St Albans pupils named regional winner in writing competition

From left to right: Arthur's mum Celia Roberts, Arthur Roberts and Maddie Coles.

From left to right: Arthur's mum Celia Roberts, Arthur Roberts and Maddie Coles. - Credit: Archant

A 13-year-old boy from St Albans has been named a regional winner in a national writing competition.

Arthur Roberts from St Albans School took part in the National Young Writers’ Awards, writing a 500-word story on this year’s theme of ‘the future’, set in the year 3017.

The top ten national runners up will be announced on Monday, June 12, and the national winner will be crowned on Monday, June 19.

The competition, now in its ninth year, was organised by tuition provider Explore Learning, which has a centre in St Albans. The entries were judged by TV presenter and adventurer Steve Backshall.

More than 10,000 children entered in an effort to win a trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 worth of books for their school.

Robots appeared in a third of the entries, and teleportation, rockets and jets were the most common mode of transport in the fictional 3017. Planet earth was the most popular location, followed by the Moon and Mars.

Steve Backshall said: “If I didn’t know this was a competition for young writers, I’d believe I was reading the scribblings of Isaac Asimov or Philip K Dick, and while there were elements from the great works of science fiction, every story was original, and had its own sense of individuality.

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“What astounded me more than anything was that these young people had not only imagined future worlds, but imbued them with the conundrums of our modern planet.”

The winner will be surprised in a school assembly by Steve, and each child that entered will receive a certificate and personalised feedback from Explore Learning. Runners up will also receive prize bundles of stationery.

Carey Ann Dodah, head of curriculum development at Explore Learning, said: “This year’s National Young Writers’ Awards attracted so many entries so Arthur should be very proud of his success.

“We were blown away with the amazingly creative, thoughtful and inventive stories. We’re thrilled to see so many children demonstrate their interest in such important matters.

“Trees were mentioned more than phones and political leaders featured in many stories too. Interestingly, Donald Trump was mentioned six times more than Theresa May. It’s so positive to see not only great writing ability but also that children are engaging with key environmental issues and politics.”