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Published July 2nd 2020
Young writers 'blow away' judges with standard of entries
Exciting tales of dragons, unicorns and dark forests combined to wow the judges at the literary climax to a children's and young adult's short story writing competition in Tamworth. The judges had the difficult task of choosing from nearly 50 entries submitted by young writers across the borough in the competition organised by Tamworth Borough Council's Arts and Events team. The stories needed to be no more than 500 words long, and could be on any topic they liked as long as they included Tamworth somewhere in the tale. Youngsters aged from five to 19 from across the Staffordshire town competed for a range of prizes including an Amazon Fire 7 iPad, theatre tickets, book vouchers and the fantastic opportunity to have their story read out by local celebrities, plus seeing their tales printed in the local Tamworth Herald newspaper.
The competition, which was supported by local children's authors Katie Pointon and Ben Davis, was split into four age categories: 5-9 year olds, 10-13, 14-16 and 17-19. The winners of the four categories are:
5-9 years – Cavan Roe, aged nine, with his story titled 'The Premier Dream.'
10-13 years – Ella-Mai Gibson, aged 10, with 'WW1 Diary.' 14-16 years – Lucy Walton, 16, with 'Ash and Bones.' 17-19 years – Gabriella Shackles, aged 17, with 'Escape.'
Lucy Walton with her winning entry in the 14-16 age category
One of the judges, Adey Ramsel, Theatre, Artistic and Events Manager for Tamworth Assembly Rooms, said: "This short story competition is something that has been in the back of my mind for a very long time. I have been writing stories, scripts and plays for most of my life, with my first few words written on the top floor of the reference library in Tamworth – pre-internet!" He said the judges had "really enjoyed" reading all the stories that were submitted, adding: "The number of entries and standard we received has been amazing. We have been delighted to help give young people an extra activity to do during lockdown, and have started to look at this as being an annual writing competition."
Seventeen-year-old Gabriella Shackles impressed the judges with her story Escape
Local author Ben Davis, another of the judges, writes his own funny books for older children and teenagers. He said: "Choosing the winners of this competition was such a tough task and I was blown away by the quality of the stories. I would encourage all the entrants, not just the winners, to carry on writing, because there is clearly loads of talent out there."
Local children's author Ben Davis was 'blown away' by the entries
Highly Commended prizes for each category were awarded to: Ella Guilder, aged 6, with her story 'The Unicorn.' Sienna Chandler, aged 10, with 'Humboldt Escape.' Jacob Smith, aged 14, with 'Mistaken Identity.'
Lauren Kerman, aged 17, with 'Time Traveling through Tamworth.'
They will each receive a family pass to a show at the Assembly Rooms when it re-opens.