Highbury College’s Sixth Form Academy writing competition challenged local 14-16-year-olds to showcase their creative writing skills and submit an article, poem or essay of no more than 600 words on the theme Brexit.

Top marks for Portsmouth’s young writers

The 2018 winners are:

First place and winner of a £150 Amazon Voucher
Samuel Walker

Second place and winner of a £50 Amazon Voucher
Anna Danso-Amoako

Third place and winner of a £50 Amazon Voucher
Conni Laura Groves

First runner up and winner of a £50 Amazon Voucher
Martin Lloyd

The winners were selected by a panel of five judges. Judges included award-winning Southsea-based poet Maggie Sawkins, Portchester-based author Claire Colley, Portsmouth’s Poet Laureate Sam Cox, editor of the Portsmouth News Mark Waldron and Highbury College English lecturer Matthew Fleming.

Competition organiser and Head of the Highbury College Sixth Form Academy, Dr William Pedley said: “I organised this competition to encourage and enthuse local young people to develop their creative writing skills. The entries were all excellent and explored a variety of styles, with winner Samuel selecting to write a poem.

“I would like to thank everyone who entered and supported the competition, it’s been a fantastic event and I am sure all the winners will have incredibly bright futures.”

Samuel Walker, competition winner said: “I thought the topic of Brexit was really interesting and wanted to write something a little outside the box and creative, so decided on a poem. I’m really pleased to have won.”

Two of the winners, Anna Danso-Amoako and Conni Laura Groves are current pupils at The Portsmouth Academy. Chiara Fraser, Associate Leader for English at The Portsmouth Academy commented: “We’re so proud of Anna and Conni for their achievements. Competitions like this are a great way to encourage writing outside the classroom and build confidence.”

Read the winning entries below.

Read Samuel Walker's winning entry

Brexit: A Tale of Woe

The beginning of this story;
Our Government is Tory.
An election won,
Promising an EU referendum.
A vote: leave or remain,
Poverty or economic gain.
The British public awoke,
But only seventy percent spoke.
The results came as a shock,
Which the Government was powerless to block.

David Cameron, his plan did fail,
Brexit was the final nail.
Amongst the arguing and fray
Stepped forward, Theresa May.
Although she voted for remain,
It was her turn to take the strain.
Negotiations: turmoil would ensue,
Whoever voted to leave the EU?
May called an election to provide stability,
All it showed was her fragility.
Strong and stable?
That slogan was just a fable.
Europe made a heavier demand,
May struggled to keep command.

As we progress, our country might crumble,
The Brexiteers better not grumble.
Of the future, no one knows,
Will they say Brexit was the last blow?
After all, this has been a tale of woe.

Read Anna Danso-Amoako's winning entry

Above Us All

Alone in the vast ocean Carina gazed as the rain fell all around her. The softness of the drops landing eased the tension in her bones. She shifted on the wooden keel trying to avoid drowning. Under the dark night sky, the remnant of a worn blanket was secured over her lithe frame. The rain sprinkled over the broken vessel. To the lullaby of the waves Carina slept with the stars watching over her.

Her life had been upturned only hours ago.

Just hours ago she lay among many others huddled in a cramped boat so certain that they too would make it to the Promised Land. But the tides had turned and all that remained was the keel that has been home for the past week. With limited resources Carina didn’t think she would make it and with a heavy heart she readied herself for the end.

Fate however had other plans and she woke on a sandy isle. Brushing the excess sand from her body, she readied herself for the worst and began walking inwards. On the seventh step she saw them, a small of children group similar to her. Close to tears she wanted to announce herself; she now had a better chance of survival but soon stopped as she heard the sound of a radio.

“Welcome to Sleont Radio. Today we discuss immigrants, one of the major reasons we left the EU. Some think they are vital to our countries development, others however say we are simply too full. We agree! Even though many improve our country we simply cannot afford Europe’s collateral damage! We support Brexit!”

Voices erupted. Children stood indignant at what they had heard each conveying helplessness. Confused, Carina was poised to run until a hand tugged her wrist. Screaming she tried to wriggle out of the hold. But with a reassuring smile she was dragged out of the cover of the tall tress into the clearing towards the middle of the children. Each studied her and before she could speak each told her the name they had chosen for themselves of different constellations to look beyond for a better tomorrow.

Cassiopeia, Cygnus, Auriga, Pyxis and behind her Lyra, informed her she had no need to change her name as her name was already a constellation. Destiny had brought them together.

Each looked worse for wear but they welcomed her with compassion hugging their new sister. Their happiness clouded as they showed her the rest of their world. Beyond the beach lay make shift tents and trashed areas which they called home.

They needed a change. It no longer matter that they were not welcome, they would thrive together. They would not allow their dreams to be soiled because they lived amongst trash. They might not ever leave but that did not mean they couldn’t try. Opportunities would arise. So they sat and got to work rebuilding their lives.

Later (because time was hard to gauge) the last arrived. Corona. She was not used to her new life and often cried for her sister who was separated from her. But she soon she began to regain hope.

Make-shift tents turned into solid structures. The children grew older quicker but never lost hope. Carina dreamed one day she would be able to belong in another country but for now she looked forward.

The star never looked so bright.

Forever the constellations would shine.

Read Conni Laura Groves winning entry

The Brexit Act

The gentle art of acting,
the softest line can kill the hardest heart;
when delivered correctly, of course.

I see politician’s fake bright smiles, cheers
support, care...I mirror how determined they must be,
to be so convincing to millions nationwide.

I hear my best friend jokingly talk about having to go back to her county,
"That's what they want right?"
How she can mask fear behind a joke is inspiring to me.

They lie. And lie. And lie again; we lie deep in this bed
that they have all made for us, if I am distressed then...
How could I possibly convey in this simple language the pure anguish those that they blame and point at and joke about must about in their hearts?

I try to convince myself, allow myself to think to not think,
remembering the word forget.
Allow me to nod, agree. No. That isn't right.

Seeing such acts of hatred due to "Britain’s exit"
makes Shakespeare’s tragedies feel like a poor copy, a mere imitation
Calling, Shouting, Pulling, Pushing, Punching, and Killing.

It escalates, much like a plot of a simple play,
One nod from someone so authoritative could lead to mass devastation.
Be careful with your movements on stage, dear GP's, leaders, politicians alike

Trust what they all say,
You need to trust them.
You need to trust them.
You can't interrupt.
Don't interject.
Shut up.

I act often, I remain on the borderline border-line that they so desperately want to close.
Never fully agreeing, tiptoeing. Trying to understand what I simply cannot.
It always comes down to acting.

Pilgrims hands cannot touch like blushing lips if there is a wall or ocean between them.
Pilgrims cannot travel here at all if they as much as slip on their rehearsed English.
Terrified of the drunken taunts that may find their way breathing down their neck if they mess up a line.

It's a role that so many are conditioned to the moment they are born,
Taught their lines before they lean their own culture.
As first generational immigrants know this play far too well to mess up.

Brexit is like the opening night,
everyone is watching us.
Great Britannia, on stage, in the spotlight. Our name far has gone from that star upon our door.
She looks up.
Thousands of eyes upon her.
The star no longer burdened with stars.
she once more,
Reprises her role.

Article Details

  • Date 23/02/2018