The first ever Goldsmiths Young Writer Prize has been awarded to Miranda Barrett for her short story about two old friends’ eventful travels across England.
Her entry tells the story of Charlotte and Ben, close companions from childhood, driving across the country in the hope of finding safety amongst a rapidly unravelling world.
Along the way, they reminisce about safer times and wonder what the future holds. Then, stopping for a break in abandoned train carriage, they notice a large statue resting on the horizon which they feel compelled to investigate.
Miranda, 17, attends Esher College in Surrey and was chosen from a shortlist of five finalists.
She was one of hundreds of Sixth Form and College students who entered the competition by submitting an original short story of no more than 1,000 words.
All entrants were given the same title (‘Saviour’), line of dialogue and action for a character, all of which had to be included.
Miranda wins the first prize of £1,000, while all other shortlisted entries are awarded £50 of Amazon vouchers.
She said: “I’m delighted to have won this competition and am very proud the judges liked my submission. It came as an extremely pleasant surprise to find out I had won. Writing opportunities for young people – especially older teenagers – are limited outside of school so I am very grateful to Goldsmiths for creating this prize.”
Dr Thomas Lee, a Goldsmiths Postdoctoral Tutor and member of the judging panel, said: “The panel were blown away by Miranda’s story. Her writing showed maturity beyond her years, and provided a compelling snapshot into the lives of two young people struggling to come to terms with a changing world.”
Jointly managed by the Goldsmiths Student Recruitment & Outreach and English & Comparative Literature departments, the Young Writer Prize is designed to rekindle interest in creative writing in schools by rewarding original fiction.
It was launched to mirror the acclaimed Goldsmiths Prize, the 2017 shortlist for which was announced on Wednesday 27 September.