A budding 12-year-old author has beaten off hundreds of her peers to scoop a national writing prize.
Elsie Leiper from Nash Mills won first prize in the 2016 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition.
The King’s Langley School student has been writing stories since she was in primary school, and was challenged in this competition to complete a story begun by an adult author about a character who could see into the future.
The judges decided that Elsie’s was the stand-out story, as she focused on the character’s struggles to get home and all the difficulties that they would face.
Elsie’s mum Lisa said: “Elsie loves reading, she loves writing, and she’s always looking for competitions like this.
“She’s written stories and plays in her own time, but competitions that offer a structure and a deadline are particularly good.
“My brother is an English teacher at Astley Cooper School and he’s always supported her, but it’s all Elsie’s own work.”
This is the 16th year of the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, which was founded in memory of children’s writer Henrietta Branford and editor Wendy Boase, of Walker Books, who both died of cancer in 1999.
It is run in conjunction with the prestigious Branford Boase Award.
The competition is open to anyone under the age of 19 and there were more than 300 entries from all over the country,
Prue Goodwin, lecturer in literacy and children’s books, judged the entries, and said: “The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition attracts many entries from youngsters aged between 8 and 18 years which, of course, makes judging quite a challenge.
“This year, the overall standards were exceptionally high but Elsie’s story The Way Home was tense, funny and showed lots of original touches.”
Elsie attended the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London last week and was awarded her prize by Carnegie Medal-winning author Beverley Naidoo.