Young writer delighted with national prize

An imaginative pupil from Challney High school is delighted be crowned a regional champion of the National Young Writers' Award.

Thursday, 8th September 2016, 6:15 am
Updated Friday, 9th September 2016, 10:42 am
Emma Fleckney - Centre Director, Mr Farooq- father, Zeeshan Farooq- runner up and Zamu Bamweyana- Assistant Director.

Zeeshan Farooq, 12, fought off tough competition and had his 500 word story, ‘Wake Up Call’, judged best by famous author Lauren Child, celebrated for her charming children’s stories, including Charlie and Lola and Ruby Redfort.

Young writers across the UK were challenged to create a story with a ‘mash-up’ theme, meaning they had to combine two genres in their tale to impress the judge.

Lauren said: “As I read the entries, what I could see in them was the voices and the personalities of the people who’d written them and that’s really, really important. It’s very hard to write such a short story with a beginning, middle and end without losing the thread.”

The competition is organised by tuition provider Explore Learning, which has 121 centres located across the country providing English and maths tuition to children aged five to 14.

Luton Centre Director, Emma Fleckney said: “We read all the entries we received and Zeeshan’s story really stood out for us.

“He captured this year’s theme of ‘mash-up’ perfectly by combining both fantasy and horror within his story. We are really proud of his fantastic story writing!”

If parents and children are inspired by Zeeshan’s success and would like to become involved in writing, Luton’s Explore Learning centre is located on Dunstable Road, available on 01582 742979.

The top prize this year included a trophy, a family trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 worth of books for the school, so entering next year could see the whole community benefit.

The 2016 winner was an 11 year old, Gracie Harding, from Winchester who triumphed with her story ‘Happy Never After’ and the 2017 competition will take place Monday 6th March – Friday 5th May. Visit: