Creative tales penned by Abergele students heading for British Library 


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Short stories penned by students at an Abergele school will feature on the shelves of the British Library in London.

The works by the Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan pupils have been published in a series of books as part of a national contest to encourage creative writing.

Among the winning Young Writers contest authors is Megan Gizzi, who compared the hustle and bustle of a new school day to the movements of a dragon taking part in Chinese New Year celebrations

The 15-year-old said: “I wanted to describe the movement of students moving around school corridors, that sudden rush when a bell goes and how everyone moves in the same direction, as they make their way to a different classroom.

“It just compared it to the way Chinese dragons move during Chinese New Year celebrations. There’s colour and everyone moves the same way.”

Megan, who hopes to study architecture at university, added: “I was thrilled my work was published in a book called Poetry Games. It’s amazing to see your name in a Young Writers publication. It’s something I’ll always keep.”

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan English teacher Stephanie Brettle, says she is delighted with the work of pupils, who have written high quality descriptive short stories and poems.

She said: “Young Writers is a scheme for both English and Welsh students. It aims to encourage young people to really engage with creative writing. There are national poetry and creative writing competitions, which run throughout the school year.

“Competitions usually start at the beginning of each half-term and are for pupils of each key-stage. After the competition closes some of the very best entries are selected for publication.

“However, it’s not easy to get a poem, dramatic monologue or short story published. They have to be good, very good in fact, and show imagination and an understanding of language and writing skills.”

She added: “As a school we enter every competition and, so far, we have always managed to have at least one entry published in books called Mini Monologues, War of Words and a Twist in the Tale. One of the latest competitions was to create a Grim Tales mini saga.

“Thousands of stories were judged from across the UK and the best, including some from Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan feature in the book, Grim Tales – Across the Globe.

“A copy of all the Young Writers books, are kept in the British Library providing a lasting record of their achievement. It takes around a year from the competition finishing to the books being actually produced; it’s quite a long process.”

She added: “We have some very talented writers here at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan and I’m delighted for them. It is something special seeing your work in print and it is a real boost to their confidence and self-esteem.”

Another student whose work has been published is 15-year-old Tom Bradley, of Kinmel Bay, who has ambitions on becoming a truck mechanic. He has succeeded in having two stories published in Young Writer publications.

He said: “The first story was all about Lewis Hamilton winning the World F1 championship and the second was a twist on the fairy story about the three bears.

“I imagined how the story would have been different had it been about a security conscious family who kept their doors and windows locked so the three bears couldn’t get in. It was called The Family Who Learnt Their Lesson and it was published in Grim Tales.

He added: “I do like writing and was really pleased to have my work published; it’s amazing really and something to look back on.”

Young horror story writer Jake Swift-Simpkin, 12, who hopes to become a professional cricket player, says he was excited to see his work in print.

He said “I wrote a story called The Shack of Doom which was a 100-word story. I like writing and seeing my work in Grim Tales was amazing. I like horror stories and I like using descriptive words to make my stories stand out.”

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan pupil Sasha Thompson, 12, says her parents were really pleased that her entry, The Night of the Killing Ghost, had been published in Grim Tales.

Sasha, who hopes to become a nurse, said: “I really enjoy writing and it was fantastic to see my work, which was a short story, in print.

“It’s something I can treasure and keep. It also encourages you to develop and work hard to improve your writing skills.”

James Hill, 15, of Kinmel Bay who hopes to forge a performing arts career was delighted to see his work published in the Young Writers publication.

He said: “I decided to write a short story giving Rumpelstiltskin a twist so he became a good character and not bad. I wanted to see how I could make him turn out. It was published in Grim Tales.

“The Young Writers competitions are brilliant and really get you thinking. My parents were really pleased my work was published too.”

Ysgol Emrys ap iwan head teacher Lee Cummins said: “I am very proud of how the learners have done in the Young Writers programme, and I congratulate them on their success.

“Our ethos is to encourage learners to achieve the very best that they can and our motto Dare to Achieve summarises. We are committed to build on this, year on year, to ensure Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan is the best school in Wales in all areas.”

Mrs Brettle is also running other creative writing competitions within Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan.

She said: “Students want to be involved and they want to see their work published. It’s great for the school but I also wanted to encourage children of all abilities to give writing creative stories a try.

“So, on the back of our Young Writers success, we are running our own school competition. Year 7 students are writing ‘My First Day at Emrys’ stories. The competition is for all abilities and will involve pupils from all classes.

“A pupil from each class will be chosen as a winner and there will be an overall prize too. It’s a great opportunity to encourage all of our pupils and develop their writing skills.”

She added: “We are still sending entries into Young Writers too. In fact we are just sending off 100 entries from Emrys ap Iwan students for the latest competition which is for a book called Poetry Trials. I’m hoping to see even more of our students’ work in print.”

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, which dates back to 1899, has more than 1,250 learners  with 140 teaching and support staff.

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