A line illustration showing a stack of books off to the left hand corner. The background is purple and some of the books are highlighted in bright yellow.
A line illustration showing a stack of books off to the left hand corner. The background is purple and some of the books are highlighted in bright yellow.

The following Creative Student Prize submissions were shortlisted from over 400 entries from 14-18 year olds across the UK and Ireland, all responding to the question: what place do books have in your world?

Claire Muhlawako Madzura

Claire is a British-Zimbabwean college student living in Manchester. She enjoys rollerskating (when it's not raining) and is an advocate for youth voice in decision-making.

When asked about Lit in Colour, Claire said: 'Literature is supposed to be a reflection of our world, what it was, what it is and what it can be. An integral part of this is the people who make up our world and so we need to ensure that the world that we express through pen and paper is actually representative of the people in it.'

Claire's video

Elizavita Newton

Elizaveta is a half Russian, half English Year 10 student, who says: "Books open new doors to my imagination. Every book I read, I enter a new world, live a new life, meet new characters and experience how exquisite the delights of reading are. I can travel to space, be marooned on a desert island, find romance, battle magical creatures and even revisit my childhood, just from sitting on a couch!"

A photograph taken of a colourful painting in an A4 notebook. At the centre there is a book with the pages open with light shining from it. A golden fish swims down on the right, and there are toadstools and a deck of cards along the bottom of the page.

"Like in my drawing, a small sketch or line contributes to a larger picture, like a single word takes part in a book.  Each person interprets reading in their own way, letting their mind travel wherever they want, bringing unique people of any gender, age, race or religion together and embracing the rich diversity of the society we live in. I truly believe reading can impact the world, change how people think, teach new things and develop imagination, just like drawing does, which is why I have a passion for both!"

Iffat Rahman

Iffat is a 16 year old young muslim poet, who also goes by the pen name "Nutshella". She is British Sri Lankan and has always written about various issues, both personal and political, such as discrimination, mental health, and the issues that young people face today.

She has been a writer for as long as she can remember, starting off with keeping a diary and writing short stories, then finding a love for poetry and more recently beginning to perform her poems. Her entry, What a Book Is, explores her love of reading, and the impact it has had on her life.

Lily Faust

A digital art piece showing a floating book against a dark blue backdrop. The book illuminates a landscape below it, in warm yellow hues.

Lily says: "I wanted to portray the idea of books opening up to a world that people didn't know they could access. In my view books fabricate a place to escape to and allow people to learn about different cultures or opinions through the characters' eyes." 

Victoria Nyoni

Victoria's entry is a spoken word "about the inclusion (or lack thereof) of marginalised groups in UK education.

Lily says: "I wanted to portray the idea of books opening up to a world that people didn't know they could access. In my view books fabricate a place to escape to and allow people to learn about different cultures or opinions through the characters' eyes." 

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