As for 2017, a large number of entries were received in 2018.  The judges (Lake District Holocaust Project), Catherine Edmunds, and the Huberman family unanimously agreed the following final placement decisions. This year one of the judge’s comments are included for the main awards and their reasoning for the Commended and Highly Commended Awards.

Secondary School Prize Winners – please click on the entry links to read the prize winners’ entries

First Prize – Edward Lilley – The Lakes School, Windermere.
“Edward understands how to start a story in the middle of the action, and then to gallop along at a terrific pace. This is intensely filmic writing, very visual. It ends with a horrific death scene of a young boy. If this were a screenplay, I would have to look away at this point. In writing, there is no looking away. I think Edward knows this and makes the most of it. I get the impression he writes very quickly and self-edits as he goes along – there are a lot of crossings out. So yes, visually it looks a mess, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the writing that counts, and Edward’s words ably conjure the roller-coaster horror of the experience of Holocaust victims, ending with a heartrending finale. Superb writing.”

First prize entry

Edward Lilley

Second Prize – Theo Parkyn – The Lakes School, Windermere
“Theo’s writing is intensely visual and immersive. He really takes us straight into the horrors; the smells of death and destruction; the sounds of shouting, gunfire – and then silence. This is a short but extraordinarily vivid piece. The ending is particularly powerful, where he thinks the Nazis maybe aren’t so bad as he’s being directed to the showers. But there’s a funny smell… the reader knows this will end badly. Theo wisely leaves it to our imagination. In writing terms, he has got to the heart of ‘show, don’t tell’, and has realised this means you let the reader do some of the work; all you as a writer need to do is nudge them in the right direction.”

Second Prize Entry

Theo Parkyn

Third Prize – Poppy Elliott – Queen Elizabeth School, Kirby Lonsdale
“Poppy’s poem takes the reader directly into the gas chamber itself and shows what it feels like to die this way. It is an intense read, full of the contrast of beauty and horror. Poppy has a strong technical grasp of poetic form. Her line breaks are well handled and the layout on the page adds to the power of the poem. This is highly effective poetry written with care.”

Third Prize Entry

Special Prize has also been awarded to Madelaine Freeman for the song “Holocaust”
“Madeleine performs the song beautifully; the melody is beautiful, and the words are harrowing, even nightmarish. This is strong writing in every way, a cry from the heart for the victims of the Holocaust never to be forgotten. If this had been a song competition, it would have been an easy winner, so it definitely deserves a special prize to acknowledge that fact.”

Special Prize Entry

Madeleine Freeman & Poppy Elliott

Highly Commended
“These are the pieces that struck me as having an added extra ‘something’, and by that, I’m not talking about exemplary punctuation and spelling. This is not a school test, this is a writing competition, so I have been judging on the same basis I would any adult writing competition, ie, I have been looking for originality and freshness of thought and expression. Above all, I have been looking for pieces that move me, and that have integrity. This means a piece of writing that strives to use unnecessarily long words where plain, short ones will do, is going to suffer; an overabundance of modifiers will feel like padding; and a poem which forces rhymes at the expense of meaning and rhythm is not going to impress. What matters is whether the writer managed to get to the heart of the matter and bring something of themselves into the writing. Competence at ticking all the boxes necessary for school tests is irrelevant. This is about real writing. It means that there may be pieces in this ‘Highly Commended’ section that will have teachers raising their eyebrows and wondering why they’ve been included, when sentences run on with increasingly idiosyncratic spelling for example – but writers and readers will, I think, understand.

A number of the secondary entries tackled head-on the most traumatic aspects of being in a concentration camp. These were incredibly brave pieces where the youngsters imagined facing imminent death, all their hopes and dreams of the future unrealised. None of this can have been easy to write. I applaud everyone who had the courage to just go for it.”

James Bowen – The Lakes School, Windermere

Chloe Blinkhorn – Chetwynde School, Barrow-in-Furness

Max Dixon – Chetwynde School, Barrow-in-Furness

Georgia Jennings – Kirkbie Kendal School, Kendal

Rafe Moate – Ulverston Victoria High School, Ulverston

Darcie Fraser – Ulverston Victoria High School, Ulverston

“Pieces where an understanding of the issues was demonstrated with clarity and care. All showed a willingness to tackle the difficulties of writing about a harrowing subject.”

Freddie Dobson, Kate Backhouse, Annie Hodgson, Erin Keegan, Emily Beacock, Jake Hollis, Bethan Morgan, Juraj Smigorsky, Erin Mae Ingram, Louis Lydka – The Lakes School, Windermere

Abbie Pearman, Charlotte Drake, Mattias Avram, Emma Gorsuch, Lauren Earney – Regents Park Community College, Southampton

Zara Spedding, David Jesson, Joseph L’Anson, Jasmine Blake – Chetwynde School, Barrow-in-Furness

Ralf Connor, Elijah James, John Egner, Annia Dodd, Matthew Riley, Alexia Mackay, Hermione Holmes, Nisha Allamby, Megan Littler, Amelia Heseltine, Harrison Shields, Lucy Ormston, Lucy Brooks, Theo Stevens, Wadeson Woodhouse, Olivia Addison, Joseph Stephens, Hanna Sutton, David Vyner-Brooks, Edward McHugh, Tom Allan – Queen Elizabeth School, Kirby Lonsdale

Holly Steadman, Sophie Rouse, Owen Baxendale, Jessica Sands, Emily Taylor-Dickinson, Zahra Suriya, Leonie Milburn, Daisy Scott, Farrah Minton – Ulverston Victoria High School, Ulverston

Primary School Prize Winners – please click on the entry links to read the prize winners’ entries

First Prize – Leo Harrison, Rylands Primary School, Lancaster
“Leo launches headlong into a passionate rant about the pointlessness of war, and that is why, for me, he had to come first. He asks why there was a huge fight in the first place, why “not just leave each other alone”, why drop bombs, which could hurt little children and babies. He wants people to be able to share the world with their enemies, to be able to share medicines. No other writer in this entire competition tackled the fundamental destructiveness of war in such a direct way.”

First Prize Entry

Leo Harrison (sitting) with Commended Award winners

Second Prize – Emma Slater, Ghyllside Primary School, Kendal
“Emma’s letter to Alfred had unusual examples of kindness, and these made it stand out from the others. She talks about being confused as to how to draw the front elevation of a model car she is going to be constructing in wood and cardboard, and how another girl, unasked, sees her struggling so comes to help. On another occasion, three lads helped her take down a tent. The letter left me wanting to know how the car turned out. It had real ‘reader-appeal’, going beyond simply trying to think of a few acts of kindness. It made me care.”

Second Prize Entry

Third Prize – Fatima, Carden Primary School, Brighton
“Fatima’s newspaper report was the strongest of many entries written to a similar template. She included many interesting details, writing about them with skill and understanding. The whole article was well-balanced and paced. A lot of care went into this one so that it didn’t simply read as a regurgitation of taught facts. Engaging writing throughout.”

Third Prixe Entry

Highly Commended
“In some schools, the children had been asked to think about times when someone helped them, or they helped someone, and the answers were both touching and revealing in many cases. There was an instance of a boy helping his mother through labour pains, another helping her mother to spell, another cleaning up vomit, one donating her hair to charity. These children had thought carefully about what it means to help each other and had found the means in their writing to express this directly and powerfully.” (and see above)

Sorsha – Ghyllside Primary School, Kendal

Catherine – Ghyllside Primary School, Kendal

Sam – Carden Primary School, Brighton

“Pieces where an understanding of the issues was demonstrated with clarity and care. All showed a willingness to tackle the difficulties of writing about a harrowing subject.”

William Clarke, Connor Denwood, Barbara Berry – Rylands Primary School, Lancaster

Faith Wilson, Myles Farron, Holly Spencer, Ashlin Binu – Dane Ghyll Primary School, Barrow-in-Furness

Scarlet, Ruby Ward, Ethan Mullaney – Chetwynde Primary School, Barrow-in-Furness

Emily Ince, Ashleigh, Megan, Evie Meyrick, Ailsa, Amani, Harriet – Ghyllside Primary School, Kendal

Tamsin, Erica, Fifi, Bailey – Carden Primary School, Brighton