An acclaimed poet visited Flint High School to run a workshop for English Literature GCSE students ahead of their exam earlier this month.
Mark Pajak, originally from Merseyside, has been published in Magma, The North and The Rialto and he has also written for The BBC, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, and Poetry London.
In 2016 he was awarded first place in The Bridport Prize and has also received a Northern Writers’ Award, an Eric Gregory Award and an UNESCO international writing residency.
His first pamphlet, Spitting Distance, was selected by Carol Ann Duffy, former Poet Laureate, for a Laureate’s Choice publication.
The year 10 students spent time studying and analysing Mr Pajak’s poetry and learned what had inspired him to write.
He spoke about his own background and the journey he has taken to get where he is today.
As well as inspiring the students to create their own poems, he also gave them useful revision tips and advice in preparation for their exam.
Nicola Paulson, literacy co-ordinator, organised the visit. She said: “Mark was very complementary about our students and was really impressed with their efforts and application in presenting poetry of a high standard. It really was an amazing opportunity and experience for all involved, a great success.
We look forward to inviting Mark back again in the future.”
Jim Connelly, headteacher, said: “We were delighted to welcome Mark Pajak into the school. It is not often that students get to interact with somebody of such experience and expertise in this area. The students were given a fantastic opportunity to develop their skills and benefited from the advice he provided.”
Feedback from the students was very positive, one commented: “I felt like I learned a lot from the lesson and I really enjoyed having a real writer in the room.
The two sessions we did have given me a better understanding of poetry and I now feel more confident writing creative pieces.
He also gave me some advice for my exam which I found really productive and helpful. This is something I will remember!”
Another student said: “I enjoyed listening about his background and how he refused to give up despite having dyslexia. I think this is very inspirational for those who want to pursue writing as a career in the future.”
Mr Pajak said: “It is a rare joy to work with such hard-working students.
This group of year 10 students were a credit to themselves and Flint High School.
I’d love the opportunity to work with them again and I wish them every success in their English literature exam.”