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Meet our Finish the Story overall winner!

Meet our Finish the Story overall winner! image

We’re delighted to announce that Caitlin, aged 10 from Leeds is the overall winner of our second annual finish the story competition.

Our panel of judges met last week to choose their winner from the six fantastic finalists.It was really a close competition, but after lots of discussion they chose Caitlin’s story The Wrong Door which had been started by Charlie Higson as the winner.

Our judges were children’s author Helena Pielichaty, journalist and writer Damian Kelleher, Reading Agency programme manager Lynne Taylor and author Val Rutt. Here’s what they had to say about Caitlin’s story: “This story is deceptively simple and beautifully told. It reads like a perfect bedtime story, with the repetition of the colours throughout, carrying through from the opening. Although it covers the deep themes of grief, loss and redemption, it is written with warmth and humour. We liked your depiction of the thoughtful hero, Davey. Very well done, Caitlin!”

The judges also highly commended the story written by Abigail Burn, who finished The Visitor by Chris Riddell.

Charlie liked the colour theme

Charlie Higson, author of the bestselling The Enemy series of zombie books for children, says of Caitlin’s winning ending to The Wrong Door : “Caitlin managed to pack a lot into a short piece. There was a proper story and it was rather moving. I also liked the way that colours were made part of the actual story and the theme was carried right through to the last sentence about pink lemonade and golden cake.”

Caitlin receives her prize, a laptop, at a special ceremony at Leeds Central Library. She said: “I saw the competition on the website. I really like reading books so I thought I would try writing one. I was surprised because I didn’t expect to win, but I got inspiration from other books, and winning the competition has encouraged me to write more.”

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition – we’ve had great fun reading all your fantastic stories and an extra special “Well Done” to Caitlin!

Here’s the winning story:

‘I’ve got Granny Black a nice new pink jumper,’ said mum. ‘I’ve wrapped it in brown paper and put it in my blue bag, could you take it to the white house with the red door by the greengrocers?’

‘Er, ok,’ said Davey, who’d been watching TV and not really listening.

‘Right,’ he said to himself as he trotted down the street. ‘It’s Granny Brown, in the green house with the blue door… Or was it the red house with the white door? No, I remember now, it was a pink house…’

Soon Davey came to a black house with a black door and black windows…

and thought Granny Black must live here. He went into the black garden which was full of shadows and the black door opened. An evil man appeared and shouted “get out of my garden with your bright blue bag! The only thing I hate more than children is colours!”

Davey clutched his bright blue bag and ran down the black garden path and out of the black gate. He turned to see a little girl crying next to the evil man. She was dressed all in black, with black hair tied in a black bow but she had gentle green eyes which shined brightly.

As soon as the evil man went in Davey left his blue bag on the path and went back into the black garden. He walked up the black path and to the black door where the little girl sat on the black porch. Davey asked the little girl what was wrong and she told him how much she loved bright colours. Since her mother died she had been kept away from all colour in the black house with her evil granddad who did not like any colours except black.

Davey felt sorry for the little girl and went back down the black path and through the black gate. He picked up his blue bag and took out the brown paper. He ran back up the black path to the black porch and handed the brown paper to the little girl. The little girl unwrapped the brown paper and saw the bright pink jumper inside. She quickly put it on and all of a sudden the black door flew open and there stood her evil granddad.

He just stood there for a minute looking at the little girl. Then his face changed and he looked a little sad. Crying he cuddled the little girl and whispered “you look just like your mother. She loved all colours and only wore the brightest of clothes. I could not bear to see any colours since she died but you are beautiful and happy you in that bright pink jumper and I am sorry I kept you in the blackness”. The little girl’s Granddad promised he would brighten up the house and plant only the brightest flowers in the garden.

Davey left the happy family and went off in search of his Grandma’s house. He soon saw the familiar white house at the end of the road. Walking up the yellow brick path he came to the red door and knocked. Grandma answered and Davey told her what had happened at the black house. She said “I don’t mind as long as it helped the little girl. It’s about time that grumpy man got some colour back”. She invited Davey in for some pink lemonade and some delicious golden cake.