We are delighted to announce the results of our inaugural Young Writers’ Competition!
Open to young writers aged 14 to 25 across the South Yorkshire region, the competition spanned short story, flash fiction and poetry. We were amazed to receive a whopping 250+ entries – for this our first ever competition – that got young writers scribbling from the near and far reaches of Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and everywhere in between!
Novelist, Kate Long, and poet, Catherine Ayres, described judging the competition as ‘a delight and a pleasure’, and both relished commenting on each of the winners and those commended.
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.
14-17 Age Category (with judges’ comments)
1st: Mourning by Lauren Hollingsworth Smith: ‘A beautiful poem, which describes the bittersweet pang of passing time.’
2rd: The Boxer by Lauren Stockley: ‘Superbly realistic dialogue and control over mood.’
3rd: Daffodils by Abby Jessop: ‘A hymn to childhood trust, incredibly moving and with terrific use of detail.’
Highly Commended 14-17 (in no set order):
Last Notes by Maya Knight: ‘This moving poem slips through time and loss in a subtle, startling way.’
Inspiration by Ellie Wright: ‘A clever evocation of a muse that put me in mind of Ted Hughes’ The Thought Fox.’
Justice by Tim Pikin: ‘Powerful, masterly build-up of drama.’
Memories by Ella Cudmore: ‘Superb control of mood and structure.’
My Shadow is Looming by Lucy Kelly: ‘A terrifically chilling voice; a genuinely unsettling story.’
The Visitor by Caitlin Hardware: ‘A strong sense of fear, vulnerability and pathos.’
Welcome to Rapture by Harry Bickerton: ‘A creepy dystopia, so convincingly drawn.’
Commended 14-17 (in no set order):
Asylum by Isabelle Osborne: ‘A mounting sense of dread and tension until the final hysterical moments.’
Cold Case by Jay Lindley: ‘So neatly done; a study in cool prose.’
The Day the Moon Whispered in our Ears by Rose Holmshaw: ‘A surreal, dark, apocalyptic vision.’
Adam Street by Georgie Woodhead: ‘Fantastic attention to detail and some surprising and unique imagery in this mysterious poem.’
The Field Mouse by Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith: ‘A delightful and refreshing comic voice.’
Whisper in the Wind by Ellie-Mae Britton: ‘A terrific opening line – one of the best I’ve read!’
moon [uncritically examined] by Ben Horton: ‘Unique and startling imagery in this poem, which really made me see the moon differently: “Bold and bright and unashamed, despite the acne” is wonderful!
18-21 Age Category (with judges’ comments)
1st: Losing by Amy King: ‘The beautifully-timed, casual tone of this poem charts all the little things that make a love story. It’s incredibly moving.’
2nd: The Same Bruises by L Worthy: ‘A very moving tale of family bonds and of unexpected salvation.’
3rd: Mornings by Louisa Rhodes: ‘An assured use of metaphor and simile to describe the depth of the ordinary in this clever poem.’
Highly Commended (in no set order):
Mother Knows Best by Katharine Swindells: ‘A dose of magical realism that becomes a dark fable on the theme of patriarchy.’
Unsettled In by Louisa Rhodes: ‘An intriguing story that feels like the first episode of something longer.’
Youth by Louisa Rhodes: ‘A bold and confident vision of a grim future.’
Commended (in no set order):
Five Things about the Curtains by Maia Mchugh: ‘The title alone deserves a mention! The curtains in this poem are used to describe a life, and I loved that.’
Reflections by Rachel Irving: ‘Well-crafted and memorable imagery in this startling poem about physical and metaphorical reflections.’
The Hitchhiker by Katharine Swindells: ‘A poignant tale of human loneliness.
Natalia by L Worthy: ‘A marvellously powerful sense of place.’
The Glass City by Maya Dodsworth: ‘dream-like and disturbing in the way it shifts between two worlds.’
Grandma’s House by James Sunderland: ‘A heart-warming tale of family ties and the strength we gain from ordinary, everyday love.’
22-25 Age Category (with judges’ comments)
1st place winner: Bathing Suit by Jordan O’Shea: ‘Here’s a writer with total control over the music of language, crafting a story of aching loss.’
2nd: listen, right, we know that look by Katherine Henderson: ‘I loved the tone of this poem and the reversal of power it described. It really stayed with me after I’d read it and I kept coming back to it.’
3rd: Like Home by Lois Cuckson: ‘A touching, tender and quirky romance, beautifully explored.’
Highly Commended (in no set order):
Home By Sarah Jane O’Hare: ‘You can read this poem on many levels and it contains some beautiful imagery “You are the stars wrapped in skin”.’
The Drip by Jack Nuttgens: ‘Extremely clever social commentary, written in an entirely believable voice.’
Waiting without Direction by Hannah Thorpe: ‘Hugely atmospheric, almost haunting in its mood.’
The Tear Jerkers by Jack Nuttgens: ‘Almost painful comedy, and brilliantly observed, offbeat characters. Wonderful!’
The Walk Home by Ellie Jones: ‘I loved the change in this poem and the description of the secret, after-school life of a girl.’
Both judges chose Bathing Suit by Jordan O’Shea, as the overall winner of a Kindle Fire HD! ‘One of the best things I’ve read for a long time. I think the author is extremely talented.’ Catherine Ayres.
1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners will receive writers’ kits/goodie bags. As an option, all winners will also receive a free read/edit support and the opportunity to be published in Hive’s forthcoming anthology. Highly commended entries with also be offered a free read/feedback and a writing related treat.
Big thanks to: Our judges Catherine Ayres & Kate Long, the photographers who allowed us to use their images as writing inspiration, and also thanks to the wonderful Reading Agency for book donations to contribute to prizes. Also thanks to Jemma Fisher, High Storrs School Sheffield, Ashley Meakin, Wickersley School Rotherham and Amy Harkins, Horizon School Barnsley and Helen Daly, Kalk Balk School, Barnsley, for taking the time to send student entries.
Catherine Ayres is a poet and teacher from Northumberland. Her poetry collection ‘Amazon’ was published in 2016 by Indigo Dreams. She has been published in many print and online magazines. In 2015 she came third in the Hippocrates Prize and in 2016 she won the Elbow Room Poetry Prize. She teaches English and is about to start a PhD in Creative Writing at Northumbria University. (Photo: Phil Punton Photography)
Short story/Flash fiction
Kate Long is the author of eight novels, including Sunday Times number one bestseller The Bad Mother’s Handbook, which she also adapted for ITV. Her stories have been read on Radio 4, and she has written for national newspapers and magazines such as the Telegraph and Good Housekeeping. She runs regular writing workshops for young people in the West Midlands.