On 4 May, children, families, and teachers attended a virtual awards ceremony for the Bournemouth Young Writers Prize, organised by Fresher Publishing, celebrating young authors from all over the globe, from New Zealand to Denmark to Singapore, and the UK.
Children’s author and Young Writers Judge, Ali Sparkes, hosted the virtual ceremony with BU’s Associate Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Emma Scattergood, who challenged the children to write a short story or poem under 500 words. The winner received £150 of book tokens with a £50 book token for the runner-up.
Emma commented: “I am hugely grateful for this support for the Young Writers Prize from across the university, as well as the parents and teachers who put the effort in to help the children enter… this was no small task! The impact of this competition and the event on all of the children, families, teachers, and schools is so positive and lasting.”
Party hats were adorned for the ceremony and attendees enjoyed snippets of the children’s entries, read by Ali Sparkes. With entries from around the world, the judging team whittled the winners down to two with a runner up in each category. The categories were year three/four and year five/six, with the winning titles “Lila and her Spaceship” and “Furniture Apocolypse” respectively.
Ali said: “It is such a lovely event to be involved with and it means so much to the children, and their families, to be recognised in this way. The standard of entries each year is always high, but this year it was super high."
Christchurch Junior School won the Dorset School award for the most entries shortlisted. Their prize is a class-sized delivery of novels from children’s author Maz Evans funded by BU’s Schools and College Liaison team.
Bournemouth University students, Kira Doak, studying BA (Hons) English, and Katie Havicon, who is completing an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing, volunteered their time to support the competition.
The pair managed incoming enquiries about the competition, social media campaigns, judging, and event organisation and had this to say about the experience: “We were eager to volunteer with the Young Writers Prize as we wanted to gain experience in the field of publishing, and utilise skills learnt on our courses that have been invaluable in our position as publishing and digital marketing assistant. Through the role, we have developed skills relating to administrative tasks, as organisation and communication were essential in ensuring that everything ran smoothly. Also, we have learnt a lot about social media management, having rebranded the children's writing prize from its former competition, Writing Wizardry. The social media campaign has had a wide reach this year, particularly on Facebook with hundreds of impressions on posts.”
Katie Havicon, who has 10 years’ experience as a primary school teacher, added: “Working with Fresher Publishing has been an incredibly valuable part of my student experience at BU, allowing me to expand upon my skills taught throughout my BA English course, as well as allowing me to gain work experience in a competitive field.
“I was eager to be involved given my career and experience in running creative writing after-school clubs before starting this year of study at BU. I’ve enjoyed taking part in the administrative side of running a competition and expanded my knowledge of running a successful promotional social media campaign.
“I’d highly recommend to future students to get involved - reading all the imaginative stories and poems submitted has been wonderful.”
Details of the competition can be found on the Fresher Publishing website.