Story Competition Winners

An ability to write well is important throughout life, and it's a special privilege to encourage young people to write.

Young writers and their parents gathered for the announcement of prize-winners for the 2023 Forest of Dean Short-Story Competition, organized with the Dean Scribblers and the Dean Writers Circle, and sponsored by the Rotary Club of the Royal Forest of Dean.

Prizes were presented by Roger Deeks, chair of Dean Scribblers, but perhaps more widely known in his role as Vice-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire.

In addition to substantial prizes - the winner in the 15-18 age category took home £100 in cash - all long-listed entries were published in a beautifully-bound anthology.

In early 2023, the Rotary Club of the Royal Forest of Dean joined forces with Dean Scribblers and the Dean Writers Circle to sponsor a short-story writing competition for school children. We felt creative writing to be an important skill to promote life-long personal development, and that we should do something to help. The competition was open to children aged between 7 and 18 in three age categories, living in or attending school in the Forest of Dean District Council area. We reached out for cooperation with local schools and libraries.

'Turning point'
The theme of the stories was 'Turning Point', and three picture prompts were provided to start the creative flow. The guidance to our young writers included: "It might be a turning point in your (or an imagined character’s) life; a turning point in the road or along a Forest track; something which happened in class which changed things; a major event imagined or real. Or let your imagination run riot!

"We are looking for stories which surprise us with their rich narrative, are innovative and with unusual interpretations. Make the most of your creativity. But do tell a story. "

The response was remarkable with an impressive spread of different stories.

A longlist of finalists was published at the end of October and the judges awarded prizes as follows

Ages 7-10
Winner: family ticket to Clearwell Caves 2023 Christmas event + book tokens. Total value £75
'The Day it all Changed', by Seren Rose Richfield

Second: Book tokens to value £50
'Keep Moving', by George England

Third: Book tokens to value £30
'Magdon Heights', by Grace Empett

Ages 11-14
Winner: family ticket to Clearwell Caves 2023 Christmas event + book tokens. Total value £75
'The Bird Revolution', by Kimberley Bandy

Second: Book tokens to value £50
'The Spiral Stone', by Lucibella Marley May Smith

Third: Book tokens to value £30
'Lost Souls of the Broken Chapel', by Kaiden Krasuski

Ages 15-18 – cash prizes
First: £100
'Labyrinthine Whispers', by Jenny Crompton

Second: £75
'Lost to Time, by Shayna Trim

Third: £50
'A Lone Wandering Mind', by Caitlyn Prynn

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