Ian McMillan interviewed by Eloise Unerman

Hive Young Writers’ Competition Results

We are delighted to announce the results of our 2019 Young Writers’ Competition!

Open to young writers aged 14 to 25 across the Yorkshire region, the competition spanned short story, flash fiction and poetry. We were amazed to receive a whopping 500+ entries – that saw young writers scribbling from the near and far reaches of Yorkshire.

Fiction judge, Angela Readman said: ‘It was a joy to judges this competition. The stories never failed to surprise me and the standard of writing was high. These are writers I know I’ll be seeing books by in the future. It was an honour to read their work and give them the encouragement they deserve.’

Poetry judge, Ian McMillan said: ‘The sheer exuberance, excitement and craft of writing by young people always delights and heartens me. In turbulent times we look to writers to be mirrors of society and imaginers of what that society could become, and there’s plenty of that on display here!’

If you entered the competition, and weren’t placed in the below list, don’t be disheartened. Keep writing! We’re looking forward to hearing from you again next time.

The prize giving will take place at Hive’s Young Writers Festival Day on Saturday 13th April in Sheffield. Join us for an inspiring day of all things words!
Big thanks to: Our judges Ian McMillan and Angela Readman, the photographers who allowed us to use their images as writing inspiration, and also thanks to the wonderful Reading Agency, Arvon & The Literary Review for prize donations. Also, thanks to all how encouraged young people to enter from schools to youth clubs to unis! 

14-16 Age Category

‘Winning 1st & 2nd place is an amazing experience, especially since this has been the first time I’ve sent out fiction. It’s incredibly rewarding to be recognised by such amazing judges too. Thank you!” Georgie Woodhead

1st: Burger by Georgie Woodhead: The serious subject matter was handled perfectly. The writer’s choice of details and description gave the work a surreal quality, as well as urgency.’
2nd: Before you were a surgeon by Georgie Woodhead: I love the imagery in this, and the way the poem leads skilfully and beautifully to the last couple of lines.’
3rd: An Ode to Every Character I’ve ever Read by Anni Hodgkinson: A complex song of praise to reading and how it shapes us.’

Highly Commended 14-16 (in no order)
Kaleidoscopic Spectacles by Lily Webb (& special mention, top 4): ‘The sense of rhythm was striking in this closely observed piece. The writer invites the reader to look around and think.’
Different by Isobel Harrison: ‘This story had such strong description. The reader could really see what the character saw and walk in their shoes.’
Breakfast by Naomi Thomas:  ‘A highly imaginative piece that was fun to read.’
Earthquake by Sundus Yassin: ‘I like the tightly-packed language here, and the way that the lines are organised, giving the ideas and images extra power.’

Commended 14-16 (in no order)
You Did This by Julia Coyle:‘I love the excitement of the language here; the rhythm, the rhyme, the songlike quality.’
After the Fire by Henna
Ravjibhai: ‘The sense of character in this story was great. The work used all the senses to convey a place.’
A Night Fit for the Worthy by Sarah Tunsall: ‘Rich, luscious description, all the senses were really used in the writing.’
Run, Hide, Tell by Lily Collinson: ‘I like the fact that this poem is mysterious; it makes me think and work hard, which is what poems can do more than any other kind of writing for me.’

17-19 Age Category

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to write for such a thought-provoking competition and even more delighted to have won. I’m so grateful there are organisations like Hive which make it possible for young people to express themselves in writing and be recognised for it.” Eve Thomas

1st: Bodies by Eve Thomas: A wonderful story, the sense of defamiliarisation and feeling uncomfortable in your own skin was powerful.’
2nd: Dad by Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith: ‘Emotion and memory meet craft and skill in this superb poem.’
3rd: Rebellion by Bethany Wilson: ‘A moving story, sensitively written. The story ploughs forward with the pace of a march. The use of colour is particularly strong.’

Highly Commended 17- 19 (in no order)
Choose by Shannon Johnson (& special mention, top 4): ‘A chilling, powerful, visceral poem that won’t let you go.’
Winter’s Work by May Norwood: ‘Such a careful consideration of the seasons in this myth, the imagery was stunning.’
The Door by Luke Worthy: ‘A poignant and enigmatic piece. This is one to keep coming back to, the details provide a striking contrast to the confined perspective.’
The Lanyons by Eve Thomas: ‘This story showed a real understanding of plot and structure. There was tension throughout.’
Kappa by Luke Worthy: ‘The details were beautifully observed in this fairytale, whilst allowing the figure of the Kappa to remain intriguing.’
No-body by Beth Pearson: ‘I like the risks this one takes in style and punctuation; they made me look harder, read more closely.’
Fire by Ciah White: ‘I love the controlled anger in this one, lines doing the heavy lifting, forcing the reader to ask hard questions.’

Commended 17-19 (in no order)
The Frame-Headed Girl by Jade Beachell: ‘Such a visually striking story.’
Heaven Below by Ben Horton ‘An original story, described so precisely it was as clear as looking at a photograph.’
Broken Sonnets for H by Rory Sanger: ‘Wonderfully ambitious; the writer is fully in charge of the subject and the form.’
Right Thumb, Numb by Chloe Holland: ‘I like the exuberance of this and the way it tackles complex cultural and linguistic issues with a surefooted energy.

20-25 Age Category

“This is surreal! I’m so grateful to the judges for believing in my work while I was struggling. You don’t have to be fancy and fabulous in your writing – your truth is good enough.. It’s your poetry and you mustn’t be afraid of that.”  Danae Wellington

1st: Lessons from Mama by Danae Wellington: ‘Powerful and lyrical language that almost sets the page on fire; here is a poem for the eye, the ear, the mind and the heart.’
2nd: Me, Myself, I by Cherry-Mae Whitehead-Howse: ‘This is a fascinating story, vivid, clear and chilling. It was thrilling to read it.’
3rd: It Won’t Last Forever, Either by Joseph Whittaker: ‘I like the mixture of control and lightness of touch here, always moving away from nostalgia into areas of pure emotion.’

Highly Commended  20-25
Leaves by Louisa Rhodes (& special mention, top 4): ‘Beautifully written, sensitive, and moving. This story did so much in so few words. It was bold in structure, moving like falling leaves between different characters.’
A Plea for Future Winters by Beth Davies: ‘A beautiful poem of memory and personal history.’
Nanny’s Tupperware by Safia Khan: ‘Beautiful. I’m impressed by the way that line-endings and stanza breaks are used with real assurance.’
The Many Faces of You by Francesca Bone: ‘I loved this curious, disturbing and imaginative portrait of a relationship.’
A View from a Window by Frankie Speake: ‘The sense of character in this was astounding. The writing was so vivid the reader could empathize what it may feel like to be in their situation.’
There’s a Bird in the Garden by Lucy Finnighan: ‘A wonderful example of a writer cleverly using restraint and small details to reveal something so big we don’t feel able look at it directly.’
Shangri-la by Rosanna Hildyard:Lively, fresh work, the voice and energy in this was spectacular.’

Commended 20-25
What the River Did by Rachel Gendi: ‘Right from the first line, this story drew me in. The language to describe the river was extraordinary.’
And Another by Sam Wood: ‘I like the ambition of this poem; some poems are small and contained and this one glories in its sumptuousness.’
Yearbook by Beth Davies: ‘I love the ending. ‘anecdotes become eulogy’ is very wise.’

Lessons from Mama by Danae Wellington: ‘Powerful and lyrical language that almost sets the page on fire; here is a poem for the eye, the ear, the mind and the heart.’


Ian McMillan is veteran British poet from, and still residing in, Darfield, Barnsley. He’s published over 30 books and presents The Verb on Radio 3. He’s been a broadcaster, commentator and programme-maker for over 20 years, appearing regularly on television and radio and contributing articles to national newspapers and journals.

Angela Readman is a short story writer and poet. She has twice been shortlisted for the Costa Short Story Award. Her debut story collection Don’t Try This at Home was published by And Other Stories in 2015. It won The Rubery Book Prize and was shortlisted in the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. She also writes poetry, and her collection The Book of Tides was published by Nine Arches in 2016. Something Like Breathing is her first novel.

About Hive Young Writers Fest 2019

Hive Arvon retreat bursaries

Are you an emerging young writer aged (18 to 30 in South Yorkshire) keen to transform your writing practice?

Hive have teamed up with leading creative writing charity Arvon to support passionate young and emerging writers to further their writing goals via a number of bursary awards for Arvon residential courses.

You can apply for up to a 90% discount on a course taking place between April and early September 2019. This is an exciting opportunity to develop your writing, work with celebrated writers (both through workshops and one-to-one tutorials), and immerse yourself in a week dedicated to your chosen writing interests while meeting other writers from far and wide.

Arvon have three writing centres in Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire offering inspiring and transformative residential courses and retreats in beautiful surroundings led by highly acclaimed writers, spanning poetry to playwriting, song to screenplay, fact to fiction – from courses aimed at fledgling writers to the more advanced, and retreats offering focused time to write and finish manuscripts.

Who can apply?
Young writers with an interest in any creative writing form/s, from poetry and short story, to novel and script, all interests and starting points. You need to be at a point where you are committed to your writing, and have a portfolio that shows your development to date. This doesn’t mean you have to have been published or have a completely clear direction of where your writing is going. We are particularly keen to hear from young people from diverse backgrounds, and those who feel they wouldn’t normally access this kind of opportunity.

Open to young writers living, based or with a home address in South Yorkshire, from 18 to 30 years of age (at the time of attending their chosen course), who have not previously attended an Arvon away residential (Arvon City courses are fine).

Deadline for applications: 11.59pm Friday 5th April 2019 (note – this date has changed from 2nd April)
All applicants will be contacted by email by mid-April.

To view the courses on offer, and to apply and download the application form, see below.

Travel costs not included. Advanced rail fares can offer return tickets from £20 from across the South Yorkshire region to Arvon centres. Note the Shropshire and Devon centres will be more expensive to travel to (but bargain tickets can still be found in advance).

Arvon is a national creative writing charity that produces residential and city-based creative writing courses and retreats for schools, groups and individuals. Founded in 1968, many of the UK’s most prominent writers have taught on Arvon courses, including Carol Ann Duffy, Malorie Blackman and Simon Armitage. www.arvon.org

Kindly supported by Arvon, Arts Council England and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire.

Hatching a Cinema For All…

The wonderful Cinema For All have chosen young writers from Hive to become cultural film programmers, setting up inclusive film screenings for young people in Burngreave, Sheffield to inspire them to write.

The project, currently awaiting a name and led by young writer and singer, Danaë Wellington, will see Burngreave Library transformed into a cinema showing seminal liberation-through-the-power-of-words films including SLAM (Marc Levin/Saul Williams), Freedom Writers Diary (based on the true story of Erin Gruwell and her young Freedom Writers) and Straight Outta Compton (a biopic about west coast hip-hop collective NWA).

The project hopes to give out free writing journals and will support emerging writers to lead workshops exploring writing and poetry based at the library.

The Cinema For All initiative, Launchpad Hothouse, is providing training sessions, bursaries to cover the first film licenses, free-loan equipment, and Cinema For All membership for the year. Hive is supporting the young team through organising and marketing, and Danae Wellington through mentoring and delivering follow-on workshops as part of the Hatch programme – developing young writers for next steps.

It’s hoped that the project will join with another Sheffield Hatch project to showcase work in spring 2019.

Watch this space for updates!

Big thanks to:
Ellie Ragdale from Cinema For All who’s supporting the project, and to Marcia Layne and Erica Patterson at Burngreave Library

About Cinema For All
Cinema For All believes that watching films as part of a community can change lives. It supports grassroots, community, volunteer-led cinema and has an impressive 70-year history in the UK. Its office is based in Sheffield but it runs projects across the country. Traditionally community, volunteer-led cinema was found in more rural areas. These days, you’ll find it everywhere!

Find out more about Cinema For All at cinemaforall.org.uk

Penistone Grammar Anthology

We’re delighted to launch Penistone Grammar School’s wonderful student anthology – Everything that ever happened. Students worked with author and Hive facilitator Nik Perring over four after-school sessions. Although this wasn’t long, it proved to be a wonderfully fertile time as you’ll see – there’s a wonderful variety of stories and poems to enjoy.  You can read it here.

A huge thanks to all at Penistone Grammar School, especially to English teacher Miss Stokes who was wonderfully enthusiastic about getting this project off the ground, giving up her time and offered ongoing inspiration to everyone involved.

Hana Ready
Jake Fitzgerald
Rosie Morritt
Jake Fitzgerald
Nellie Webster
Rhianna Edwards
The Hidden War
Rosie Morritt
Joshua Power
Erin Parkes
Holly Prew
Hannah Frank
Laura King
Urszula Zobczak
Jess Firth
Hollie Smith
Joshua Power
Rachel Ward
Billie Rose
Annabelle Widdows

Supported by Penistone Grammar School

Hive young writer Sile wins BBC Radio presenting contract!

We are beyond excited to congratulate young writer, performer, presenter and all-round creative talent, Sile Sibanda, who, at just 21 years old, has WON BBC Radio Sheffield’s THIS IS ME presenting job!!

This couldn’t have happened to a more humble, nurturing, positive and hard working young woman. Sile is a joy to work with. When we saw the job we knew it was made for her. Sile has hosted various events for Hive and it’s been clear each time, she has a natural and warm talent for engaging people.

Off she went in December to the auditions at Rotherham’s New York Stadium along with 150 other people. And the standard, says Sheffield’s Lord Mayor Magid Magid, and presenter Toby Foster, was very high. Even shortlisting down to 15 they found it hard to pick the final 3, but there was Sile!

Since moving here as a young child from Zimbabwe, Sile has taken every opportunity with both hands. Always about giving back and enabling others, she has done tons of fab community work over the years particularly supporting younger children in her home town of Rotherham. Sile is exactly who BBC Radio Sheffield need on their team, and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to.

Massive congrats also to Matt Weigold and Abby Russell, both very deserving and talented (and also both spoken word poets!) Both were humble and gracious and thrilled Sile won. And really great of BBC Radio Sheffield, they are hoping to work with them both also in the coming months.

Tim Smith head of BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire said: “Although our teams are from all over, we do acknowledge that the BBC serves some more than others. There’s a lot of research been done and we can see the data now. Hopefully, by reaching out and recruiting beyond the usual channels, Radio Sheffield will be listened to by, and representative of, more people.”


Sile said: “I’m truly so, so thrilled. I can’t believe it. I said once, pointing to BBC Radio Sheffield, one day my picture’s going to be up there. And I didn’t know why, I just thought it might. And look!”

Sile, we’re thrilled for you…congratulations! 🙂

Photos: Sile with her younger sisters | proud mum & dad with Tim Smith from the BBC | with Matt Weigold & Abby Russell (the finalists)

Eloise Unerman named Barnsley Young Poet Laureate

Young Barnsley poet wins local accolade
Congratulations Eloise Unerman!

On 25th March, 19-year-old Eloise Unerman of Goldthorpe will be named Barnsley’s Young Poet Laureate in recognition of her ongoing literary achievements.

Eloise, who has attended Rotherham Young Writers since she was 14, has already achieved a huge amount of success including winning the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017 and being young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival earlier last year. Eloise has been apprentice poet for a while preparing for the role by writing poems inspired by Barnsley Museums’ collections and sites.

‘The exciting thing about poetry is that it’s a constantly evolving and changing art form, and it’s great that in Barnsley we have a new generation of poetry on the rise.” Ian McMillan

Visit Hear My Voice to book a place, and look out for a brilliant interview by Eloise with Ian McMillian posted after her appointment. 

About Young Poet Laureate, Eloise Unerman:
Eloise Unerman is a young writer from Goldthorpe, Barnsley who writes poetry and short stories, and is a member of the Hive Young Writers network and a recent new member of The Writing Squad development programme. She was awarded the Cuckoo Northern Writers Awards in 2017, and her poetry has won first prize in the young people’s categories of the Barnsley Hear My Voice competition 2017 and the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2017. She has since been awarded young poet in residence for the Ledbury Poetry Festival 2018 where was was commissioned to write her first poem.

Eloise received a commendation in both Photofictions 2014 and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017 and she was shortlisted for the New Poets Prize 2016/17. She has been published in anthologies such as: Anthology of Young Poets (Paper Swans Press 2017), Introduction X (The Poetry Business 2017), and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Online Anthology (The Poetry Society 2018). Listen to her read at Ledbury here.

About the Poet Laureate, Ian McMillan:
Ian McMillan currently presents The Verb on BBC Radio 3. He also writes weekly columns for The Yorkshire Post and The Barnsley Chronicle.

Ian is Barnsley’s Poet Laureate and ambassador for Hear My Voice a Barnsley based programme of creative opportunities, activities and poetry-themed events, designed to engage, stimulate and inspire interest in the spoken and written word. Check out The Verb

Stacey Sampson at Hall Cross Doncaster

On behalf of Hive, actor, writer and facilitator, Stacey Sampson recently worked with students at Hall Cross School in Doncaster. The group engaged in a mix of practical drama and writing exercises and Stacey spoke about her journey to being an actor, writer and everything in between! From joining a local theatre group as a child that led to her first professional gig as a teenager, to how she developed into writing for theatre, and wrote her first novel.

“It was great having Stacey come in. She stressed the importance of writing being about building from the ground up, and about memories being the best things a writer has. They are just stories waiting to be told.” Ciah, Hall Cross Student

“For me, finding a group of like-minded people was magic. I started youth theatre when I was 13 and discovered not only a ton of new friends (still my best buds 20 years later!) but also came into contact with professionals who put their heart and soul into supporting us, imparted incredible skills, and made sure we heard about every opportunity going to further our dreams. There was never pressure to be the next big thing, only to go at our own pace, hone our crafts and most of all, have fun. I became aware that careers in the arts were accessible – Even to me! And regardless of who decided to pursue that path, we all gained irreplaceable confidence to take with us into the world. Organisations like my youth theatre, and like Hive (Doncaster Young Writers) can be life-changing. You might not know it at the time, but such rich experiences and relationships forged in brilliantly creative surroundings set off sparks that burn long into your future.” Stacey Sampson

Thanks to Mike Dougherty, Head of Performing Arts for helping to arrange this visit.
If you’re a young person (14-19) in Doncaster, or at Hall Cross, and you like writing…join us! Free and relaxed sessions fortnightly. More info.

Stacey Sampson – actor, writer and facilitator

Stacey Sampson is an actor, writer and facilitator born and bred in Rotherham. She has worked in theatre, film and television for twenty years, and is known for her role as Jennifer in Channel 4’s This Is England series (’88 and ’90). Stacey is an Associate Artist with Third Angel and several other companies and her plays have toured nationally to theatres and non-traditional spaces.

She also specialises in collaborative writing and regularly works with schools, libraries, young offender programmes, mental health and homelessness organisations to create bespoke scripts and performances. Her children’s fiction has won the Mslexia Novel Competition, a Northern Writers’ Award and the Arvon Award.

Ideas of Britishness

Emerging young writers from Hive are currently working with writer Desiree Reynolds on a set of commissioned poems, for filmmaker Eelyn Lee, exploring their ideas of Britishness and identity. A selection of the work with be featured in a film Eelyn is making for FURD (Football Unites Racism Divides), exploring these ideas through poetry and interviews. The film will premiere at the Showroom on Tues 12th March, and will be circulated in schools and community settings to get people discussing the topics raised in different ways.

In partnership with Eelyn Lee & Furd (Football Unites Racism Divides)

Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire