Leaping into the Void: Volunteering with Fighting Words

Leaping into the Void: Volunteering with Fighting Words

We've collaborated with Fighting Words for their volunteer programme to support students of all ages.

Emma, Gill Education Editorial Manager, shared her experience volunteering for Analecta, the Fighting Words journal of teen writing.


In late November 2023, a wonderful opportunity arose to do some voluntary editorial work on Analecta, the Fighting Words journal of teen writing. This anthology was part of the 100 Years Project, a Decade of Centenaries initiative supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media

For this edition of Analecta, the Fighting Words fiction team provided a visual prompt Leap into the Void by Yves Klein for the young writers to respond to, along with the theme of 100 Years.

I was given a selection of eight pieces – along with a helpful style guide – and was asked to copy-edit each piece, while maintaining the original voice of the authors.

Leaping into the Void

I was transported back to World War II, where two sisters desperately tried to flee their captors. I sought refuge from the dusty plains of the Wild West where a once-feared outlaw bitterly contemplated his life choices. I stood on the summit of the towering Olympus Mons, as two astronauts confronted the horror that awaited them.

I accompanied a terrified young man as he navigated a post-apocalyptic world where ravenous zombies roamed. I found myself in a strange marble room filled with gliding paper butterflies and mysterious letters, where nothing was what it seemed. I watched as a troubled student lost his grasp on reality, leading to devastating consequences.

I slipped through pockets of time – past and present – while two quick-witted Scotland Yard detectives got more than they bargained for as they pieced together an old and tangled murder mystery. Finally, a delicate poem quietly asked me to consider what it is to face the void and leap into the unknown.

Providing and receiving feedback

It was a real pleasure to read these incredibly imaginative pieces and to be able to provide feedback for the talented young writers. I could see a lot of time, effort and creativity had gone into every piece, and it was important that my feedback was both constructive and encouraging.

After I had completed my work, I received a lovely response from Fighting Words:

I've read through all your comments, and I'm blown away by how considerate and thoughtful they are. Usually we don't share edits with our writers, but I think it would be an incredible learning experience for them to learn this side of the process you've inspired me now!

I really enjoyed the experience and would love to work with Fighting Words again should the opportunity arise. I would also highly recommend the experience to anyone with proofing and editing experience.

Find out more 👉 Fighting Words’ Analecta

The volunteering experience in Primary

Two members of our staff share their experiences with the primary school volunteering programme involving collaborative story writing.

I really enjoyed my morning volunteering for Fighting Words. I think my favourite part was working with the children in small groups. The boys I was working with were planning on how they could write a continuation of the story during their lunchbreak at school. It was great seeing how what was sparked in the workshop could keep going beyond that morning!

- Laura Ashcroft-Jones

What an absolutely wonderful volunteer experience! From the minute you walk in,the staff of Fighting Words are so welcoming and friendly. Their positivity and enthusiasm filled the room. You could clearly tell how excited the children were and how much fun they were having. It was so fantastic getting to explore creative stories with the students and help them bring their ideas to life. I’m glad we get two volunteer days because I will certainly be using my second one with Fighting Words again!

- Sarah Bermingham