UEA FLY Festival 2018 Competition Winners 15-18 yr olds – Megan Leung and Lauren Murray

Ink Sweat & Tears once again has been a proud supporter of the Poetry Day at UEA’s Festival Of Literature for Young People (FLY) and we are also very pleased to be able to bring you the winners of 2018’s writing competition (sponsored by Gnaw Chocolate!)

This year it was all about LOST WORDS:

Words for nature are disappearing! Many British children no longer know words such as dandelion, conker and bramble.

The competition was inspired by artist Jackie Morris and writer Robert Macfarlane’s wonderful book called The Lost Words: A Spell Book. Entrants were asked to create their own magical writing with 500 words of fiction, or non-fiction, or a poem of at least 20 lines which celebrated one of the lost words suggested. The standard was very high with judges noting: ‘ It was lovely to see such great responses to the natural world and for what language can do to illuminate our experience of it.’

The overall winner and winners in each of the prose and poetry categories for the 15-18 yr old group are given below. Entries from the 11-14 year-olds will be published tomorrow.

 

 

Overall Competition Winner and Winner: Prose 15-18

 

Dandelions

Winona once told me that people are like dandelions.

It had been summer then, and with it had come the balmy heat that coated our faces as we lay flat on the lawn, our stomachs bared to the empyrean blue, fingers and toes scrunched amongst blades of grass, the warmth turning our palms sticky as they traced faint trails through the swathes of green that populated the garden. I glanced at the nearest dandelion to my right; Winona’s lawn would always be stippled with the flowers, blotches of yellow decorating the thriving verdancy, a blaze of fervid colour to match the heat of the season. No sooner had her father rid the grass of them, they would return, their yellow petals forming a sort of homage to the sun that smiled down upon them. Winona would say that she preferred it that way, the flowers weren’t harming anyone, and besides, it was better than having absolutely no flowers at all. I nodded my head in agreement.

“We’re very similar really, humans and dandelions,” Winona would reason as she placed a couple in her hair, the flaxen petals and tendrils melding amongst her own auburn curls. “When dandelions get old, their hair loses all its colour, and they start to go grey and wispy and tufts of their hair fall out. I saw the exact same thing happening to my granny, you know.”

At this, I remarked that I would rather not get grey hairs as easily as the daffodils, who seemed to go barely months without starting to disintegrate into whitish fluff. Winona laughed at me, proclaiming that “Kids rarely ever got grey hairs” and that I had nothing to be afraid about.

The following summer, the dandelions bloomed in Winona’s garden, just a few doors down from my own. But I didn’t ask to go and turn cartwheels over her lawn or put flowers in her hair, for I knew that though the doorbell would ring, its tinny and shrill voice echoing between the walls, no one would emerge from behind the hazy gloom. Winona’s parents had divorced abruptly a few months previously, and Winona had been forced to move south with her mother.

She never replied to our messages.

The dandelions in my garden now are a powder white, the seeds formed of miniscule fibres intertwined within perfectly spherical globes. It is autumn now, the soft susurration of the trees signalling the coming movement of the breeze. With the wind, the seeds waver, like some undulating wave of miniature ostrich feathers, before being swept up, spiralling towards the ether like a small brume of diaphanous thread. And I realised that Winona and I had grown older, like the dandelions in our gardens, before being helplessly pulled by the wind into the seemingly never-ending spiral of life.

Like the dandelion clocks, we too had been dispersed with time to our different places in the world, perhaps never to meet again.

 

 

 

Megan Leung

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Winner: Poetry 15 – 18

 

Starlings

My grandfather told me that starlings
Came from the days when the sky was alive.

He told me
Darling
The starling
Is a wandering star
It has fallen from heaven;
It has travelled so far.

And his hands began to fly,
Casting dappled shadows on the wall,
Falling
Falling
Falling
Just skimming my covers, and then
Soaring up, up
Towards my half-open window
Where the night breathed and sighed
And dead birds choked on clouds
And starlings
Were no more.

 

 

 

Lauren Murray

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