Winners announced at Born to Write Prize Giving Ceremony

On Wednesday evening, winners from 17 schools across Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire attended St Mary’s Born to Write 2019 prize giving ceremony, supported by the Blackmore Vale Magazine.  More than 230 entries were submitted on the theme of Space from pupils in Years 4-9.  BBC presenter and Wellcome Book Prize judge, Razia Iqbal, who judged the competition, praised the 28 young writers shortlisted for the quality and standard of their writing and the willingness to stretch the imagination. She commended them for having the courage to write and the confidence to see it through: “If you have things in your head that you’re not reading, then you’re born to write,” she said.

Razia, who judged the entries without any knowledge of the writers’ names or schools, announced the Year 4-6 category winner as Jemima C from Sandroyd who wrote a clever and witty story about a spacebar on a keyboard. The Year 7-9 category winner went to Otis I also from Sandroyd who wrote a deeply moving story about lack of space on a boat for a refugee. Finally, the overall winner was Scarlett C from St Mary’s Shaftesbury who wrote a story about the space left in a nursery during the Holocaust in which a nurse rescued babies from the Nazis. The story was, “immediately serious, well-written and about a subject so familiar to many.” Razia congratulated all the writers who took part and said, “It’s been a privilege to read your stories and please don’t stop writing.”

Commenting on what inspired her to write her story, Scarlett, said, “My mum is Jewish and took us to Amsterdam last summer to visit the Holocaust museum which has a crèche next door. This inspired me to write a story that I felt needed to be heard.” When she heard she had won the competition, she said, “I really didn’t think I would win and couldn’t believe it when they started reading my story out. I’m so happy.”

Congratulations to all those who took part, in particular to those who received Highly Commended awards: Polly R P (Hanford), Rose H-R (Ludwell), Alistair S (Perrott Hill), Fearne S (Motcombe), Lydia S (Shaftesbury), Margot H and Florrie C-D (Wardour Primary), Matilda R and Jack P (Gillingham), Jessica R (Archbishop Wake), Arthur de L (Castle Court), Izzy C-N and Philippa D (Knighton House), Alice H, Melo L, Grace C, Sofia S and Oliva TT (St Mary’s Shaftesbury), Ashton B (Broad Chalke), Benji M, Esme H, Freya J and Kitty P (Sandroyd), Orlando B (Port Regis), Lara C-S (Farleigh), Olivia M and Lola C (Bruton School for Girls) and Amy V (St George’s Warminster).