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Over the Border: The 2023 Litmus Project

Internationally-celebrated writers Ali Smith and Bernardine Evaristo will be in conversation on 21 April at an event for schools which is a collaboration between Trinity College and Cambridge Literary Festival.

They will be joined by David Herd from Refugee Tales and Pious, who has experience of immigration detention and is a long-term contributor to the Refugee Tales project.

Year 9, 10 & 11 students from non fee-paying schools are invited to the event which is inspired by The Litmus School Writing Project, run by Trinity College. This year’s theme, chosen by Ali Smith, is ‘Over the Border’.

Ali Smith said:

The story of the border, of who gets to cross it and who doesn’t, is the story of our time. It tells us everything about us, and about living right now. That’s why it’s the theme. That’s why it’s important to humanity.  It’s also a very ancient story.  How will we tell this old new story?

The 90 minute session will feature conversation and an opportunity for a Q&A.

Ali Smith who launched the Litmus project while she was Senior Fellow Commoner in the Creative Arts at Trinity College. Photo: Cambridge Literary Festival

The Litmus, which began in 2019, encourages pupils to submit creative writing or artwork inspired by the theme. All entries are published on the project website and a selection made by Ali Smith is published as a book at the end of the school year.

Rachel, who took part in last year’s project said:

I took part to start with as a bit of fun and wasn’t very confident in what I’d done. I was super shocked when my work was selected, it was a bit overwhelming. I’m doing more creative work now, writing song lyrics.

Amber Silk, Schools Liaison Officer said:

We look to create experiences which stoke up life long curiosity and empower young people to expect highly of themselves. We are especially excited about innovative projects which support those with little or no previous contact with universities.

Within The Litmus’ creative challenge and published pages, Ali Smith provides a platform and space where students discover what they can do with words. This is a space for being courageous and imaginative, where even those who have never written creatively before can try it out.

The free event takes place on Friday 21 April 2023 from 11:00am to 12:30pm at the Cambridge Union. Teachers or other school representatives must register to bring pupils.

The Litmus Website

Cambridge Literary Festival

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