Friday, 7 March 2014

And First Place Goes to....

I am incredibly excited to be able to announce that the Oxford Young Writer of the Year 2014 is Coral Dalitz from Cheney School.

Over the last few months, students from across the city schools in Oxford have been creating poetry and prose to enter into this new and exciting competition. Judge David Constantine, internationally acclaimed poet, had a hard job to read through the brilliant writing and select a group of finalists and just one winner.

This is the second year that Oxford Spires Academy have hosted this competition, with support from Kate Clanchy. We liaise with the other state schools across the city, working with librarians and English teachers, to give students the opportunity win a creative writing workshop with David Constantine and the title of Oxford Young Writer of the Year.

We got a number of entries from lots of schools in the area, and this competition is specifically targeted at state schools, as many more prestigious competitions tend to favour students from state schools. The competition welcomes poetry, prose, and scripts, meaning we get an interesting variety of literature submitted.

The Finalists 2014
At the end of an exciting and slightly busy World Book Day, we invited the finalists to a special workshop with David Constantine, and all other entrants were invited to a class with Kate Clanchy. Unfortunately, David was unable to attend due to illness, so our friend Alan Buckley stepped in to do the honours. All over the school, we had creative geniuses buzzing with inspiration.

Following the workshop, we invited students, parents and teachers to the Library for the finalists to read their writing aloud. There was an array of themes covered, from migration to childhood dreams to badger culling. All the students were confident in their performances, demonstrating their love for writing and poetry or prose. I was incredibly proud that even the seemingly quiet teenagers could be heard from the back of the room.

I love hosting events like this in the Library, during which creativity can be celebrated and success is shared. All present were astounded by the quality of the writing and reading aloud, and the diversity of the poetry and prose.

 Keep abreast of next year's competition by visiting the website at

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