Jenni is a special person here at Young Writers, and has probably read some of your work!
Jenni is a superhero here at Young Writers. The all-round powerhouse, literary genius, toolkit creator and editorial manager takes a special spot in our office and runs the team who are lucky enough to read all the amazing entries we receive! We sat down with Jenni so we could show you all the important stuff she gets up to here at Young Writers HQ.
Could you just give a general introduction about the wonderful world of Jenni Harrison?
I have worked for Young Writers for over 10 years, and I can’t imagine doing anything else! I am the Editorial Manager which means I train the other editors to be the best they can be, and I’m in charge of making sure all the work gets done on time. At home I have 3 boys, one of whom is a Labrador, and after a long day of reading I generally go home and read some more! I also love playing board games and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside.
What do you love about Young Writers?
I love that it gives kids the encouragement to write, because they can actually see what they’ve written in a real book and you can’t underestimate the boost that gives somebody. I wish I’d known about it when I was in school – I would’ve been entering every competition I could – I loved writing. We often get feedback from teachers telling us about the kids who are normally reluctant to write who have not only given it a go but enjoyed doing it – that’s just brilliant.
What is your connection to writing/reading?
A life-long love affair. I can’t remember a time I haven’t loved reading, and a book goes wherever I go. Books are just magic – they can take you anywhere and make you feel anything. My earliest memory of writing is copying out stories from the books on my shelves because I just wanted to write something! I did progress to writing my own stories, though unfortunately I struggle to find the time now. I am still fascinated by the process of writing a story or a novel, and all the things you have to think about. I sometimes read a book and think ‘how did you even do that?’ So I read a lot and listen to writing podcasts to learn more.
What's the best project you've ever been involved in?
It has to be our upcoming spelling and grammar game SPaG Monsters. It’s going to be such a useful tool for parents and teachers, especially after all the disruption to learning recently. More importantly, it is so much fun for kids to play with the added bonus of improving their skills at the same time. I’m so excited for it!
Why did you want to create the Young Writer’s Toolkit, why do you think it’s important?
When I was younger I loved writing stories but I didn’t really have a clue about how to create a really great story – how to structure it, what to include and not include etc. Now that I do know those things, I wanted to pass on that knowledge to kids who are like I was – brimming with ideas but needing a little guidance about how to get them down! That’s what the toolkit does, it guides aspiring authors through the different parts of a story, and it also has a lot of inspiration and exercises to get them writing even if they haven’t got that spark of a story ready to go. It’s so important to nurture the creativity and imagination of the next generation, to encourage them to explore it and use it because even if they don’t grow up to be an author, those skills can be utilised in all sorts of ways, in all kinds of jobs.
If you want to find out more about the Complete Writer's Toolkit - Junior Edition, head to the page here and sign up to be the first to hear more.