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Celebrating the art of words

SUCCESS: WAPPY director Grace Quansah

SOME OF west London’s diverse and talented young people took part in a special project to celebrate the works of Nobel prize-winning musician Bob Dylan.

The initiative, called Forever Young, was spearheaded by the Ealing-based Writing, Acting and Publishing Project for Youngsters (WAPPY).

A local group of young people, between the ages of five and 16, from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to take part in school workshops based on Bob Dylan.

Out of these workshops participants produced prize-winning literature for the Forever Young Creative Writing Competition and art for its associated exhibition which were showcased at Ealing Central Library, in front of a packed audience.

Co-hosted by teen WAPPY members, Effie Quansah-George and Centelia Tuitt-Walker, the event was attended by the Mayor of Ealing, Simon Woodroofe and the Mayor’s Consort, Valerie Woodroofe, Rupa Huq, MP for Acton and Central Ealing and patrons, Eric Huntley, co-founder of Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications and Sally Baffour, Maya Angelou’s niece.

The focus for the workshops was on Dylan’s contribution, through his songwriting and
performing, to raise young people’s awareness of political and social issues, and to inspire their creativity in any form.

At the showcase, Mayor Woodroofe handed out prizes to the four creative writing contest winners; Nyah Walcott-Quansah, (age seven) for Why Am I So Tall?, Mark Mwangi (age 11) for To Love or To Lose, Centelia Tuitt-Walker (age 13) for Humble Whispers and Ivy Oppong (age 14) for Songs Inspire Many, whose submissions were anonymously and separately judged in three categories by borough librarians.

Martha Lambert and Amma Poku. Kai Sim (age 13) and Leilani Drummey, (age 14), were both awarded prizes for standout artwork of a youthful and a mature Bob Dylan by Rupa Huq, while Ricari Wilson (age nine) was awarded a prize by Sally Baffour for being the most promising WAPPY newcomer.

WAPPY director, Grace Quansah said: “Bob Dylan’s songs have spanned six decades, and many have been covered more than any other artists including the award-winning Adele and Louisa Johnson, who won The X Factor in 2015.

“Our members know these songs from watching reality TV music shows but had no idea who Bob Dylan was or the impact he has had on the world since launching his folk and protests songs in the early 1960s.”

Quansah added: “WAPPY’s objectives are to stretch its members’ creatively to ‘think outside of the box’ in their unique ways and appreciate the simple power of poetry and song writing. It’s been a thrill to witness these youngsters actually switching off from their phones during after school time to create poetry, songs, stories and artwork, which blew away many, including the Mayor of Ealing.”

Widely lauded as one of the world’s greatest singer/songwriters, Dylan also received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

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