William Fiennes

In the first 90 seconds of the Russian film Mirror (1975), a boy with a speech impediment is cured. He looks up at the matronly therapist and says in fear and wonder: “I can speak.” William Fiennes never forgot those 90 seconds of cinema and he has brought the spirit of that minute and a half to the charity he co-founded with Katie Waldegrave: First Story. The charity runs writing workshops in schools across the country, hoping to encourage that revelatory process of ‘finding one’s own voice.’ Fiennes thinks that we all have our own unique voice, and he quotes Pullman on the importance of discovering it: “Real writing can liberate and strengthen young people’s sense of themselves as almost nothing else can.” William Fiennes is the bestselling author of The Snow Geese and The Music Room.