b'Photo: Joe LavertyPhoto: Johnny FrazerHere,FoundingPatronGlennPatterson shares an update on their work and goals for Fighting Words in Northern Ireland.The Next ChapterFrom the momentI heard that my friends Roddy Doyle and Senevent in St Annes Cathedral, Belfast, with Lyras partner, Sara Love had set up Fighting Words in Dublin in 2009, I thought howCanning, and with a young writer from one of our programs who badly we needed something like it north of the border. It took ustook the mic from me and (as anyone there will tell you) took the until 2015, but we managed it eventually, thanks to a Flagshiproom by storm. Since then, Sara has become a Patron of Fighting grant from The Ireland Funds that enabled us to employ a teamWordsalong with fellow Derry Girls Bronagh Gallagher and of two based at Skainos Square, East Belfast. Lisa McGeeand they are all helping us set up a brilliant new Sincethattime,FightingWordsNorthernprogram of workshops in their home city.Ireland has provided over 10,000 creative writingIfthatwasntalreadyreasonenoughforus opportunities to children and young people agedto be grateful, your COVID-19 Emergency Grant 6-18 right across the region.Weve worked with schoolsin early 2020 enabled us to go digitaland to reachand theaters, teachers unions and community charities, runninghundreds of young people and their families in their homes when workshops, projects and after-school Write Clubs for indepen- they needed our support. dent teen writers, while also training over 350 volunteer mentorsThe pandemic has forced us to adapt and has even given us who give the one-to-one support that helps young writers realizethe opportunity to accelerate our growth and expand our reach. what theyre capable of, that they have the words at their disposalWere running Zoom workshops with schools, an online project to beas we always saythe authors of their own lives. with ten local libraries from Fermanagh to County Down, a new The murder of Lyra McKee in April 2019 was a devastatingradio script-writing project with Riverside Theatre in Coleraine moment for Northern Ireland. But from that came the extraor- and The Playhouse in Derry-Londonderry and a new lm-writing dinary gift from The Ireland Funds of the AWB Vincent Literaryproject with Derrys Nerve Centre.Award in honor of Lyra. I accepted the award at a memorable connect 202037'