Hargreaves’s Hall was packed on Saturday night for the presentation of prizes for our short story competitions, the culmination of our first S. Anselm’s Children’s Literature Festival. During the week, almost two hundred pupils from twelve local schools had joined S. Anselm’s pupils for a series of creative writing workshops delivered by authors Chris Wakling and CJ Flood. The stories they had started in the workshop and continued at home were judged by a panel of teachers from S. Anselm’s, Youlgrave , Totley Primary and Arbourthorne on Thursday evening. The purpose of the event on Friday was to award the prizes and, above all, to celebrate the high quality of the stories submitted.
After drinks and entertainment from a jazz trio in the school library, the main event began in Hargreave’s Hall. After a description of the week’s events, Robert Collins, who has chaired events at various literary festivals, introduced the winners in the junior category. His generous comments to the young writers must have convinced them of their promise. Listening to some of the stories read with brio by actors Samantha Morton and John Schwab certainly convinced the audience. Congratulations to Delilah H from Youlgrave School, who won the prize with her story ‘The Bradford Dam’ and also to our own Verity S whose story ‘The Crystal Ball’ was runner up. The story “The Magic Piglet’ by Maddy M from Monyash School was also read. It did not scoop a big prize but it charmed all who heard it.
Local author Hilary MacKay then amused us by talking about award ceremonies before continuing our own by announcing the winners in the senior section. Alice S from Lady Manners was our ‘runner up’ in the senior section of the competition. John Schwab’s reading of the story really brought it to life. The winning story was ‘The Clan’s Witch’ by our very own Tom H-S and, as read by Samantha Morton, it moved all who heard it. The evening ended with a book signing by Hilary MacKay and another chance to raid the book stall provided by Rhyme and Reason.
Our little festival has been very well attended and well received. We hope to continue and build on this next year.