YOUNG writers impressed judges, who declared this year’s Shoreham WordFest inter-school writing competition the best yet.
Some of the short stories and people were read out at the prize-giving ceremony at Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing last Wednesday, World Book Night.
More than 60 families and friends joined the 25 finalists in the secondary school section for an evening of readings, with an introductory dance by academy student Jamie Lee and stirring music from the BTech performance group.
Supported by Adur District Council chairman Mike Mendoza, the competition, with the theme Little Local Lives, involved three secondary schools in the district, Shoreham Academy, Sir Robert Woodard Academy and Lancing College.
All the shortlisted writers were awarded a certificate and book token and Mr Mendoza was joined by children’s author Julia Lee and crime writer Mark Peterson to judge the overall winners.
Top prizes went to Bethany Cheung from Sir Robert Woodard Academy for her short story, Prince Charming; Bonny Hazlewood from Shoreham Academy for her poem, Library Ants; and Amanda Bailey from Lancing College for her short story, The Cleaner.
Mr Mendoza said: “I really don’t like being a judge as I just want to celebrate all the excellent writing we heard this evening, but among the outstanding contributions, I am glad the judges panel agreed on the final winners.”
Organisers at each school said they were delighted by the turn out and the quality of the writing, and a book of all the entries, produced by Shoreham Academy librarian Rachel Johnson, sold out on the evening.
Dominic Harman, head of English at Lancing College, said: “Everyone seemed to have a great time, and the feedback from parents and pupils has been really positive.”
WordFest chairman Rosalind Turner said the competition was in its third year and this had been the best so far.
“The poems and short stories were diverse, stimulating and well-crafted,” she added.
“Although all the final winners were girls, there were plenty of contributions from boys from all three schools. We are delighted by the enthusiasm from the young people and their families to create and enjoy new writing.”
The primary school section will be judged at a later date, with 73 contributions to be shortlisted. More events for children and young people will be organised as part of Shoreham WordFest, running from September 25 to October 12.