A story recounting an estranged woman’s emotional journey home has won the Goldsmiths Young Writer Prize 2018.
The work entitled One Day was written by 17 year-old Sally Piper from West Sussex – who has wanted to be a writer since discovering it was “an actual job”.
Judges praised the work as “original, mysterious and moving”. The story focuses on Edna, a woman who runs a riverside hotel before finally returning to her nearby hometown from where she was cast out years before for being different.
The competition, run by the Student Recruitment and Widening Participation team and Department for English and Compartive Literature (ECL), is aimed at finding the next generation of writing talent.
More than 300 school and college students registered for this year’s prize, with entrants given a brief including the title, a line of dialogue and a character’s action to include in the 1,000-word work.
Chair of the judging panel Dr Tom Lee, lecturer in creative writing in ECL, said: “It is extremely difficult to tell a story in 1,000 words, to bring together a sense of place, characters and events and make them resonate together.
“We were struck by how Sally’s story managed to do all these things, seemingly with ease, creating something that was original, mysterious, moving and gave very human form to big themes.
Sally, who attends The Littlehampton Academy, said: “This prize means a lot to me because I have wanted to be a writer ever since I found out that being a writer was an actual job!
“I am very grateful that my story has been read and liked by the judges, and I can't wait for other people to hopefully read it too.
“I think that ending stories on a more hopeful note is important nowadays with everything that's going on in the world, and I hope that my story conveys a little bit of optimism for society.”
Sally will be presented with a trophy and cheque for £1,000 at the ceremony for the Goldsmiths Prize on 14th November.