Do You Remember the First Time?

On May 15th at the Pen Museum, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham the first of three nights of Live Art began to mark the start of the exhibition PEN. This being a wonderfully anachronistic site, with markmaking equipment from quills to biros to typewriters, Nonny Warn was on hand to ask first night visitors a rather personal question…

Do you remember the first time?

The visitors were encouraged to relate the first time they had picked up a pen for the joy of it, for the love of it, to watch those loops and spirals spill from the nib, to feel the barrel grasped firmly between their fingers… any and all stories were welcomed, from childish doodlings to teenage angsts. The Pen Museum very kindly allowed Nonny to manifest herself in the writing room, where a whole heap of pens, nibs, quills and inks were laid on. She set up her cards and postbox, and began bothering the people:

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Following are all those responses whose authors were happy to share – Do you have a tale of your first time? Share it in the comments below, or email your reminiscence to

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