On Sunday 3 July, the Young Norfolk Arts Festival in collaboration with the National Centre for Writing held their Young Norfolk Writing Competition awards ceremony at Dragon Hall. The evening was filled with art, music and, of course, literature.
Out of nearly 300 applicants, 2 Norwich School pupils, Isabella Kirby (M5) and Macy-Jane Hewitt (L6) were shortlisted and their pieces were highly commended by the judges putting them in the top twenty applicants.
Read Isabella and Macy-Jane's inspiration and pieces below.
‘The main inspiration for my poem was when I took a trip to Norway. Everything there was so extreme. It was like entering another world.’
As if the sunken depths of the ocean have surged upwards.
Silken skin protrudes, lain over with knitted blankets of
Rain slivers over lands mass,
echoing down deep into tunnelled tombs as it soaks through
Ropes of rivers rupture and rip over naked flesh,
cascading earthwards into pools of sea-tempered stomachs.
The rising mist is silent and unknown.
It remains itself only against the draping brown of curved lips,
while unbeknownst below its frozen future clots at the trees’ trunks.
A plague of snow infects the mountainsides,
it remains placid below the wretched beauty of the body.
Shadows sharpen risen bones.
Battalions of trees spike the curves.
Norway has entangled itself in my neurones.
Icing my optic nerves.
Roping my veins.
Cracking my ribs.
Lightening my lungs.
Leaving me to lull under its imposing sun.
Laying its light
over my sundered skeleton.
Sowing up my scars and ploughing in the roots,
that will entwine me into the earth.
Allowing me to grow up into what I become,
not what is expected.
I wrote the final draft of The Lady in Yellow at the beginning of my U5 year and when I was considering which piece to enter it immediately stood out.
The Lady in Yellow was inspired by an elderly couple I met in Spain. One evening, I saw the pair dancing in the street to a classical guitar and I immediately knew that it was a special moment. After sparking up a conversation, I learnt that they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and that they had come back to Spain to re-live their honeymoon. Although this interaction, as well as a creative writing GCSE deadline, was the catalyst for my piece I was also inspired by my grandmother and her friends who lived in Spain. They instilled in me a love of culture and travel. They would send me photographs, maps, trinkets and postcards written in both English and the native language of the country they were visiting. Although I never met my grandfather as he died in Spain before I was born, seeing this couple made me reflect on what could have been if he was still alive.
In The Lady in Yellow I wanted to not only portray the warmth and beauty of love but the ache that comes with the loss of a loved one. I hope you enjoy this piece and get transported into a small yet vibrant Spanish town.
The Lady in Yellow
Euphoria. The light, dim and golden. A gentle buzz and subtle heat radiate from the streetlights onto my cheek but I am still grateful for the pashmina that is draped across my shoulders. The material flows across my torso like runny honey as it glints hues of butter, canary and corn.
Leather skinned men murmur whilst sipping their cervezas and blowing plumes of sweet smog; women chat and over the sound of the guitar and I hear “Silvio! Te dije para ayudarme con estos platos!”.
I smile to myself. He’ll be sleeping on the settee tonight.
The woman swings back through her venetian windows leaving a waft of tobacco and potatoes to flow onto the cobbled streets. Moments later she waddles out carrying a mountain of tapas dishes, husband in tow. Her skirt billows as she whisks around the tables serving calamari and patatas bravas with a grin plastered across her apple-like cheeks.
The guitar once again fills the air and a crescendo of what my English brain automatically associates with the Gypsy Kings fills the square.
I glance to my left. A flicker of gold silk catches my attention. My gaze follows this piece of material to its owner, a woman, dancing with a man. She is luminous. Hauntingly beautiful. The pair radiate an almost spectral warmth accompanied by the subtle gleam of her pearlescent dress and jewellery which flow like delicate streams over her wrinkled skin. The man’s hand is placed on her lower back whilst the other is cradling hers. They merge into each other like jigsaw pieces and float along the cobbled floor with ease.
I am entranced. I am captivated by their beauty, love and warmth.
I am jolted back to consciousness. My mind starts racing angrily. I rotate my head to look at the cruel person who broke my trance. Poisonous words develop on my tongue. I see red. However, once I lay eyes on that cruel person the red fades to magenta. The magenta mellows to a ballerina pink until all I can see is a man encompassed by a rosy glow.
“Can I have a seat?” He gestures to a seat beside me.
There was a familiarity about this man: was he in an advert? Is he one of these z list actors from stupid reality tv shows? He may just live in London, and I’ve probably bumped into him on the Piccadilly line. That tends to happen in London.
“Sure. Have a seat”, I hear myself replying.
I turn back to catch a final glimpse of the dancing couple before I give this familiar stranger my undivided attention, but funnily enough, they had disappeared without a trace. I turn back to the man, hug my yellow pashmina close to my body and smile.
Well done to both pupils for this brilliant achievement! If you do want to get involved in creative writing or Writers’ Bloc please contact EL Wasserberg for more information.