Winners of the Norfolk Day Drabble writing competition 20226 min read
The winners of this year’s Norfolk Day Drabble writing competition have been announced!
Originally launched to mark the annual celebration of our wonderful county on July 27, the event has gone from strength to strength.
Held in association with the National Centre for Writing (NCW) and independent bookshop Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, based on Norwich’s Timberhill, wordsmiths were invited to submit 100 words exactly on the theme of ‘fit for a queen’ – a nod to the Platinum Jubilee.
Earlier this month, best-selling author Elizabeth Haynes and Eastern Daily Press reporter Donna-Louise Bishop whittled the entries down for our finalist judges.
Here are the winning entries:
Adult writers’ category
Winner – Mum’s Old Coat
By Lyn Fountain, of Ashwellthorpe.
The lining droops. The hem is on the huh. The buttons don’t match and they never did do up right. But she loved this coat. Her gardening coat. Her nipping to the shops coat. Her walking off a mood coat.
Plunge pockets stuffed with memories. Ends and odds that meant so much: pencil from Cromer Pier; lucky shamrock brooch; poor Boru’s collar. ‘My king amongst dogs’, she called him.
Mum’s old coat. Not new when she got it, but “fit for a queen,” she said.
And it was.
It doesn’t fit me yet. But I’m hoping to grow into it.
Judge Peggy Hughes, NCW executive director, said: “A beautiful little piece: subtly infused with the music and flavour of Norfolk – from “on the huh” to Cromer Pier – in so few words it manages to evoke an old, loved piece of clothing, and to celebrate and remember the woman who wore it. Written from the view of someone who loved and admired her very much, it weaves in her moods, her loves, her superstitions and her daily doings in a way that is both deeply personal yet simultaneously recognisable and universal. Not an easy trick to pull off. I love it.”
First runner up – The Queen Rides Out
By Denis Pye, 82, of Mendham.
Winter fireside, ghostly tales. “That Boudicca, she still goes roaring past, off to kill Romans. She comes in weather fit for a fighting queen, tempest and flood. They say if she sees you, you’ll be gone before full moon.”
A night of storm, and still two miles of forest track to home. Unprecedented weather. Trees bent, swayed and crashed as some fell. Torrential rain. I remembered Boudicca, felt even colder. Was that hooves thudding? Or wheels rumbling? I ran, and fell against the cottage door.
The dread remained. I hadn’t seen the queen. But had she seen me?
Second runner up – The Visit
By Angela Digby, 58, of Cromer.
May comes around again. I return home. Geese soar across the dusky sky to land on the silver lake, spring breeze gently nudges the hedgerow flowers and they release their scent. My carriage arrives at the house. The horses make no sound, peace is undisturbed.
The beauty of my birth place bathes my restless soul. Sweet Blickling I am eternally drawn to you and will forever return as so many who leave Norfolk also do.
I am Queen Anne Boleyn. Ambition took me to London and disaster. Experience now tells me that the greatest of riches were here all along.
Judge Ms Hughes said: “Both of my chosen runners up bring historic queens back into view, with two stylistically different but memorable pieces. There’s a thunder and a rumble to ‘The Queen Rides Out’, a pace and shiver that lingers on in the memory after you read it: ‘But had she seen me?’ We can only wonder! ‘The Visit’ is all peace and calm, gentle breezes and unending Norfolk skies, as much a cool facecloth to a hot face as Blickling was to Anne Boleyn herself. It led me to a google search of Anne’s relationship to Blickling, the result of which added a whole new twist to the tale for this unsuspecting reader!”
Teen writers’ category
Winner – Untitled
By Tallulah Goodwin, 13, of Easton.
*Ahem* I am the queen of golden sands and emerald skies, my seas lap diamond encrusted waves bearing gifts of gemstone wheels along my shores. I reside not only in England but in memories and hearts; I belong to the hearts of those who grew up here, my landscape with which they hold dear. I live in the memories of tourists who flock to experience a piece of my charm. My wealth consists not of gold or silver but of fruits and fields and broads and crabs. I am Norfolk. I believe that I’m a county fit for a queen.
Judge Leanne Fridd, co-owner of Bookbugs and Dragontales, said: “What better way to mark Norfolk Day than a celebration of our county? This piece really captures the magic and beauty of Norfolk, with well-chosen words and a sense of pride.”
Runner up – Queen of Spring and Summer
By Henry Attfield-Downes, 18, of North Walsham.
She sat in her palace, watching over her children as her daughters buzzed and glided through the near eternal seas of the wild flowers, bringing home great dresses of pollen, to be turned into golden honey that would feed their sisters and brothers. The queen was proud and beautiful, many cold winters passing her, yet she remained, loyal to her family, her people. Beautiful from that great duty that all before had done. As another summer sun is added to her life, she remains the queen of spring and of summer. A duty nigh forever held, forever, and always fit.
Judge Mrs Fridd said: “This carefully created piece of writing captures the readers imagination from the start, using language creatively to give a strong feeling of the life of a hive.”
Young writers’ category
Winner – Running Away
By Gabriela Matavele, 12, of Northgate High School, Dereham.
I’m Princess Melanie. Since I was little, I was told I was special. I do not know if it is because of my name or my appearance. Melanie means ‘that black girl’. It matches my skin; caramel soft, like dark chocolate with sprinkles of coconut, hazel eyes, and a sharp jawline. The problem with me is that I never wanted to be part of royalty, too many rules. I want to be free, to live my life like a normal human being, even though I would never be. I had made a decision and no one can change my mind.
Judge Mrs Fridd said: “This drabble is an excellent example of how an interesting and engaging story can fit into such a small space. The descriptions really paint a picture of the character and make the reader want to know more.”
Runner up – Fit for a Queen
A collaboration by Jeanie Shurmer, 12, of Dickleburgh, and Perrin Spaul, 12, of Hempnall.
He stood in the darkness, fires of pain surrounding him. His scarred figure drenched in sweat. His fingers worked restlessly, scared to stop. Workers stood around him, scrap metal in their hands. Their workstations covered in iron tools, each looked impossible to lift. Charcoal and ash were a blanket to everything, everything was with the absence of light. They hammered day and night; never resting, never stopping, never leaving. The night, the day, the sun, the rain: they never saw any of it. The final product, one made of many tears and sweat, the crown was fit for a queen.
Judge Mrs Fridd said: “I loved the way this well-crafted story evoked a sense of the past, with powerful imagery and an alternative view of the theme.”
- Look out for more drabble favourites being shared over the coming days.
- Norfolk Day is sponsored by Richardson’s