Thank you so much to everyone who entered the family themed writing competition. I really enjoyed reading all your stories and poems, and was so impressed with them all. It’s been extremely tough to choose winners and runners up as the standard was so high. As with the art competition, many factors had to be considered, such as age, imagination, originality, and whether English was the first language of the entrant. Here are the results.
In the age 8-10 category:
WINNER: The Lovely Lambs by Chloe Salwey, 8
I loved this unique (and dare I say, slightly bonkers) story with its fantastic names and ‘sheeperific’ theme. The mashed banana moat is genius. Congratulations, Chloe!
RUNNER UP: Oh, Freddie! by Izzy Black, 8 (extract)
I really enjoyed this original picture book with its theme of clumsiness, chaos and gentle repetition, which Izzy had carefully illustrated throughout. Wonderful work!
The following people all displayed wonderful imagination and flair in their stories and poetry. Well done!
Elena Davies (9), Elspeth Perkins (9), Charlotte Vine (9), Lucy Young (9)
These entrants all showed interesting ideas and good writing skills. Bravo to:
Ellen May Ambridge (9), Jessica Rosie Brown (8), Lili May Hodges (9), Autumn Munro (10), Quinn Munro (8), Annapurna Wright (9)
In the age 11-13 category:
WINNER: The Rowan Violin by Georgina Salwey, 12
I thought this was a beautifully written story with a fable-like quality and a powerful message. I had also never heard of the word ‘dwimmer’ and found this fascinating. Congratulations, Georgina!
RUNNER UP: Once Upon a Time by Vassiliki Kollia, 13
Once upon a time, in a far away village, where the birds sang sweeter than in any place in the world and the wind blew through the leaves and nourished little children, there was a family, which was poor and rich at the same time. Poor because they didn’t have money, but rich because they had found the most important thing: love.
The parents were very friendly and everybody in the village admired and respect them. Moreover, they wanted to pass on their knowledge to their children :how to say sorry and how to forgive, how to give and help others without a reward, how to smile even if they might have to cope with many difficulties. As time passed, the children were growing up with stories about honesty, bravery and love.
Once, when the children had already grown, they wanted to leave. It was their time to fly, like the birds and find their own way. Parents were very proud of their kids and just smiled and wished them good luck. The young people didn’t forget their parents and when they settled in a big city they started working hard. Finally, they succeeded and they got their parents to stay with them in the city. Meanwhile, they had made families and their parents had grandchildren.
As time passed, the grandchildren were growing with stories about honesty, bravery and love:
“Grandma, grandma tell us a story,” shouted the little kids.
“OK, OK. Today will tell you a very special story,” the old woman said with a smile.
“Yes, grandma, please…”
“All right. Once upon a time in a far away village…”
This gentle story of enduring love, the important things in life and the cycle of family charmed me no end. Bravo, Vassiliki.
RUNNER UP: My Little Sister by Sophie Blackamore, 11 (extract)
If there was ever a person with wavy blonde hair,
With a lopsided grin and a cheeky stare.
I know for certain,
that nothing can compare,
With the girl from my childhood,
Who always was there.
My little sister, knew just what to say.
She knew how to annoy, which she did every day.
Though sometimes she hated me, sometimes she might,
Climb up beside me, our hands holding tight.
My little sister has formed a chain with me.
A chain of friendships, which forever will be.
My little sister, is more than a friend.
She’s my life, my fuel,
Which will never end.
The following entrants had interesting ideas and descriptions. Well done to:
Nour Elshirazy (13), Lydia Illingworth (13)
In the age 14-16 category:
WINNER: Unconscious by Eliana Knott, 15
It wasn’t far until the edge. The edge of our cake slice of the world; the corner of the icing – thick, delicious and, unequivocally, the best part – the one you always endure the agonising wait for, to save it for the end. But was it the end?
Ablaze – like a campfire – my sister beams the moment she gazes upon the beach below. Eyes smiling, they traverse over the sandy sliver, absorbing every brush stroke of the picture. “You’d think you’d never seen a beach before!” I laugh. She glances away, not quite meeting my endarting eyes. Gently, she shakes her head and sighs. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Nodding in agreement, I link my arm in hers, pointing slightly up into the interminable distance. Head lolling on my pillow of a shoulder, her steady breath echoes my pulse as the stunning sunset performs.
Throwing our shoes violently and vindictively (what’s their purpose if not to prevent our fun?) to the far side of the beach, we skip into the lapping waves, toes sinking like quicksand into the sodden beach. Laughing raucously, we grin in the waning light; the briny air is a welcome replacement for the city streets: fumes, fumes, fumes. Our shins almost entirely enveloped by the rising tide, we stride further into the – unbeknown to us – ravenous mouth. Giggling, pushing, gazing. As the day draws to a close, our personalities only shine together, complementing the serenity.
A harmonious scream! It pierces my tranquil free-floating. Head pounding, I hurl myself vertical with all the strength I can muster. Was it her? Is she hurt? Arms flailing, I search the depths below. Nothing, save for a toe being subducted… A toe!
I dive beneath, thrashing. I reprimand myself, meanwhile. How could I never have noticed? It’s been so long since we last went to the beach, she reminded me of that. The danger of inexperience!
Grasping her taut, I haul her up towards the surface. Analysing her possible injuries, a deep sense of foreboding fills the pit of my stomach. Her eyes are shut. Closed. Unopened. At the very least: unconscious. The word reverberates around my brain.
Giggling, we skip over the stepping stones in delight. Our mum watches with pride as her daughter and son jump over the crashing river. “You’re so brave!” The words ricochet, even now. As she pauses to grin at our mum, it escapes me that the stepping stones are now blocked. My determination dominates my observation, and instead I step directly into her legs. It sends us both cascading into the yawning river. I hit lucky and grasp the neighbouring embankment, but she hits her head on the stepping stones as she falls. Her head bleeds. Her eyes close. Her smile vanishes.
Fuelled by the events of ten years ago, I have an uncontrollable desire not to let that day repeat itself. Consequently, I haul her ashore in determination.
Momentarily breathless, I only stare.
A haunting, intriguing and beautifully described piece, with a great use of flashbacks. Fantastic work, Eliana!
RUNNER UP: The Beauty of a Family by Ellen Dries, 16 (extract)
Sprawled across the bedroom floor once again, the world shifts into focus. Whose womb I was born of is irrelevant- the stars are my brothers and sisters in this moment, and they’re encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Mother Nature and Father Time are feeding me all that I need, giving me the tools that I’ll require to achieve my aspirations. If I am certain of one thing, it’s that they are my family. That, I suppose, is the beauty of a family; there’s a flexibility to the structure, whereby you can choose who is truly your family and either endure or cut ties with the rest. Perhaps it sounds cutthroat, but, I promise you, the stars will never break your heart. Mother Nature will always provide for you; Father Time will always be there.
A powerful and atmospheric piece, with an interesting idea at its core.
Grace Barrett, 14 – a great writing style and an intriguing concept. Well done!