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Henrietta Branford Writing Competition winners

Henrietta Branford Writing Competition winners

More young people have been writing during lockdown, if the record number of entries to the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is anything to go by.

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition - an annual writing competition for young people - aims to encourage writers of the future. This year there were twice the number of entries as in past years.

Entrants were asked to complete a story begun by last year's Branford Boase Award winner Muhammad Khan, author of I Am Thunder, and six young people have been selected as winners. Judge Prue Goodwin said, "We look for stories that show imagination, originality and a strong voice, and our six winners really stood out."

Announcing the winners, Muhammad Khan said: "I'm delighted that my story starter inspired so many excellent stories and it's made me really happy to hear about young writers turning their hands to writing during lockdown".

The winners are:

Aarush Choudhary, aged 10 years from Isleworth, for A Suspicious Day at School

Aarush's story - a school-based horror adventure – involves escaping an unknown danger; hypnotised school children; strange occurrences in the science lab: and the daring hero toiling away to save the day.
'Clearly, Aarush is an imaginative and able author.'

Jenny Gillon, aged 16 years from Cockermouth, for Death's Journey

'At the beginning of Jenny's story, we have no idea of the identity of the narrator. What we do have is a distinct internal image of the setting and a desire to read on. An engrossing read.'

Eleanor Hetherington, aged 14 years from London, for The Fear

Eleanor's story asks what will happen if, and when, the pandemic is finally under control. Will life just return to 'normal'? 'Written in a mature, considered style, this story hints at possible changes to come in many aspects of our lives. A very well constructed story which is both prescient and chilling.'

Isabelle Nichols, aged 10 years from Hull, for The Undercover Fairy

'We can 'hear' the narrator throughout this story as strange, exciting and nerve-wracking events take place. A really enjoyable read.'

Theo Wild, aged 11 years from Ealing, London, for Stitched Up

'A school-based tale with elements of mystery as well as dread. The final line is particularly scary, leaving readers with a terrifying, lingering image.'

Millie Wilson, aged 11 years from Welling, Kent, for May the 4th.

'With an irresistible opening line, Millie's story takes us straight into a family trip to the cinema. But in a trice, we are in another place, in another time with the alarming prospect of living in a workhouse. A thoroughly ingenious time-slip tale.

The winning stories have all been published on the Branford Boase Award website. A further 14 young writers were Highly Commended.

The winners will receive signed copies of the seven books on the shortlist for the 2020 Branford Boase Award.


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