News & Events

Arwa wins GDST Creative Writing competition

The English department are celebrating some fantastic pupil achievements this week, with national winners in both Key Stage 3 and 4 writing competitions.

Year 8 pupil, Arwa K, won First Prize in the Year 7 and 8 category of the GDST Creative Writing Prize, for her entry based on the theme of ‘Our Planet’. The entries were judged by Rachel Hore, an alumna of Sutton High School.

Rachel Hore attended Sutton High School between 1970 and 1978, after which she read Modern History at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. For many years she enjoyed a career as an editor for HarperCollins in London before moving with her family to Norwich, where she started to write fiction and taught publishing and creative writing part-time at the University of East Anglia. Rachel is now a full-time writer, the author of twelve novels, many of them Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. A Place of Secrets, Last Letter Home and A Beautiful Spy were each selected by Richard and Judy for their Bookclub in association with WH Smith. The Glass Painter’s Daughter (2009) was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year. A Gathering Storm (2011) was shortlisted for their Historical Novel of the Year. Her new novel, One Moonlit Night, set in the Norfolk countryside and wartime France, was published in 2022.

Rachel commented:

I enjoyed reading the impressive range of submissions for the Creative Writing Prize this year on the subject of ‘Our Planet’. It was sobering to realise how well these young writers comprehend our poor stewardship of the planet, but impressive to see a strong sense of moral justice at work. They are outraged in these stories and poems and call for things to be put right. A large number of pieces addressed the despoilation of our oceans by pollution, the threat to bio-diversity and the effects on landscapes of devastating global warming. Many stories and poems focused on ways to restore our planet’s health, particularly by appeal to governments, and by calling on humanity to change its destructive ways. Writings by the younger age groups tended towards optimism for change. A note of cynicism entered the work of older students, however, many favouring accounts of humanity seeking refuge on other planets or dramatising aspects of humanity’s last moments.

She described Arwa’s piece thus:

Two generations of Bangladeshi women encounter the devastating effects of climate change in their country. A cleverly structured and vividly dramatised story that conveys a mature outlook.

We are enormously proud of Arwa’s achievement and encourage all budding writers across the school to keep their eye out for the many competitions and opportunities which we post on the English Exploration Google Classroom. Read Arwa’s creative piece here.

Further up the school, Lucia A in Year 10 has won a finalist award in the Newsquest Young Reporter work experience programme, which saw pupils research, write and publish a series of articles over an 8 month period. We will have to wait until the Awards Ceremony in June to discover in which category she has won…watch this space!

Ms Alison Cotton
Head of English