Ella predicts the future with prize winning story

editorial image

A 10-year-old from Bramingham Park has been named a regional winner in the National Young Writers’ Award.

Ella Sugden, from Pirton School, fought off tough competition from children all over the region with her story, ‘The Tricorniphant’.

The competition, organised by tuition provider Explore Learning which has a centre in Bramingham Park, is now in its ninth year. This year’s judge was TV presenter and adventurer, Steve Backshall. Over 10,000 children from all over the UK entered in an effort to win a trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 worth of books for their school.

The winner will be surprised in a school assembly by Steve, who will announce the National Young Writer of the Year. Every child who entered will receive a certificate to celebrate their story, along with personalised feedback from Explore Learning. The top 10 runners up will also win an engraved pen from National Stationery Week sponsors, Sheaffer. Whilst all regional winners will receive prize bundles with goodies from National Stationery Week partners, Nu notebooks, Mustard, edding, Maped Helix, Write Size, Manuscript and Stabilo.

This year’s theme was ‘The Future’ and children were tasked with writing a 500 word story set in 3017. Robots were overwhelmingly the most popular characters and appeared in almost a third of the entries (31 per cent), whilst teleport, rockets and jets were the common modes of transport in this fictional 3017 setting. Meanwhile, planet earth was the most popular location, followed by the Moon and Mars.

Steve Backshall said: “The quality of the stories was beyond belief! If I didn’t know this was a competition for young writers, I’d believe I was reading the scribblings of Isaac Asimov or Philip K Dick, and while there were elements from the great works of science fiction, every story was original, and had its own sense of individuality. What astounded me more than anything was that these young people had not only imagined future worlds, but imbued them with the conundrums of our modern planet.”

Explore Learning provides English and maths tuition to children aged four to 14, with 126 centres located across the country. They ran a number of creative writing workshops in libraries and schools up and down the country throughout the competition.

Carey Ann Dodah, head of curriculum development at Explore Learning, said: “This year’s National Young Writers’ Awards attracted so many entries so Ella should be very proud of her success. We were blown away with the amazingly creative, thoughtful and inventive stories. We’re thrilled to see so many children demonstrate their interest in such important matters. Trees were mentioned more than phones and political leaders featured in many stories too! Interestingly, Donald Trump was mentioned six times more than Theresa May. It’s so positive to see not only great writing ability but also that children are engaging with key environmental issues and politics.”