Young Writers win National Accolade in Story Competition

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Two King’s School pupils will have their thought-provoking short stories published in an anthology of the country’s best young writers after coming in the top 30 from thousands of entries in the ‘National Short Story Week’ competition.

Schools across the country were invited to submit entries to the annual literary event with King’s pupils Millie Brierley winning a runners-up award in the Year 7 category and Rowan Sutton in the Year 8 section.

This year’s theme for entries was ‘Lies’ with both Millie and Rowan penning pieces between 900 and 1000 words with twists, turns and dramatic denouement to leave the reader in a state of high suspense.

Millie’s story centred on a young girl who comes across a wishing tree in a forest with a special rhyming message: “One wish only, understand? There are rules, so listen good. No one killed or back from the dead. Once you wish, that wish cannot be unsaid.”

She chooses to change her identity, only to find that her new life of luxury and privilege does not bring her happiness. She has been transformed into an attention-seeking, spoilt brat who lies constantly embarrass her parents.

Millie, who is also an accomplished artist as well as being a talented young writer, said: “The secret is to use a lot of descriptive words and add as much detail as possible.”

Rowan centres his story on a young boy who knows when anyone and everyone is lying and how what might be seen as a blessing becomes a curse: “He could see a sphere above every person’s head in which there was their ‘status’ as he liked to call it. It was simple. The sphere was green if they were telling the truth, black if they were lying, and white if they told a white lie. As he walked down the street, the conversations around him showed up in lots of different colours, most of them green with the occasional white or black.”

Rowan, who also enjoys Science and Latin as well as English, said: “The secret is not only in the writing of the story, but just as importantly in editing your work. I took two days to write my story, then came back and spent another two hours polishing it.”

King’s Girls’ Division Librarian Olivia Walwyn, who helped organise the entries, said: “To have two of the award winners in one school is fantastic. Millie’s and Rowan’s stories are highly imaginative and pose perplexing moral questions. They are also full of lively details and buoyed along by a sustained narrative pace.”