Bexhill Academy and Robertsbridge Community College have shared the honours in the local round of the nationwide Young Writer Competition.
Bexhillian Izzy Mitchell won the Intermediate (11-13 years) category and Sophie Channon of Robertsbridge took the Senior (14-17) award at Battle Memorial Hall last Friday.
Both took home trophies from the event, staged jointly by the Rotary Club of Battle and Battle Writers’ Group. Both now go forward to the Kent and East Sussex District final with the chance of becoming national finalists in May. They are spurred on by the knowledge that last year’s local Intermediate winner Ellie Bostock-Smith, of Battle Abbey School, took third prize in the national final.
Two hundred hopefuls from six local senior schools submitted entries on the theme of “Reflections” in this year’s event.
Adjudicators were actor and writer Lisa Harmer-Pope; actor, director and writer Jonny Magnanti and Battle Writers’ Group chairman Roy Chapman.
Six finalists in the Intermediate category and four in the Senior each made their own highly individualistic interpretation of “Reflections.” and faced the prospect of reading their own work. In addition to staff, parents, Rotarians and writers’ group members, the audience included Rotary District Governor Peter West, County Council vice chairman Cllr Peter Pragnell, Rother Council chairman Cllr Paul Osborne and Bexhill Town Mayor Cllr Simon Elford.
Some finalists opted to have their work read for them. Others accepted the offer of compere Rotarian Harold Lawrence to hold the microphone.
Intermediate contender Phoebe McAdie of Claverham Community College read her own as did category winner Izzy Mitchell, St Richard’s Catholic College student Katherine Rubik and Battle Abbey School finalist Ollie Skeet. Vinehall School entrant Ben McCartney’s work was read by Jonny Magnanti. Lisa Harmer-Pope read the work of Robertsbridge Community College’s Emily Reeves.
In the Senior category, Bexhill Academy student Stephanie Barnett’s work was read in her absence by her mother. Lisa read Battle Abbey student Rhian Perry’s work and that of St Richard’s competitor Chloe Wilkinson while eventual winner Sophie Channon read her own winning entry.
Jonny Magnanti said: “We really did struggle this year. In an age when there were many distractions for young people, we have been impressed by the ability of competitors to put their thoughts on paper. I hope every young person who entrered will have the confidence to carry on writing because it was very impressive.”
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