Thank you to all students who entered our Reading and Writing Competitions. We were delighted to have so many entries and of such high-quality. All the winning, highly commended and commended entries are available to read here, along with comments from the judges.
Competition 1 – Turned
'Pixels Don’t Do You Justice' by Jessica Fraser, De Lisle College
'What a Functional Life' by Elizabeth Fennessey, Tonbridge Grammar School
'Then' by Seiwaah Nana Boatey, Barking Abbey School
'Delicate Binary' by Fahima Begum, St Anne’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College
'The New Normal' by Millie Capehorn, Wycliffe
'Stay Inside - Stay Safe' by Derya Macit, Clapton Girls' Academy
'Then: Personal Reflection' by Francesca Lane, The King Edward VI High School, Morpeth
'Before Everything' by Aaron Gillett, Wilson’s School
'Now' by Marco Lewis, KES, Stratford upon Avon
'Then' by Josie Jackson, Wellington College
We had over 130 entries for the competition and a wonderful array of different kinds of writing, from screenplays and poems to personal reflections, stories and even a beautifully conceived and executed extract from a graphic novel. The writing suggested the richness of what students can bring to their responses to a text when given the freedom to choose an angle or approach of their own.
I wrote my short story long before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic but its relevance to our current world is very clear and many students chose to respond to the story by making powerful and touching links to the experience of a locked-down world. Others used it as a springboard for very different ideas. Some, very successfully, chose to show their insights into the story through textual transformations and adaptations. We could have shortlisted many other entries but the ten we chose are excellent examples of the range and quality of the whole entry.
I was sent a longlist from which I picked these ten, giving special recognition to three, high commendation to three and commendation to four. The three winning entries include a poem, a playscript and a screenplay. In all three cases, the quality of the writing and the thinking shone out.
‘Pixels Don’t Do You Justice’ took up some of the themes of my short story but Jessica really made them her own. It was a beautifully crafted, thoughtfully considered poem that stood up in its own right, with a title and refrain that captured much of what all of us might be feeling in our world of Zoom, Skype and Facetime.
Elizabeth’s ‘What a Functional Life’ skilfully drew on the ideas of alienation and loss of human contact in my story, turning them into a different form, a playscript. I loved her inventive ideas, creating a strange and unfeeling world. I loved her use of stage directions and most of all her brilliant final line, ‘Have a functional day.’
Seiwaah Nana Boatey’s screenplay is an adaptation of my story. I was very impressed with the way in which she conveyed the world through her descriptions of the settings, her clever selection of phrases from the dialogue and her visualisation of how the story might look on screen. This piece showed how much a textual transformation can reveal deep understanding and thinking about the original text, as well as what can be achieved in successfully using a different form to turn it into something new.
Many congratulations to these three Year 11 writers, to all of those on the shortlist and to everyone who entered.
Congratulations to Faith-Ann Fitzpatrick from Wycliffe College for her winning poem 'There is no time', a poem which succinctly captures the speaker’s life before and after lockdown, neatly using the extended metaphor of the exam room to underline how everything changed in a moment.