Pupil from Hook wins writing competition

Phoebe Harris from Hook was named South East winner in Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale: Our Tomorrow writing competition

Submitted by Consilium Communications

A school pupil from Hook, Hampshire has been named the South East winner in a national writing competition.

Phoebe Harris, 14, wrote a poem set in 2051 on the theme of threats against girls, with the poem being published in a new book as part of Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale: Our Tomorrow writing competition.

More than 1,200 school, sixth-form and college students entered the competition and 17 winning entries were picked across categories including KS1 through to KS5 and all regions in the UK.

Phoebe, who attends Lord Wandsworth College in Long Sutton, said: “I was delighted to be selected as a winner. Speaking out and stopping violence against women is something I have been passionate about for a very long time.

“I believe more people should be aware and de-normalize it. My character fails to question such attitudes, and this portrays society’s indifference.

“I chose poetry as poems are often short and choppy, and someone’s life can be changed dramatically in an instant if they suffer such abuse. Poetry seemed the best way to convey that.”

In Phoebe’s poem, a young girl and her mother discuss the need for her to tie up her hair.

Not one to ask why, or why she should never walk alone at night, or why there is a stash of passports in various cupboards in the house, the girl plaits her hair and goes for a run.

Ending up alone in an unfamiliar place, she is approached by a knife-wielding man with a sinister smile.

Running as fast as she can, the girl escapes his grasp as her plaits slip from his hand.

Deborah Maclaren, director of Love Reading, said: “Phoebe’s poem is a cleverly constructed piece in which she builds conflict, and the tension ratchets as the story progresses. Its simplicity is wonderful and I was hooked from the start.

“The story serves as a warning, an allegory of what will occur in the future unless we make change happen; unless we twist the tale. Brilliant.”

Lindsay Nadin, director of primary at Pearson, said: “Phoebe should be extremely proud of the poem she has written. Her creativity and writing skills make her a worthy winner, alongside the 16 other young authors whose stories and poems ranged from earthlings zipping around on hoverboards, to the need for new laws to keep people safe.

“At Pearson, we are committed to empowering schools to give their students different opportunities to excel, and develop essential skills needed for their futures.

“My Twist on a Tale allows us to encourage and excite young children with writing, motivating them to create work that represents their own perspectives of the world in which we live, and find joy in the written word. Everyone who submitted a story should be very proud of their creation.”

Phoebe’s work was chosen alongside 16 other fantastic stories and poems written by children across the country, including A Mother’s Plea by South West winner Sophia Papasouliotis, Into the Blue by Key Stage 2 winner Veer Khanna, and New Atlantis by Northern Ireland winner Emma-Louise White.

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