The Jemima Layzell Trust are delighted to announce this years winners for their Creative Writing Competition.
Huge congratulations to Elsie Swatridge winner of the age 6-10 category and Daisy Hickson winner of the age 10-14 category
The title ‘New Beginnings’ was chosen to highlight how organ donation recipients might feel after transplant, but entrants were encouraged to use the title as a springboard to spark ideas on any theme they felt inspired by.
Entrants in three categories were first read by our experienced panel to create a shortlist and all shortlisters receive a £10 book token courtesy of Yeovil Community Arts Association. The final two were chosen by our patron Michael Morpurgo who like us was delighted by the standard this year.
He says, 'Wonderful writing, full of great detail and well crafted. Love to you all’
This is such amazing feedback and why we love our competition. For children’s literary talent to be recognised is so important, as slowly creative writing is being lost from the national curriculum. How else will the new generation of Morpurgo’s and Dahl’s exercise and hone their craft?
Signed copies of ’The War Horse’ are on their way to the winners who will also be invited to meet Mr Morpurgo as soon as a local event is scheduled. They will be joined by last years winners as Michaels poor health made any arrangements difficult last year.
Winner age 6-10
I was sitting in my old beloved chair. Staring at the roof with my pet dog below me. I was thinking about what to do next. Finally, I went and fetched a sewing needle I found a old dress. I felt sorry for the dress so I get my purse and go to a fabric shop to buy the prettiest thing there. Soon I returned to the closet with the fabric. I fix the stitches and patches, the holes, the lace and everything you would see on a old dress.
A few hours passed and soon the dress was the prettiest dress you would ever see. Then I put it on. But in the next year I had a baby. Years went by and my daughter grew. She helped me with the dress when I needed to put it on. Soon she was a adult and I left the dress completely. After years passed, the dress grew old and disgusting again. I found the dress when I was sorting out my closet so I used the same fabric I used when I was a young woman. Once it was fixed again I used it everywhere!
Shortlister age 6-10
A long long long time ago there lived a man called Bob and also another man called Jack. They lived in a house that looked weird. But it wasn’t the house that was important it was the garden the grass shimmering and the green house, but he did not have any animals or plants.
One day Bob found a bunch of flower seeds next to him Jack also found some fruit plants next to him they ran outside and planted and planted until it was night time and it was bursting with rain. While it was raining the plants grow and more animals came and birds flying. It became more colourful and more full garden ever but then more and more and more seeds but the seeds were colourful the flower were very colourful and it wasn’t just the flowers that was colourful in Bobs and Jacks garden that was colourful. When everyone walked past they stopped and looked in and never stopped.
Winner aged 10-14
His hand flickered, like the soft burning of a growing flame, gradually escalating more and more. His writing grew harsh and spiky, scarring my memory of the once perfect letters he used to send me. I observed as my grandfather let out a disturbed sigh and stared into the river of ink meandering across his paper. The academic scholar realised that he was trapped inside the body of a collapsing man.
That evening, I helped my grandmother prepare the vegetables for their supper; a job that would have been fulfilled by my grandfather little more than a year ago. Today, Grandad was reclining in the sitting room – a contented look spread across his eyes as he gazed at the sinking sunset. Although his hand was shaking as he formed the words on his notebook, he seemed to have an air of purpose and confidence that had been missing for months. I turned to Grandma and inquired as to what had happened in his meeting with Doctor Ennis this morning to bring about this unexpected alteration. I noted that the mound of peeled vegetables did not stop growing as she responded to me:
‘Rodney took his notebook down to the hospital to meet the consultant – as punctual as ever at ten to the hour, you know your grandfather and his predictable routines. From what I can gather from the notes he transcribed, it seems that the two of them managed to reach an agreement. Doc has said that the symptoms are worsening, and there’s nothing to stop them continuing to progress. But Rodney seems to understand now that he can only get on with the things he enjoys best if he accepts how it has to be from now on. This has not changed who he is and I most definitely refuse to let anything control our lives. Now, let’s start as we mean to go on; hurry up and finish those potatoes!’
I grinned at my grandmother’s defiance and admirable positive outlook.
Grandad’s life-limiting diagnosis had turned into a life-affirming diagnosis. He accepted his limitations, and was willing to experience his altered and new lifestyle. I gazed at the setting sun from a new aspect; I noticed the spell-binding beauty in the sky as the last few moments of daylight drifted away.
Shortlister age 10-14
I pull the crumpled letter out of the pocket of my space suit. My legs tremble and I grab onto the railings to steady myself.
Dear my future child,
If you are reading this letter, then you are about to step off the home you’ve had for all your life and into the unkown. You’ve grown up on the greatest achievement in all history. Created only because the people who came before you obliterated the Earth I and many others used to live on.
Our Earth was beautiful once, with it’s sapphire-blue oceans and emerald-green plants. Things you may have seen only in books. My home was full of dazzling plants and animals But we took it all for granted. People ruined the natural world, suffocating it in layers of pollution. As you read this, generations of our family will have lived and died on the ship. Even as I am writing this, I know that I will not be alive whe you read these words.
The airlock I stand in feels too loud and too quiet at the same time. People murmur nervously to others or themselves, packed tightly together.
We are made to evacuate our planet. I spent my last few days on Earth packing and listening to the radio. Leaving our home took longer than we were told as the ship was still being prepared. Many lost their lives through starvation or the radiation that plagued our homes. When the ship was finished, only the healthy were allowed on board. I had to leave my sick mother behind.
I gasp out loud. A few people glance sympathetically in my direction, probably thinking I’m scared of what is about to happen. I don’t want to admit that I am.
Now, as I write this, I am an old woman. We are nowhere near the home we were promised. So, I am writing this letter for you to know what it was like.
Take care of your new home.
I fold the letter up and put it back in my breast pocket and listen to a speaker with a voice crackling like leaves being stepped on. It tells us that the airlock door will be opening in ten seconds.
Ten. I close my eyes. Nine.
Three. I am about to leave the ship that has been my home for all my life. Two. We mustn’t take our new planet for granted, else we’ll destroy it. One. The airlock is about to open.
A loud, whirring noise like mechanical wind sounds as the airlock door opens. I touch the letter through my pocket and remember what it said.
Take care of your new home.
Thanks to our loyal sponsors Yeovil Community Arts Association, The Brewhouse, The Lamp magazine and South Somerset District Council.