Award winning local author Claire Fuller visited Peter Symonds College to share her experience with winners of the College’s annual Creative Writing Competition.

The competition was open to entrants from across the college. First places went to two writers whose stories impressed every judge with their control and originality: Katie Bennett for ‘The Incinerator’, a story about an everyday job in a recycling centre which soon takes a dystopian twist, and Elsbeth Goodwright for her untitled piece on 9/11, a poignant story of an office worker in her final moments.

Second place was awarded to Ollie Redwood Mears for ‘A Bathtub of Cooking Oil,’ about a marriage which literally ends in flames, and Serena Watkins with ‘A Bright Spark,’ a dark story which takes a chilling twist for the heroine capable of independent thought.

Michael Rudling with ‘Aiden,’ detailing the daydreams of a fiery student, and Madeline Donnelly with ‘The Heart of the Flames,’ a lyric narrative describing a frenzy of pyromaniac violence, were awarded third place.

After the prizegiving Claire Fuller, winner of the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize for her debut novel ‘Our Endless Numbered Days,’ gave a short talk with advice for the aspiring writers based on her own experience. Commenting afterwards on the students’ work Claire said “I thought they were really creative and unusual stories, and all extremely interesting.”

The Creative Writing Competition was organised by teacher Isobel Simons and generously supported by The Symondians Association, which provides a focus for ex-pupils and staff, and support and sponsorship for events and departmental initiatives throughout the College.

Isobel Simons, Head of English Language and Literature at Peter Symonds, said, “Many students from across the College entered the competition and it was absolutely brilliant to see such enthusiasm alongside a very high standard of writing. It’s great to see so many young people writing for pleasure despite having such busy lives. Interestingly, of our two winners, Elsbeth is an English Language and Literature student and is planning to do a creative writing degree, whilst Katie is a mathematician and scientist who plans to study robotic engineering. The English department at Peter Symonds is very supportive of creative extracurricular activities and we host and promote lots of competitions and events to give our students as many opportunities as possible whilst they are here.”