First Story is a literacy charity that runs creative writing residencies in schools serving low-income communities, with the aim of fostering creativity and communication skills.
Now in its fourth year, the competition, judged by Vintage, is open to all First Story students aged 11-18. The competition comes part way through the school residencies and gives our young writers the experience of crafting something to a specific brief, meeting a deadline, going through a selection process and potentially achieving the first taste of publication success. Entries can be prose or poetry and can be on any theme. Twenty four schools from across the UK submitted a shortlist of three entries and a winner was chosen from each, with one overall winner and one overall runner up.
The overall winner is Rebecca Obadina-Adebowale from Platanos College, London and the runner up is Nicole Fontes from Nottingham Academy, Ransom Road, with an honourable mention for Sophia Chrysanthou from Chelsea Academy, London. Rebecca, Nicola and Sophia will all receive a pile of prize books from Vintage and will have their 100-word stories printed on postcards.
In addition, the best entries from each school that entered the competition will also be printed on postcards and will each receive two prize books. In alphabetical order, this year’s school winners are:
Abi Jay, John Cabot Academy
Aliyah Begum, Feversham College
Andrea Martins, Saint Gabriel’s College
Faatimah Ilyas, Pimlico Academy
Freya Doyle, St. Mary’s College, Hull
George Dring, Radley College
Iqra Shahzad, Southfield Grange Campus
Jaineet Gulabzada, Cranford Community College
Jamie Offen, Sirius Academy North
Jaydon Wilkinson, Hull Trinity House Academy
Joseph Solomon, Woodside High School
Maham Rehman, Wembley High Technology College
Muhammad Hashir, Beckfoot Upper Heaton
Nabilah Yasmin, Heartlands High School
Naerah Chaudhry, Fulham Cross Girls School
Oliver Buck, Willowfield School
Rebecca Adams, Appleton Academy
Rose Halward, Lincoln Castle Academy
Ruby Shrehorn, Risedale Sports and Community College
Sarah-Louise Weston, Hans Price Academy
Suhail Mahomed, Judgemeadow Community College
Joe Pocknell, Raines Foundation School
Zarah Latif, Belle Vue Girls’ Academy
Nicki Shore, Head of Programmes at First Story, said: “The First Story young writers have cleverly used the restriction of 100 words to craft pithy works with powerful voices. The pieces exhibit a remarkable spectrum of writing styles and display thrilling invention. By donating both prizes and their time in judging the competition, Vintage enables First Story as a charity to acknowledge the remarkable talent of these young people and to encourage them to keep reading and writing in the future.”
Frances Macmillan, Senior Editor at Vintage Classics added: “We are always delighted and honoured to be involved with First Story and to be invited to judge this competition. The 100 word stories make for fantastic reading, full of surprise, invention and creativity. It was very hard to choose, but we felt the finalists made best use of the restricted form, conjuring up vivid images and showing their own distinctive voice within just a few words. We want to congratulate everyone who submitted stories and encourage them all to keep writing and reading.”
Read the winning entry
by Rebecca Obadina-Adebowale, Platanos College
You know the forbidden alleyway that lies dauntingly between the launderette and the hotel, the one that your parents told you never to go to, the one that links to the pub and the train station? And you remember the way you’d start running once you’d passed the hotel due to the many stories the kids in the neighbourhood made up about the twenty-four lady? Ironic isn’t it? It’s shocking how much one half of the same street can differ from the other. One half held the houses and the fish and chip shop and the hotel, and the other was consumed by the derelict flats and the scruffy corner shops. And the deeper you’d walk into the street the stranger things got.
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