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Winners of York Literature Festival Creative Composition Competition Announced 


The winners of the York Literature Festival’s creative writing competition were announced today by The Mount School York, which hosts on behalf of the festival the annual competition for young writers and poets. 

The competition invited entries on the theme ‘Cure’ for short stories and poems. Judges praised the quality of entries as ‘excellent’ and were impressed at how the young writers and poets creatively addressed the theme, stating, “There were interesting and imaginative interpretations, with several entries dealing with psychological stress or anxiety, aptly reflecting the concerns of many young people over the last couple of years.  

Local children’s author and illustrator, Dawn Treacher, who was on the judges’ panel, said, “The wealth of imagination and creativity in the short list was wonderful to see.”  

The winners will each receive book tokens from the York Literature Festival and are invited to read their entries in a prize-giving ceremony at The Mount on Sunday 8 May.  

The 2022 York Literature Festival Composition Competition Winners

U 11 Short Story  

1st place: Luke of Knavesmire Primary School. A Journey Through Clouded Waters.  

Judges’ comments:“A brave journey packed with emotion and character. This is rich storytelling with a folklore feel to it.  I love the descriptions of the setting, and the stream of consciousness used throughout, as well as the close attention to dialect. It really left me wanting to read on! An exciting fantasy of sea dragons and shipwrecks ending in a happy family reunion.”  

2nd place: Noah of Barkston Ash Primary School. The Explorers of the Rainforest. 

Judges’ comments: “Great storytelling with a wonderful sense of place. A very visual story full of colour and rich detail. An engaging, pacy narrative in a vividly realised setting using ambitious vocabulary and evocative character names, with a surprising twist at the end.”  

3rd place: Isabelle of The Mount Junior School, My Silent Battle 

Judges’ comments: “A touching story about anxiety which portrayed friendship and acceptance exceptionally well. A gently engaging story, narrated in the first person, drawing on the topical theme of anxiety and inspired by the help given by pets, understanding friends and adults. The use of first-person narration allows us to see inside the main character’s head and sympathise with her. Wonderful characterisation and realistic dialogue throughout, and a real sense of resolution and closure at the end.”  

Age 12 to 15 years Short Story:  

1st place: Bert, Aysgarth SchoolUntitled 

Judges’ comments: “Beautiful evocative language and vivid descriptions gives a real sense of this physical and emotional journey. A very intriguing story- the ambiguity works well. Gives us the sense that it was set a long time ago, perhaps in an alternate universe. Intricate descriptions made the story very vivid. This writer created an evocative interpretation of the stimulus and setting, combined with ambitious figurative language and vocabulary.”  

2nd place, Luka, Coast and Vale Academy. My First Day at School.  

Judges’ comments: “A wonderfully intimate portrayal of the first day at school. Deeply personal and beautifully approached. An excellent portrayal of relationships in school which is boldly handled. An emotive piece, with a satisfying conclusion. I loved the exchange between the characters, it was realistic and amusing. This writer memorably creates the confusing and at times overwhelming experience of a child with ADHD, with an effective ‘cure’ in friendship and acceptance.”  

3rd place, Isabel, Harrogate Ladies’ College. The Good Witch 

Judges’ comments: “A truly ambitious and epic tale that is beautifully executed. The thought put into the structure and the originality of this piece shows great storytelling. Dramatic yet heart-warming. This is an extremely well-crafted and clever story, with a highly effective use of time jumps to show how the past strongly affects the present. Beautiful imagery and description, particularly when the narrator is drinking the water. I enjoyed the strongly cyclical structure of the story very much. The writer effectively experiments with a dual time frame, creating a pacy narrative and very effective interpretation of the stimulus.”  

Age 16 – 18 years Short Story 

1st place Hannah, Coast and Vale Academy. Making A Difference 

Judges’ comments: “A dark, mature and well-paced story which subtly entices the reader toward a powerfully compelling and startling twist at the end. Language is deliberately evocative which allows the writer to switch the mood with great effect.”   

U11 Poem  

Joint 1st place Agnes, The Mount Junior School What Is a Cure? and Edith, The Mount Junior School Perfectly Imperfect 

Judges’ comments: “What is a Cure? portrays an enquiring young mind well with well-structured rhyming. A lively, rhyming, rhythmic response which uses humorous couplets, echoing a Nonsense poem to explore the topic. I loved the rhyming in this piece- the rhyme scheme was consistent throughout, and everything still made sense; none of the rhymes felt at all forced or out of place. Childlike voice is very apparent throughout, which adds to the humorous and light-hearted nature of the piece. The use of short stanzas makes the piece easy to follow.” 

Judges’ comments: “Perfectly Imperfect uses beautiful imagery and evocative language. A sensitive topic well portrayed. This shows a real confidence with language. This poem’s life-affirming, positive message is effectively conveyed using marine and water-inspired imagery. This was an absolutely beautiful poem. The metaphor of the sea worked well in relation to anxiety. The imagery, enjambment and repetition throughout made this a pleasure to read. 

3rd place: Elena, Fishergate Primary School, Birthday Girl! 

Judges’ comments: “Good rhyming and structure. A brief, lively and rhythmical response but limited sense of stimulus. Nice use of repetition. I liked the humorous and light tone throughout. 

Pictured: Agnes, Isabelle and Edith from The Mount Junior School were delighted with their results. Agnes said, “I’m so happy!” Isabelle added, “I felt very proud when I read the email telling me that I’d won an award.”

Edith explained, “I didn’t think that I would win, so I was surprised but pleased to win. I liked the idea of addressing mental health and I prefer writing poetry to writing stories.” 

Principal David Griffiths said, “Personal excellence is in the beating heart of a Mount education. We are proud to host this annual competition in celebration of the York Literature Festival which inspires young people in York and throughout the UK to explore their creative literary skills. This year’s theme, ‘Cure’, intended to encourage young writers and poets to move beyond experiences of the pandemic. As the judges’ feedback shows, these young creatives excelled those expectations. My heartfelt congratulations to each of the winners and I hope we will see you here for the Winners’ Ceremony. Also, my sincere thanks to the many children and schools who submitted entries for this year’s competition. We look forward to hosting next year’s competition and reading your entries.