The annual DHSA (Downe House Seniors’ Association) Short Story Competition is a wonderful opportunity for our students to flex their creative writing muscles and share their thoughts on a given theme. This year, Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee was the inspiration with each school section writing on a theme take from one of Her Majesty’s personal qualities. The story content did not have to relate to the Queen, the themes were purely to spark ideas. The Sixth Form were given the theme of Dignity, Upper School had Endurance and Lower School wrote on Wisdom.
The stories submitted showcased a passionate interest for a wide variety of literary genres. The shortlisted work was judged by a panel of DH alumnae with careers or interests in the world of writing and publishing. Mrs Boswell, one of our English teachers, who began the competition, and 2021 winner, Poppy Scales, also joined the panel.
Each school section had one winner and two runners up. Congratulations to our well-deserving 2022 finalists:
Sixth Form winner: Lauren
Sixth Form runners up: Lottie and Mary
Upper School winner: Annabel
Upper School runners up: Isabelle and Effy
Lower School winner: Sophia
Lower School runners up: Rosie and Aryana
These finalists all get considered for the overall prize: The Clare Balding Prize for Excellent Writing. This year the prize went to Annabel, whose name will be added to the trophy that proudly sits in the Murray Centre Library. Annabel wrote a powerful, original story from the perspective of the ship Endurance on its final voyage.
Last week, we held a celebration to honour all our talented finalists. We were delighted to be joined by Poppy Scales, who is currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Poppy led a spirited and motivational creative writing workshop where the finalists were tasked with various writing and thought exercises to conjure up new characters, worlds and plot lines which they took to with enthusiasm and imagination.
Mary – “My favourite thing from the creative writing workshop was creating two different characters and seeing how they interact with each other”
Effy – “My favourite aspect of the workshop was the prompt of a person – any person, your choice – sat behind a tree”
A celebratory lunch followed, with the Catering Department providing a delicious spread in the Boardroom, including cupcakes for all the winners. We were thrilled to be joined for lunch by some familiar faces from the judging panel as well as the English Department. It was wonderful to see everyone bonding over a love of literature.
We are immensely grateful to the DSHA for their generous sponsorship of this event, and we can’t wait to read next year’s stories!
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