First Story in partnership with Co-op Academy Grange

First Story in partnership with Co-op Academy Grange

Austin Bradshaw and Dianne Bashill, the librarian at Grange, have been working with First Story over the last 4 years to bring in a writer-in-residence to work with students to improve their creative writing skills. The writer we have been working with 2019 – 2020 is Dan Ingram-Brown. The First Story group of students have put all of their writing into an anthology called ‘Lost and Found’, which will be launched in September 2020. We have continued to do First Story work with students during the lockdown.

Here is a selection of the fabulous work our students have been producing at home. Well done to all of them!

Monster by Armandas
The world was spinning. An army of clouds banished the moon away from the earth, an earth that would never see a spark of hope again. The rain struck with the wind and the mist manipulated the crescent in a decayed symphony.
The tears of the house echoed around the room as if it wanted to be heard, for someone to feel its pain. As each drop fell into the bucket of sorrow, the more the voice of the house hammered through his skull. Was it him, or did the sound get louder and louder?
His tiny hands grabbed on to the duvet, and he wrapped it round him like it was his mother. His blood shook beneath his skin. The walls were damaged, cracks were at every peak of the room. His heart was pounding and moving closer to his throat. He turned to his canopy, turned to hiding from his conundrum. Maybe, just maybe it would all go if he shut his eyes and awoke to a world with no fear.
Suddenly, there came scratching at the window, which then came to knocking. Knocking and then…
Pounding! The demon finally rose from the gates to a certain unsettling. The moon then rejected the gloom and it shone through the little cracks of the fog. Then the boy saw it. The monster was revealed and it was not happy. Suddenly, the casement window bundled open and obscure claws extended, from the old, blistered floorboards where a nail stood, to the canary-pigmented ceiling. The storm raged into oblivion and the child had his fingers in his mouth. Goosebumps ran continuously over his body until he could feel the little hairs stand on his red rosy cheeks.
Then there it was. The little thing he has been waiting for. The little voice that gave him the strength to overcome such a challenging barrier. He fought back the tears in his eyes and he inhaled as much as he could. He curled up his naked feet and surged out of bed as he hurled the wet duvet across the room, almost spilling the bucket which was half full. Reaching for his ears, he pressed his hands against them until no drop of sound was heard. All that he could hear was his adrenaline running through his veins and if felt like his heart was held right next to his ears. He ran until…
“Aargh!” As he dashed, he collapsed to the floor writhing in pain. He glimpsed at the nail which was painted with blood.
Heavy breathing filled the room and the chaos outside did not bother him anymore. He clenched his fists and started limping, limping and moving closer to the window. He gritted his teeth and finally he made it. He faced his monster right in the face.
He finally knew what was going on and let out an immense sigh of relief. He looked directly at his ‘monster’. The tree danced in the conjured harmonies of the wild night. A grin appeared from ear to ear and his heart was full of hope and courage again.
The world was calm. The moon illuminated itself to the earth, an earth full of hope again. The crickets played with the breeze and the breeze with the crickets.


The Sand Encrusted Shores by Hawwa 

I remember when I went to the sand encrusted shores

and tasted some crisply burnt s’mores.

When I looked up to the starlight

and saw my dreams come to life in a million lights.

When the forest was a blanket covering me whole,

leaving me in the comfort that is serenity.

When I’d glanced at the life

racing through the trees.

When life was peaceful,

when I was three.

I remembered it was a refuge for me;

Oh, how far I’ve come

since I was just three.

It was me,

living life so peacefully.


Let me be like water by Aarzoo 

Let me be like water
Take me away from this slaughter.
My soul has been stained,
My heart has been pained,
My hands have been chained,
My joy has been drained,
My life is now in vain.
Let me be like water.

Let me be like water,
Let me be pure once again.
Let me wash away this endless blood,
Let me cleanse my blemished soul,
That was once adored,
But now ignored.
Oh, I beg of you,
Let me be like water,
Protect me from my monster.


One of My Many Memories by Diana


Cheeks painted.

A sun on the right.

A heart on the left.

A beaming smile,

Stretching from ear to ear,

Crushing the face paint.


A slight gap between the

Two front teeth,

And vampirish canines.


A cheap dress she wore,

Her favourite dress.

Long and grey, with black stitching.

A sequin heart with wings on her chest.

Black jeans perfecting the gothic style.


Almost platinum blonde hair

Weakly tied into a plait, and baby hairs

Fleeing the flouncy structure.

The thin streaks of gold made her look

Identical to the sun on her cheek.



Smile she did.


A bright image on her mum’s phone.


“Can I get into the mirror pool? Please?”

“OK, just your feet though!”

Running to those fountains, she dipped her toe in.

Cold on the surface.

Warm beneath the surface.


Then, another toe, and another,

Until her entire foot was submerged.

Repeated with the other foot.

Slow and steady.

Step by step.


Tiny toddlers dashing

through the water,

waves erupting from each


Deeper into the water.

Big boys pretending they’re

surfer dudes.

This was dangerous territory.


Took slower steps.

Became a target.

She was so focused on

how she moved,

She didn’t even see the toddler,

Rampaging towards her.


Down she went.

With a massive splash,

She landed on the floor

of the fountain.

Her face directly on the

largest spout.


The fountain turned on,

Sending a gushing spray

of chlorinated,

Urine-filled water straight

into her nose,


And mouth.


She stood up,

Weighed down by the extra 5kg of water.

She realises…

My dress!

My dress got wet!

What’s mum going to say?

I took the moment in.

I started to laugh.


After a minute,

I turned around.

White fire in her eyes.

She was livid.

I waded towards her,

Trying to supress a smile.

Her lips tightened.

I was not about to be laughing soon enough.

“What the hell did you do?”

“I fell.”

“Yeah, I saw that. I thought I told you to be careful.”

“I was! But that little kid came out of nowhere!

I swear it wasn’t my fault! I wasn’t paying attention,

But only because I tried to not get my jea-“

“It’s fine. I’m not going to shout.”

A tsunami of relief washed over me.

“But we do need a towel and some clothes for you,”



And with that, I squelched my way to Primark,

With mum and I in hysterics for most of the time.