Do you have an A14 story to tell? ICE appoints A14 Writer in Residence | Institute of Continuing Education skip to content

Institute of Continuing Education

 

Do you use the A14? Perhaps you live nearby, use it to get to work, or are part of the construction team working on the A14 improvement scheme? Then the A14 Writer in Residence wants to hear from you!

Daisy Johnson, a librarian, children’s writer and blogger from York, will take up this unique new role on 6 September. The post has been created by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), and is funded by the government’s A14 Community Fund.

Daisy, who will be based at the ICE’s home at Madingley Hall, will use her role as A14 Writer in Residence to encourage communities affected by the Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme to reflect on roads and the nature of travel. 

Daisy is part of a long tradition of writers interested in travel but the project also reflects a more recent focus on roads and the effects they have on people’s lives. She has already started to gather stories about the A14 and you can post yours at www.facebook.com/groups/A14stories or email them to A14stories@ice.cam.ac.uk.

Daisy will choose thought-provoking extracts from books and poems to encourage local people to re-discover their love of stories. She will hold pop-up sessions to encourage road users – from shoppers and commuters to truck drivers and construction workers – to explore words and stories connected with travel. Volunteers will visit retirement homes to collect stories linked to the region and schools will be encouraged to contribute to an anthology of writing. 

She commented: “I'm absolutely thrilled to be working with the Institute of Continuing Education and look forward to discovering the tales to be told in and around the A14. As somebody who works with literature every day as a researcher, writer and librarian, I'm passionate about helping people to tell their stories and use these to connect with the world around them. So if you've driven along the A14 once in your life or go on it every day, or somewhere in between, whether that's by bus, car, or flying Ford Anglia, then I really want to hear your story.”

Daisy will also judge writing competitions based on topics such as “What does the A14 mean to you?”, “What’s the most surprising thing you’ve seen from a car window?”, “The worst journey”, or “Ghosts on the A14”.

She will offer regular writing prompts via social media to encourage road users to post their writing and tweets about aspects of the road and travel. Other initiatives will include a “pass the writing baton” in which drivers are given the first line of a story and encouraged to continue the tale before passing it on to the next person.

As part of the scheme, ICE will run a series of free creative writing courses for people living near the A14 development area, or for people who use the area regularly. Attendees can book online, at www.ice.cam.ac.uk/A14courses

Midge Gillies, Academic Director for Creative Writing at ICE, said: “Roads take us to school, on holiday, to hospital, to a wedding or a funeral. We’ve all got a story about a special journey. You’ve only got to look at Peter Kay’s Car Share to see the potential. We hope the A14 Writer in Residence will inspire everyone from mums’ groups to shoppers, young people and elderly residents to have a go at writing or telling their stories in other ways.”

Daisy will produce a new piece of writing inspired by her time as A14 Writer in Residence. This, together with the best writing from road users, will form part of an anthology produced to celebrate the scheme. This will be launched at a free event held at Madingley Hall.

Further information

For further information or photos contact: Midge Gillies, Academic Director, Creative Writing, at: Midge.Gillies@tutor.ice.cam.ac.uk

Note to editors

The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) is part of the University of Cambridge and runs a wide variety of courses for professional development and personal enrichment. ICE was founded in 1873 and is based at Madingley Hall, a 16th-century country house on the outskirts of Cambridge.

The A14 Community Fund is managed by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation which is part of a worldwide charitable network of community foundations. It aims to build stronger communities in the county of Cambridgeshire by making it easier for donors to give and connect to local voluntary and community groups that are addressing the issues that impact people's lives.

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