BBC Young Writers Award

Jane, Year 12, goes to Cambridge University to celebrate being shortlisted for BBC Young Writers Award.

    In July 2018, I was told I had been shortlisted for the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2018 for my short story ‘Firsts’. I was thrilled, because they had received about a thousand entries and I had made the final five!

    On Tuesday 2nd October, I went to Cambridge University for the awards ceremony, where I met the four other shortlisted writers, whose incredible stories reflected diverse issues surrounding mental health, poaching, grief and loss. It was an amazing privilege to talk to writers who were as passionate about writing and social activism as I was.

    We began the day with a private tour of the Fitzwilliam Museum, getting to look at (and touch!) many famous manuscripts from throughout history. Some of these included a fourteenth century edition of Chaucer, the first ever printed edition of the Bible, a first edition of Jane Eyre and, my favourite, a signed copy of a Jane Austen novel.

    Following on from this, we also took part in a writers’ workshop with Young Adult author Sarah Crossan. Sarah talked to us about her writing, and got us thinking about our own voices in the world of literature. She stressed the importance of using our own unique voices to present what we are most passionate about when writing, and not to simply imitate the styles of famous writers, who cannot express our stories for us.

    I thought this was an important message, that we practice writing in our own styles, and formulate our own opinions of the world around us, as no one can tell our stories quite like us. As well as this, I was delighted to meet several members of staff from the University of Cambridge, including Doctor Sarah Dillon, an English faculty member, and Doctor Jessica Gardner, the University of Cambridge Librarian.

    They engaged with us about our stories and encouraged us to apply to the university next year, which I am very excited about!

    Later on in the day, we all changed into our slightly more glamorous attire and headed off to the West Road Concert Hall for the awards ceremony. The ceremony was broadcast live on radio, in the presence of about five-hundred guests, where the winners of both the Young Writers’ Award and the National Short Story Award were announced.
    The radio show lasted about half an hour, and Davina Bacon was announced as the winner for her incredible story on poaching in Africa.

    After the show a celebration was held in the Cambridge University Library for all the shortlisted writers. I was asked by the librarian to sign a copy of the book they had produced, containing all five of our shortlisted stories. I was extremely proud of all the shortlisted writers who had managed to get this far, and could leave knowing our stories were now stored in the University of Cambridge’s Library.

    It was a very profound moment for me and the other writers.

    At the end of the evening, we said our goodbyes. The entire day was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. Even though my story was not the winner, if there was one thing I took from this experience, it would be that each of us has a story to tell. This resounded so well with the message of Sarah Crossan, during our writers’ workshop, who believed so firmly that no one can tell our stories quite like us.


    Owned by: RBG | Last Published: 15/10/2018 12:03:04 | Next Update: N/A


BBC Young Writers Award


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