25 May 2017

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A student at The Birkenhead Park School has beaten thousands of applicants from across the country to be shortlisted for a national writing award from the long-running West End musical, ‘Wicked’.

Abigail, who is in Year 8, has reached the final 20 of the country-wide ‘Wicked Young Writer Award’ in the age 11-14 category, after standing out to the judges from over 4,000 applications.

Competition entrants had to submit a piece of creative writing of no more than 750 words, and their submissions have been scrutinised by a judging panel led by children’s author, Cressida Cowell, who is best known for her novel series ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. The competition aims to award excellence in writing and using ‘creativity to look at life a little differently’.

"I feel very proud that I have been selected from such a wide range of young people and I am really excited for my trip to London!”

Abigail, Year 8 student

Reaching the final means that Abigail heads to London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre on 23rd June for a special awards ceremony run by ‘Wicked’ and The Literacy Trust, where there will be a range of special guests and performances, along with Q&A sessions and readings of submissions by leading ‘Wicked’ cast members.

Abigail’s shortlisted story, ‘An Invisible Friendship’, draws upon personal experience to reflect on the theme of coming of age and some of the changes that take place during the transition to adulthood.

Abigail said: “It’s about a boy who’s grown up with an invisible friend that he made up, but as he moves on through school and goes to college, his friend starts to fade away because he’s forgotten about. I used to have invisible friends that I’d talk to at night if I couldn’t sleep. I don’t think about them anymore, which I think is part and parcel of growing up, so the idea for the story came from that and I went from there.”

She continued: “I have always enjoyed writing from a very early age. I feel very proud that I have been selected from such a wide range of young people and I am really excited for my trip to London!”

The final winners for the 11-14 category receive a selection of prizes, including a £50 book token, £100’s worth of books for their school’s library and a bespoke ‘Wicked’ workshop for their school too.

Head of English at The Birkenhead Park School, Ms Franklin, said: “Abigail is exceptionally gifted at writing; her ideas are interesting and often show a completely different angle on a given task. Her written work is a pleasure to mark! We are extremely proud of her achievement in such a wide-ranging and prestigious competition.”