First Story and VINTAGE 100 Word competition winners announced

First Story and VINTAGE are delighted to announce the winner of the 2015-2016 First Story 100 Word Competition.

The competition has been judged by VINTAGE for two years running, and is open to all First Story students aged 11-18. Entries can be prose or poetry and can be on any theme. Fifteen First Story state schools from across the country submitted a shortlist of three entries and a winner was chosen from each, with one overall winner.

The overall winner is Emily Blagrove from Skinners Academy and the runner up is Tala Martelli from Holland Park School.

Winners from each school are:

  • Emily Blagrove, Skinners’ Academy
  • Sara Chowdhury, Forest Gate Community School
  • Scarlett Stokes, Pimlico Academy
  • James Rose, Nottingham Academy Ransom Road
  • Louis Sayers, Acland Burghley
  • Lucy Tirahan, Cranford Community College
  • Gunveen Kaur, Berkeley Primary School
  • Caitlin Charlesworth, Nottingham University Samworth Academy
  • Tala Martelli, Holland Park School
  • Fatema Begum, King Solomon Academy
  • Archie Elliott, Burlington Danes Academy
  • Barirah Ashfak, Feversham College
  • Jessica Krasniqi, Fulham Cross Girls School
  • Julia Chilmon, Dixons Allerton Academy
  • Viktoria Vargas, Arts and Media School, Islington
  • Laura Foster, Abbey Manor College
  • John Medina, Wembley High Technology College
  • Matthew Isaac, Farnborough Academy

Each of the winners’ entries will be published on a postcard, and VINTAGE will provide sets of books as prizes for the winning students.

Emily Webb, Interim Executive Director at First Story, said: “The pieces showcase an incredible spectrum of writing from the hilarious to the heartbreaking – the students have made the most of the challenging word limit to produce immensely clever, pithy poems and stories. By donating both prizes and their time in judging the competition, Vintage enables First Story as a charity to acknowledge the remarkable talent of these young people and to encourage them to keep reading and writing in the future.”

Charlotte Knight, Editor at Vintage Classics who judged the prize, said: “The quality of entries this year was impressive. Many entrants used experimental methods to weave their stories, but the best stories balanced originality with a captivating story in miniature. Sometimes the best way to work out what matters to you is to write something. First Story gives young people an opportunity for expression – Vintage Classics is behind them all the way.”

About First Story

First Story changes lives through writing, running creative writing residencies in schools serving low-income communities, in which talented professional authors work with teachers and students to foster creativity and communication skills. They nurture the development of young people’s creative writing, publish students’ stories and poems in a professionally produced anthology and create opportunities for young people to engage with the wider literary community through literary festivals, university events and other collaborations, including with the Penguin Random House and the Royal Society of Literature.

An independent evaluation in 2013-14 found that First Story increases students’ “overall literacy and sophistication of communication; emotional well-being, self-esteem, resilience and confidence; originality and creativity; and self-reported mindfulness.” By helping students find their voices through intensive, fun programmes, First Story raises aspirations and gives students the skills and confidence to achieve them.

For all enquiries relating to First Story, please contact Stephanie Bennett: stephanie.bennett@firststory.org.uk

For more information from VINTAGE, please contact Rosanna Boscawen: rboscawen@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

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