As a first-year creative writing student for whom even asking for feedback in class is a matter of immense courage, I had nothing but admiration for the undergraduates performing their pieces at the Cultural eXchanges festival to dozens of anonymous attendees lurking online.

Despite delivering their work – ranging from an AV piece by Natalya Pietrak to spoken word poetry by Adriana Aleksandrova – to an audience comprised of names on a screen, the students performed with humour and emotion, connecting with viewers regardless of the physical distance. Their explorations of shared human experiences captured compellingly the essence of writing.   

These impactful pieces have left me hopeful that over the coming years we will have the chance to see these writers progress and read at future festivals, and, later, maybe even at the postgraduate showcase.