Former King’s pupil Eleanor Clark is one of just five short-listed writers in this year’s BBC Young Writers’ Competition, run in conjunction with the University of Cambridge and First Story.
Now in its fifth year, the Young Writers’ Competition invites entries from writers aged 14-18 from across the UK, attracting competition from among the very best young writing talents, who submitted a story of up to 1000 words.
The shortlist was revealed on Radio 1’s Lifehacks on Sunday evening, and Eleanor’s story 'Insula' is available via the link below. Eleanor will attend an awards ceremony on Tuesday when the overall winner will be announced live on Radio 4’s arts programme Front Row.
Commenting on Eleanor’s success at making it to the top five, our Head of English, Toby Smith, said:
“Eleanor was already a keen writer when she joined King’s, and she has taken every opportunity to develop her craft, writing extensively beyond the classroom. She produced sophisticated and ambitious responses to challenging creative writing assignments, and has developed an increasingly subtle style, leading to success in local competitions, and now in the biggest of them all. When Eleanor showed me a draft of Insula earlier in the year, I could see it had huge potential as a very compelling short story. Eleanor takes on advice with great intelligence and independence, and she crafted her entry alongside working towards 11 grades 9/A* at GCSE. For a work by a writer of her age it shows considerable maturity and I always thought it would impress, but for her to receive such recognition is absolutely wonderful news and a real indication of what she has ahead of her.”
Judging the shortlisted entries are Anthony Cartwright, author of five novels, including The Cut, recently commissioned in response to the Brexit vote as part of the Peirene Now! series, Katie Thistleton, a live presenter on CBBC and presenter of BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks, Kiran Millwood Hargraves, author of best-selling adventure stories for children, Patrice Lawrence, writer of short stories, and winner of the Waterstones Prize for Older Fiction, and Testament, a writer, rapper and world record-breaking human beatboxer.
Partnering with the BBC, First Story and the University of Cambridge entered into a three-year collaboration that started in 2018. Commenting on this year’s entries, Antonia Byatt, Executive at First Story said:
“Each of these short stories unveils a new distinctive voice, unafraid to take risks with language or to tackle difficult subjects. First Story works to give new young writers from deprived communities across England the chance to write and we are always excited by the incredible standard of work that they produce. These five shortlisted writers are brilliant torchbearers for so much of the young talent waiting to be discovered today. At First Story we believe that there is dignity and power in young people’s stories and here is real proof of that.”
Dr Sarah Dillon, Faculty of English at Cambridge University, added:
“In a modern world in which the pace of life so often outstrips our ability to process it, these wonderful stories all show how words can create a bubble of calm in which to feel, remember, laugh and cry. Our shortlistees represent a new generation of writers whose concerns and use of form both link them to the past and yet depart from it. The University of Cambridge is delighted to celebrate these young women shortlisted for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University, who will shape the future of writing just as Cambridge alumni such as Zadie Smith and Helen Oyeyemi have done before them.”
Click here to listen to all five shortlisted entries: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2Cw8SJ3SH3hxMqD2dblmrdr/the-bbc-young-writers-award-with-first-story-and-cambridge-university-2019-the-shortlist
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