Alexander Boxall, from Eastbourne, has been crowned Winner of the National Young Writers’ Award. The 12 year old beat almost 15,000 entries from children all over the country to be named the best young writer in the UK in a ceremony at his school, Battle Abbey.
The hugely popular competition, run by tuition provider, Explore Learning, was judged by best-selling author of The World of Norm series of books, Jonathan Meres, and this year’s theme was ‘Strange Events & Peculiar Happenings’. Alexander walks away with an incredible prize of a family trip to Disneyland Paris and £500 worth of books for his school.
His story That’s a Wrap tells the tale of Danny who, together with his family, moves into an isolated mill cottage only to experience an eventful night of something more than just a ‘a bad storm’.
Judge Jonathan Meres said: “I know you’re probably all expecting me to say something about how incredibly high the standard of entries was and how impressed I’ve been with the quality of the writing. Because that’s the kind of stuff that judges always say. But I’m afraid that’s exactly what I am going to say. Well, I’m not afraid to say it. I’ve got to say it. Because it’s absolutely true. The standard of stories really has been exceptionally good, which on the one hand has made for some very entertaining reading for me, but on the other hand has made the task of choosing just one overall winner extremely difficult and frankly, almost impossible. But there can, as they say, only be one winner and that was Alexander.
“Using some wonderfully descriptive and spine-tingling language, Alexander manages to convey a feeling of foreboding and suspense in a remarkably short space of time and still manages to pull off a cracking and most unexpected twist at the very end, that I doubt anyone will see coming. I certainly didn’t. So congratulations, Alexander. And well done to everyone else who entered, too. Whatever you do, keep on writing!”
Alexander has been obsessed with reading and writing ever since he was small and this is the first competition he has won.
His mum, Dominique Holliman said: “I’m tremendously proud of Alexander. He’s always had a creative flair for writing but to be acknowledged in a national competition by a world famous author is a wonderful achievement and will no doubt spur him on to write more and more! Our house is just full of books that he’s constantly reading, he’s got a fantastic imagination so I’m just incredibly happy for him!”
Since launching seven years ago the competition has encouraged hundreds of thousands of children to put pen to paper, overwhelming the team at Explore Learning with their creativity, imagination and fascinating stories.
Carey Ann Dodah, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning says: “This year’s National Young Writers’ Awards attracted more entries than ever before so Alexander should be very proud of his success. Yet again we have been blown away with the amazingly creative, funny and astonishing stories. I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of writing for children; it gives them an outlet to escape into a whole new world, one where anything goes and they are boss! We’re thrilled to see so many children enter this year.”
Explore Learning has 113 centres located across the country providing English and maths tuition to children aged five to 14.
The team at Explore Learning looked at 1000 of the stories, looking at certain trends and found that Jack was the most popular name for a male character, closely followed by Tom, John, Ben and Sam. For female characters, Lily was the favourite, proceeded by Emily, Lucy, Anna and Alice. Mums featured in a quarter of the stories, while Dads starred in a sixth. The witch was the most popular mystical character, followed by a ghost, monster, fairy and dragon.
For more information on Explore Learning and the National Young Writers’ Awards please visit www.explorelearning.co.uk/youngwriters