What can I say? This is the fourth year that I have been privileged to judge the short stories written by children ranging from age 5 to much much older. It’s a delight. I’m always surprised by the variation, the voices, the twists and the tears. This year I was bowled over by ‘The Pirate Builders’, starring Saw-handed Stuart, and ‘Mrs Bishbosh’, the posh lady who dresses from the charity shop, ‘Pig-girl’, too quirky to adequately describe, and a spooky halloween tale with a surprising finale. The Battersea Dogs’ Home story made me cry and ‘The Two Donuts’, written by Oliver aged 5 at the time, was full of character. In the oldest age group the very accomplished winner was unfortunately unable to attend but we applauded her entry about the country being overthrown by a mysterious lady. Second and third places were stories exploring sanity and death, all good stuff.
Meeting the children is great and afterwards there is always an opportunity to chat as we enjoy the food provided by the Deer Park Hotel – go there for a weekend break, it’s a blast from the past.
I hope to continue as judge until the day I am replaced by one of the children who has won in the past and is a fully fledged published author.