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May 10, 2021

WriteStuff: record entry from Bailiwick schools

There were no fewer than 656 entries from a record number of 26 Bailiwick schools in this year’s WriteStuff writing competition, organised as part of the 2021 Guernsey Literary Festival.

And this was in spite of the fact that for much of the running time of the competition the island was in lockdown and schools were closed.

This year’s challenge involved children in the four categories, Primary (years 3-6), Intermediate (7-9), Senior (10+), and SEND (special needs) writing a story of no more than 300 words on the theme of Myths and Legends.

The competition was judged by successful UK writers Francesca Simon, Maz Evans, Joanne Harris and Huw Lewis-Jones. Filter judges included Nick Le Messurier, Adam Bayfield, Rachel Wyatt and Catriona Stares. The Write Stuff was sponsored by Julius Baer and supported by the Guille Alles Library, Art for Guernsey, Guernsey Arts, Guernsey Museums and Island Families. 

Winner of the Primary category was year 3 pupil Sophie Harrison, whose story Milk Maid impressed judge Francesca Simon.

‘I loved this terrific story for its humour, surprise ending and sheer fun,’ Francesca said. ‘I was hooked from the great first sentence . . .I also admired the brisk writing style and the fairy-tale sparseness.’

Winner of the Intermediate category was year 9 student Emma Holt, whose story I Ruined Zeus’ Tablecloth was described by judge Maz Evans as ‘a wonderful retelling of poor old Hades, who is always the odd God out in mythology. Your writing is really slick with a lovely comedy tone – and you tell the story brilliantly.’

Best-selling novelist Joanne Harris was the judge of the Senior category (Year 10+) and chose the story by Jordan Guillou, Search for the Unicorn, as class winner.

‘A lovely exploration of a relationship, with a hint of nostalgia for a more innocent time,’ said Joanne, ‘I love the cleverly handled way in which the narrator manages their sympathy and affection for the sister, whilst nevertheless conveying a sense of grown-up scorn.’

For Jordan, it was a good competition year – one of his poems in the Guernsey International Poetry competition was chosen for the Poems on the Move exhibition by acclaimed poet Kate Clanchy.

‘Submitting to competitions gives you a good opportunity to finish things,’ Jordan said. ‘I start a lot!’ Jordan, who is going on to study an English Literature degree, paid tribute to the contribution made by the poetry club run by his school.

SEND primary winner was Colton-Lee Lewis, whose story The Legend of Spike and Tom, was described by judge Huw Lewis-Jones as showing ‘good drama, storytelling and imagination. It made me chuckle and be a little afraid too . . .I really want to know what happens next.’

Senior SEND winner was Harvey Wilson for his story The Curse, described by Huw as ‘simple but evocative storytelling, and full of suspense.’

As well as cash prizes, the winners will be presented with a Write Stuff trophy and a bespoke illustration of their stories by James Colmer. The first in each category will also be displayed as part of an exhibition of watercolour paintings by Charlie Buchanan at the Guille Alles Library from 17th to 29th May, curated by Art for Guernsey. The paintings served as an inspiration for young writers taking part in the competition this year.

The organisers, Anne Wilkes-Green and Catriona Stares of the Guernsey Literary Festival, were delighted with the growth in the numbers of schools taking part in the competition and especially pleased to see Alderney School taking part for the first time and an increase in the entries from Sark, making it a truly Bailiwick competition.
The success of the competition was also welcomed by Jean-Luc Le Tocq of sponsors Julius Baer.

‘This has been a tribute to the creative talent we have in this island, and also to the hard work and support of the teachers in what has been a difficult time for everyone.’

Feedback from teachers and students has been positive, with one teacher writing, ‘We will definitely try again in 2022. We loved the entire process. SUPER AWESOME.’

The awards were presented at a special Guernsey Literary Festival ceremony at Les Cotils at the weekend. At the ceremony, the winners heard from Mr Le Tocq, artists Charlie Buchanan and James Colmer, and Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, president of the Committee of Education, Sport and Culture. 

Results: 

Primary Category (Years 3-6). Judged by Francesca Simon
1. Sophie Harrison, Melrose Year 3, Milk Maid.
2. Amy Tersigni, St Mary and St Michael Year 5, Madame Mahy and the Cat – Retold.
3. Phoebe Collas, Vauvert Year 6, Mermaid Murder.
Highly Commended: Jack Mace, St Mary and St Michael Year 5, The Whisper; Gabriel Snow, St Mary and St Michael Year 3, The Megalodon of Port Soif; Gabriel Bachman, La Houguette Year 5, Legend of Lihou; Scarlett Stanford, Blanchelande Year 5, Princess of Athena; and Annabelle Smith, Vauvert Year 6, The Gift.

Intermediate Category (Years 7-9) Judged by Maz Evans
1. Emma Holt, Ladies College Year 9, I Ruined Zeus’ Tablecloth.
2. Jake Taylor, Elizabeth College Year 8, The One Who Weaves Forever.
3. Josiah Tooley, Grammar School Year 9, Pierre Dumont’s Tale.
Highly Commended: Felix Addenbroke, Elizabeth College Year 8, The Valleys; George Le Roux, Elizabeth College Year 9, Do I Hear Screams?; Max Wrench, Elizabeth College Year 9, Robin Hood; Sam Savory, Elizabeth College Year 8, Theseus and the Minotaur; Rafi James, Elizabeth College Year 7, The Vessel of Evil.


Senior Category (Years 10+). Judged by Joanne Harris
1. Jordan Guillou, Elizabeth College, Search for the Unicorn.
2. Josh Le Sauvage, Elizabeth College, The Titanic Struggle.
3. Henry Lister, Elizabeth College, The Manipulating Motivators.

Highly Commended: Jordan Guillou, Theseus’ Twin; Peter Heyworth, Elizabeth College, Icarus; Naomi Miller, Grammar School, The Boy Who Touched the Sun. Commended: Reuben Montgomery, Elizabeth College, The Eye of the Graeae.

SEND Category: Judged by Huw Lewis-Jones

Primary winner: Colton-Lee Lewis, Le Rondin Year 6, The Legend of Spike and Tom.
Senior winner: Harvey Wilson, Le Murier, The Curse.

Highly Commended: Aaron Mort, Le Rondin, The Spider and the Superhero; Jenson Gray, Le Murier, Legacy of Mars.

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