The Jemima Layzell Trust

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Creative writing competition 2018

Download an entry form here

Download information here

Download a poster here



'The Gift' 2016

Our 2016 winners met Michael Morpurgo at the Quartz Festival at Queens College, Taunton.

Lottie Robertson aged 8 whose work was submitted by Ashlands Primary Crewkerne and Pearl Andrews-Horrigan (15-18) who saw the details of the competition in Brendon Books received their book tokens from Yeovil Community Arts Association and were also invited to attend 'An Elephant in the Garden', or 'Why the Whales Came'  with their family, many thanks to the Brewhouse Theatre.
Both plays are based on Michael Morpurgos stories. 
Their work was also published by The Lamp magazine.

Creative Writing Competition 'The Wait' 2017



We have just heard from our Patron Michael Morpurgo!
He has chosen the final two winners from our shortlist of six...


They are: Lorelei Norbury and Evie Hill

Congratulations, your vouchers will shortly be on their way and we will be arranging for you to meet up with Michael Morpurgo as soon as he is well, and back doing public events.

Many thanks to our judges, sponsors Yeovil Community Arts, and the Brewhouse. The Lamp magazine will be printing the winning entries but we might have missed the deadline for this edition. 
Many thanks also to Damien Boyd for running workshops this summer.

Keep and eye on this page for next years title.


The Wait Lorelei Norbury 

There was once a small, derelict room, that never had a purpose, but it wanted one with all its tiny, dusty heart. It claimed that “a room with no purpose was a wasted space.” and “ If I'm never going to have a purpose, I would've been demolished by now.” Time went on, hours turned into days, days to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, and still, the only change in the small room in the countryside was the amount of dust. Yet, what that small room didn't realise, that unlike the rooms filled with fancy glass tables and presidential meetings, on the outside, this room was beautiful in it's own way. Vines began to snake up the walls, grip the dark window sills and cracking cream paint, holding on to the damaged roof tiles, and with them the beauty of that small room. The rest of the small house the room was attached to was collecting dust and chips of paint on the inside, but on the outside it was forming beautiful gardens of apple trees and flowers. The room waited, and waited, only seeing how old and dusty it was on the inside, not how beautiful it was becoming on the outside.

One midsummer's day, a little girl came to the house on a walk, skipping along, and she asked her dad to pick her up so that she could reach one of the apples. The room was happy to see the girl eating the apple, sitting on the small, chipped bench outside the little house. The little girl and her mother stayed there on that bench, eating the apples and picking flowers, whilst the father went home to get something. He returned with equipment, and they all went inside to explore the house. There was an upstairs and a downstairs, a kitchen and a bathroom, corridors and a living room, and two small bedrooms. The room had waited all it's long life for this moment, where the little girl swept the floors, the mother cleaned the furniture and the father dusted the places they couldn't reach. Soon enough, the house was all clean. They painted the walls with a fresh lick of light cream on the outside, and bright white inside. They painted little vines and birds and flowers on the walls, and the little girl would come to play there every week. The house was happy about this, and so, he would always put out an apple, on the table there for her. The little girl grew into a young woman, and headed off to college, leaving that small room alone once again. The room fell into a state of uncontrollable sadness, but still, every week in summer and autumn, the room would replace the apple, and in spring and winter it would place either a bunch of daffodils or snowdrops, and it kept this up for years.. and years.. and years, but the girl didn't come back.

Until.. one beautiful sunny day, after the girl's last day of university, she came back. She wandered in the door, chatting with another young woman, of the same age. They cleaned the furniture and the floors and the ceiling, painted over all the patterns in the very same paint, and fixed any chips or cracks. The room felt fresh again, and. Yet there was one thing that stood out to the room, and that was how they laid that room in particular out. The young girl that had stopped visiting so many years before placed a large, framed photograph of her as a child, sitting on that bench, eating the very first apple ever picked from this house's apple trees. On the table she placed a clearly very old china fruit bowl, and both the girl and her friend went outside, and they picked enough apples to fill the fruit bowl. They took out a vase, and filled it with flowers, and one little model daffodil, and one model snowdrop. The room was very happy to be remembered, and tears of happiness started flowing out of the holes in the neglected gutter. Over time the house was renovated, and it looked absolutely beautiful, and so the women continued to stay there, having their wedding party in the apple orchards that had grown around the house, staying out late reading with a lantern in the wild flower meadows, and all the while making the small house feel loved.

Because of these- once- young girls, that small room could go up to all the fancy rooms filled with meetings and say, “I told you I had a purpose.”

The Wait Evie Hill 

Sat in the waiting room, I watch the clock tick. 45, 46, 47…Each minute feels like an eternity. I wipe the tears from my salty cheeks and slowly intertwine my fingers. Distracting myself from reality. In my dreams I can escape my fears and doubts and relax in my own little world of perfect. The emotions that are currently clouding my brain do not exist. 52, 53, 54…

A nurse walks down the corridor, giving me a forced smile, which I return weakly. I peer outside the window. The outside world to a passer by would seem like a happy place. People greet each other in the streets, strangers rush to the aid of random people. But that’s only half of the story. If you begin to scratch beneath the surface, what dark secrets would you find?

I’m pulled back into reality by the click of high heels on the polished floor. A stranger walks past me. But she doesn’t say hello. That’s because, in a place like this, the dark secrets of the world slip out of people’s minds and into the atmosphere. Suddenly, everyone is aware of everything. In times of weakness, no one is loyal.

78, 79, 80… out of habit I check the clock again; the trouble with waiting is unnecessary actions become habit. You also begin to assume the worst; your mind travels to dark places. The world seems to move in slow motion as your brain works to hyper speed, moving too fast for you to decipher every piece of information. Your thoughts begin to escape all reasoning. You imagine the impossible. In times of panic your brain shuts down and logic is a distant memory. It’s strange how one false move, one bad decision, can leave you in a place like this, sat down preparing for the worst. That’s the trouble with being human. Compassion and emotions can consume your mind and lead you to act in the moment and make impulsive decisions. Some times for better. But sometimes for worse.

That’s why these places exist, to pick up the pieces of people’s shattered lives and put them back together. Civilians will walk through the steel front doors and call on strangers to make things better. When people are one thread away from breaking, they will trust anyone offering support. As they fall to their knees in desperation, they will take any hand that offers to pull them up. It doesn’t matter how little they know about each other.

But the worst part about the wait is when it ends and you hear the final verdict. The future of your life comes down to this moment. 89, 90, 91…click.



​2017 shortlist:

Congratulations to Lorelei Norbury, Zoe Lucas, Alice Grubb, Evie Hill, Jessica Cooke and Irma Garcia


Awareness and action

The Jemima Layzell Trust, Awareness and Action campaign targets Organ Donation Awareness through literary education and creative writing.
We hope writing becomes a joy and a valuable tool to help sustain all 6-18 year olds through challenging situations. 


Sponsors


Many thanks to our sponsors past and present: The Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton Quartz Festival, South Somerset District Council, Yeovil Community Arts Association, W. Coombes and Sons Ltd and The Lamp Magazine.


Winners

Winners 2015 'When I Grow Up': Ava Leach and Willow Oatley both from Taunton School


Winners 2016 'The Gift' : Lottie Robertson  Ashlands Primary Crewkerne and Pearl Andrews-Horrigan from Queens College.

Winners 2017 'The Wait' Lorelei Norbury and Evie Hill

'When I grow up' 2015

Our 2015 winners met Michael Morpurgo, Jemima's literary hero and the Trust's Patron in September 2015. They each received a special edition copy of The War Horse, which was signed by Michael Morpurgo at his talk 'Fact into Fiction' at Langport Library.
They were given tickets to Michael and Clare Morpurgo's show 'Where My Wellies Take Me Concert' at the Yeovil Literary Festival and also had their work printed in The Lamp magazine thanks to Lionel Ward of Brendon Books.

They are pictured above Ava Leach (6) and Willow Oatley (14).