Beyond Words 2019

Image: Still Moving Media

Beyond Words

Beyond Words reaches out from The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival to young people with severe mental or physical illness. This is the fifth year of the programme.

Take a look at the success of last year.

She has had her world opened and been so encouraged to know there are other young people in similar situations. …she has benefitted so much from [the sessions] and had a great sense of achievement.


It has had a huge positive impact on my confidence. It’s made me feel excited for the future.


In any given year, over 600 children In Gloucestershire are unable to access mainstream schooling due to conditions like mental health disorders, cancer, epilepsy, and orthopaedic, neurological and respiratory disorders. The majority of these young people are aged between 14 and 16.

Working with the Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service (GHES), Cheltenham Festivals is giving every KS4 student the opportunity to work over time with a writer-in-residence, either in person or via a digital learning platform.

The benefits of this project have been immense, and in some cases life-changing.

Annalise Price-Thomas, Head of Service, GHES

Cheltenham Festivals is delighted that Caleb Parkin is returning as the writer for the project in 2019/20. Caleb is a prize-winning poet, performer, filmmaker and experienced facilitator. He works with schools, museums, universities and others and has completed an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes.

The young people’s writing is being professionally published in an anthology which will be launched at Waterstones in Cheltenham and showcased at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020.

Read more about Beyond Words as part of our outreach work at Cheltenham Festivals.

To find out more about the project contact

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