It was All Write on Saturday Night!

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Words by Claudia Conerney and Amillah Javed

On Saturday 8th December hundreds of children and their families descended on Manchester, many travelling from far afield as Aberdeen and Worcester. However, it wasn’t just the lure of the X-Factor final that drew them to the city, but the annual All Writecelebration event, that took place at the Z-arts centre in Hulme.

All Write is a creative writing competition that provides budding writers, aged between 9 and 12, with the opportunity to produce original and imaginative stories, the best of which are selected for publication in an anthology.  All Write has been publishing poems and stories by more than 600 young writers since 2005. 

Kay Tew, the competition’s organiser and director of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival, is really excited by this year’s collection, “there is a huge amount of young talent out there and the standard of competition entries just seems to get better and better each year.”

There was standing room only in the Z-arts’ studio as everyone squeezed in to hear Iris Feindt, Noel Fagan, Emily Birch and Helen Sea (graduates from the Manchester Writing School and authors of the very successful Animal Stew) announced this year’s winners. Judging by the many smiles that beamed around the room, it was clear that the children were delighted to have published authors celebrate their achievements.
Lydia Edwards
One winner was Lydia Edwards from the Royal Grammar School in Worcester, who received tremendous praise for her story The Journey. As she collected her award and her copy of the anthology, Lydia told us: “my story was inspired by a visit to my grandmother, who lives in Devon. It was a very long car journey because we got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam, but I decided to occupy the time by observing what was happening outside the window. I’m really grateful to that traffic jam because here I am, a year later, a published writer and a first prize-winner.” 

Safia Adia with big brother Yussuf
Yussuf Adia, from Ladybridge High School in Bolton won for his story, My Community, about a strange dystopian society where dogs play chess and babies have abnormal intelligence. Yussuf  “my favourite part has been winning. I wrote about things that I enjoy such as chess and dinosaurs.” Yusuf’s 7-year-old sister, Safia, looked on proudly as her big brother collected his award from the Manchester Writing School’s Iris Feindt. Not to be outshone, she informed us that she too will be entering in the future and plans to write about nature. 

Aoife Ronan from All Hallow’s Catholic High School in Macclesfield won with her poem, Dia Duitch, a celebration of the Gaelic language and culture. Aoife read her poem aloud to the audience, who responded with a thunderous applause.  
Klaudia Kawa
Another winner was Klaudia Kawa from St Peter’s High School in Gorton whose impressive poems, Nightfall and Leaves, evoke the work of Ezra Pound. She told us that it was “an honour to have my work published in the anthology, let alone to actually win. The competition has given me a lot of confidence and has inspired me to keep writing”. Klaudia’s English Teacher, Suzy Boardman, was very proud of her pupil; “I would like to congratulate all the winners but especially the twelve entrants from St. Peter’s RC High School and our winner Klaudia. Well done!”  

Annabel Malkin
The 2012 All Write anthology features 40 of the best poems and stories from this year’s entrants. Among them is Annabel Malkin’s highly imaginative poem, Ten Things that a Mum would Never Say, which was inspired by a literacy lesson in school. Her poem provides an amusing and alternative take on parental discipline that will no doubt appeal to any child who wishes to get away with just about anything! Annabel from Queensgate Primary School in Bramhall was brimming with excitement, “I’ve really enjoyed today, it’s been absolutely great and I am so glad that I entered.” 

Mortan Fawns Williams

Mortan Fawns Williams, from Longdendale Community Language College in Hyde, who wrote a quirky and surreal story about rubber ducks taking over Manchester, was also delighted to have his story published and to discover that it was among first prize-winner, Lydia Edwards’, favourites.  “I really enjoyed writing my story because it allowed me to be imaginative,” he  said excitedly.

As the ceremony drew to a close, many children were already signing copies of their anthologies for friends and family, while others discussed their entries for next year. The 2012 All Write anthology is on sale now, priced at £5. You can purchase a copy from Amazon here.

Each of the winners receive an author visit to their school as well as the family tickets to Pinnochio, the Z-arts Christmas show. 
It certainly was a fabulous afternoon at the Z-arts, despite the rain and the cold, but it isn’t over yet. We’re all off now to explore the Z-arts Mysteryland exhibition, a creative attempt to construct an adventure playground of the imagination for children and families. The exhibition is free and open to the public until Saturday 22ndDecember and visitors are also encouraged to bring along children’s books for the Christmas book exchange. 

For further details please visit

For further details about the 2013 All WriteCompetition for 9-12 year olds, please visit the website

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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