230 GBP) each, and for that, they get a network of opportunities and a supportive writing community that can benefit them for years to come. “We’ll meet up annually at national gatherings like Aalborg’s Ordkraft festival and the Bogforum in Copenhagen,” programme coordinator Louise Eltved Krogsgård explains, “and alumni have come back to do public presentations, readings or teaching coordinated by us here in the local community.”
Students also continue their journey on a buzzing online forum, where they exchange ideas and provide critical reviews of each other’s work – some alumni now in their early 30s are still active members. “We also see a lot of students return to try their hand at different genres,” Krogsgård continues. “And speaking of returns – our essay-writing teacher this year is a well-established children’s book writer. She, Zakiya Ajmi, also happens to be a former student of ours. It’s wonderful to see this come full-circle.”
Other teachers this year include fantasy writer Cecilie Eken and Sanne Munk Jensen, who will take on novel writing for older students. Throughout the week, traditional classroom teaching gradually gives way to independent writing, with the teacher providing individual help and feedback, which continues up until the anthology publication months later. “The week itself always ends with a massive battle between the poetry slam students – I’m blown away every time,” Krogsgård concludes.