Due to the vulnerability of the young people involved, we can't give their full names but here are some samples of their work.

Is my life a dream?

My life feels like a big, big dream but it’s not me. It’s as if everything I do is controlled by someone that I cannot see. One day, I wake up as a 13 year old, and my name is used in a sad song. The sad song started with a girl apologising to her mum for everything she has done. The little girl is no longer with her mum. I can see but I cannot feel her. Is that little girl me?

I can hear tear drops every night but I don’t know where it is coming from. Every night, I repeat the same routine. It starts as me going to the bathroom, making sure the taps are off. I walk back to my bed and I stroke my dog, falling asleep with tear drops in the background. One day I wake up and my routine isn’t the same. I want to give my dog a stroke but she isn’t there. The tear drops get louder and louder like someone banging their head on a table.

My Beginning as a Song

If my life was a song it would be a sad and angry song. I wake up one day and wished I had never been born.

If I was never been born I wouldn’t be in this situation I’m in now. I sometimes wonder where I would be if I was with my mum.

I’m so upset , I’m so angry , I’m so confused .

When I was younger I was so happy. I wish I could go back in time. I would be with my mum in the park on a sunny day with a nice picnic and just being myself. Instead I got chucked in a car and brought here where I don’t know anyone.

Past, Present and Future

I am Mark, a small baby, a premature baby.

I am Mark, born at the John Radcliff hospital, my mum is a nurse my dad is a banker.

I am Mark, I was a hard child, a mad child.

I am Mark, I struggle in school in my early years.

I am Mark, I used to attack my mum and my dad.

I am Mark, I used to despise my mum and my dad.

I am Mark, I used to disrupt my school a lot.

I am Mark, I thought it would be better, when I went to secondary school.

I am Mark, things got too much, GCSEs round the corner.

I am Mark, no more school for 6 months, too much, too much.

I am Mark, my mum and dad are struggling to cope.

I am Mark, got a social worker to help things along.

I am Mark, taken to a care home, still there I be.

I am Mark, I got an Education, GCSEs to my name.

I am Mark, there were wobbles along the way.

I am Mark, hopefully nearly there.

This is me, loss all control I have.

This is me, kill myself is the only way out.

This is me, killing myself will make things better.

This is me, I worry about the future, what is to come.

This is me, I am at college now, doing well at what I do.

This is me, I want to come home, please, please.

This is me, I need to lose weight.

This is me, will I ever meet the right person.

This is me, what is my future going to be like.

This is my future; I want to help people.

This is my future; Police, military police, that’s my goal.

This is my future; get to an officers post I will.

This is my future; will I settle down with a husband or a wife, have a son and a daughter a nice house to call home.

This is my future; 47 years’ service is enough.

This is my future; retire to the south of France, I will.

This is my future; will I die alone, or with my family and friends around me.

This is my future; will my life be for filling doing all that I wanted to do.

This is my future; will I die early, before my time.

This is my Past, Present and Future, the past is the past, the present is the now and the future is what make it.

These short pieces are not easy to read, they reveal young people in states of distress. But they also demonstrate that creative writing projects really help young people to articulate their feelings and so help to manage them. And by being able to share their writing, they develop self-expression and find it easier to listen to others. We are especially proud of this project and very grateful to Bali, the schools and the students for their commitment to making this such a success. If you would like to help support ChipLitFest's work with vulnerable students, please consider becoming a Festival Friend.