Leeds Young Authors

Leeds Young Authors (LYA) was founded in 2003 by Khadijah Ibrahiim, performance poet and playwright, as an approach to creative education to promote positive social dialogue through the written and spoken word among young people of High School age (ages 13-19), primarily in the City of Leeds.

As Artistic Director of the organisation, Khadijah implemented a programme of activities, which focussed on using creative writing, spoken word/performance poetry, and the competitive environment of poetry slams to dispel the myths among young people that poetry is an outmoded form of literary and artistic expression.

From the onset, Khadijah brought on board Paulette Morris as Workshop Supervisor and Vocal & Performance Coach. Paulette has over 20 years experience working in the community creative arts and music industries and helps the LYA youths to hone their performance skills.

Leeds Young Authors runs creative writing projects out-of-school and in schools to nurture and develop youth talent, to encourage socially inclusive engagement, and to promote the benefits that good writing skills can afford today’s youth in their personal, professional and academic lives. LYA gives young people the opportunity to develop their artistic abilities as confident writers, live performers and as essential contributors to the literary continuum. LYA’s active literary and literacy culture drives learning, leadership, critical thinking, cultural diversity and self-esteem forward to create more open and engaged young people.

Leeds Young Authors has created spaces in a socially and economically disadvantaged area to celebrate youth voices, and to develop the young people’s social skills and emotional literacy so they will have the ability to function effectively in different spheres. The project also offers young people at risk (including former youth offenders) an opportunity to engage in a project within the community in a positive way and to escape the lure of criminality, the cycle of poverty and social depravation.